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On the heels of the state's largest ever disaster drill, the first hospital-based disaster preparedness center west of the Mississippi opened April 27th at LDS Hospital.
The Intermountain Center for Disaster Preparedness began operating kicking off the program with an educational symposium featuring local and national disaster preparedness speakers in the LDS Hospital Auditorium.
Keynote speakers included Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, and Dan Diamond, founder and director of the nation’s first state-affiliated medical disaster response team. Diamond has responded to a variety of international disasters, including, most recently the catastrophic 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. He served as the medical director for Medical Teams International's First Response Team to Haiti. Following Hurricane Katrina, he played a strategic role as director of the Mass Casualty Triage Unit at the New Orleans Convention Center.
The ICDP at LDS hospital was created to help healthcare and first-responder partners in the community and throughout the region become better prepared to respond to disaster and emergency situations. The center is equipped with training classrooms, 17 patient rooms, disaster situation simulators, and emergency supplies.
Located at LDS Hospital, the ICDP will be a community and regional resource. The center offers disaster preparedness training and patient simulation for public and private teams who are interested in improving their organization’s emergency preparedness.
There are only a handful of similar centers around the United States, including Atlanta and Virginia. Organizers of Intermountain’s center anticipate helping thousands of representatives from hospitals, emergency medical services, and law enforcement from around the West and beyond who want to train and simulate events in a safe and practical environment.
“We’ve been planning and working toward the creation of the center for several years,” said Ann Allen, Emergency Management Program manager for Intermountain Healthcare Urban Central hospitals. “With many national and international disasters making headlines, the urgency for a training center like this was even more immediate.”
The ICDP’s inaugural symposium included topics on disaster team-building, enhancing public-private partnerships, operational considerations in surviving a limited nuclear detonation, solar storms and communications, and how combat experiences are shaping EMS and disaster responses in Utah.