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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Training Strategies

Training that incorporates the MSCC Management System could follow the same strategies presented under implementation. A course that orients participants to the overall system and its functions is important in establishing the key concepts for preparedness planners and incident response managers. A shorter version of the course must be available to brief healthcare executives. Other training activities could be assessed and revised so that they convey the appropriate knowledge and teach the skills necessary to operate the indicated MSCC integration actions.

Training sessions ideally include representatives from all of the major organizations involved in mass casualty and/or mass effect incident response, including the following:

  • Hospital personnel
  • Healthcare coalition (Tier 2) representatives
  • Public health officials
  • EMS personnel
  • Fire service personnel
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Emergency management personnel
  • State-level emergency managers
  • Other organizations that may be involved in major incident response (e.g., State Survey Agency, State Medicaid Agency, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, local pharmacy association).

To maximize the value of training, participants should have relatively comparable levels of knowledge and experience with regard to the management component of emergency preparedness and response. This may be achieved by providing training in stages that present progressively more advanced concepts. For example, the beginner level might focus on important medical and health issues in EMP and EOP development, such as incident action planning and UC. More advanced training might address the interaction of medical and health assets with other response agencies at the jurisdictional, State, and Federal levels. Even at the beginner level, however, it is critical that participants understand the basic applications of emergency management and the Incident Command System (ICS, see Appendix B).

Individuals providing training should be senior-level personnel with significant experience and demonstrated expertise in large-scale incident response. Beyond demonstrating a subject matter expertise, trainers should be effective instructors with exceptional communication skills. They should possess the skills needed to do the following:

  • Effectively communicate complex topics in easy-to-understand language
  • Help trainees work through real-life scenarios while integrating many diverse perspectives into decision-making processes and incident planning
  • Motivate trainees from different professional disciplines to work together in support of improving overall strategy for medical surge.

To complement didactic instruction, exercises may be used to evaluate systems, processes, and skills.[3] The evaluation objectives are established as the first step in exercise planning, so the incident scenario and other parameters may be designed to meet these objectives. Exercises that are intended to evaluate the functional effectiveness of the MSCC Management System should have objectives that focus on coordination between tiers and integration of individual assets within the tiers.

Incorporating concepts from the MSCC Management System into existing response plans promotes ongoing training through their use during response to small or low-intensity events. This is important in familiarizing incident managers and response personnel with the system and facilitates coordination and integration under more severe incident stress. Frequent practice will also help emergency planners identify how plans can be revised to enhance interorganizational coordination and multidisciplinary integration. 

  1. The Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) helps State and local jurisdiction governments develop, implement, and evaluate exercise programs to enhance preparedness.

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  • This page last reviewed: February 14, 2012