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U Texas Project To Train Health-Emergency Responders

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has formed a partnership with a simulation software firm to develop Web-based content for training staff in emergency response procedures.

The deal, with Simulation Education Services (SES), would integrate UT-Houston's expertise in emergency health sciences with SES' Web-based disaster exercise technology. The resulting simulations, dubbed "Desktop Drills," would target hospitals and other health care responders from the law enforcement, fire services, and pandemic flu preparedness arenas.

Individuals or groups could participate in an exercise from any place that has access to Internet and telephone capabilities. The training scenarios incorporate guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Department of Homeland Security.

A typical exercise takes place in about two hours without disruption of patient care activities. The sessions can also be used to target school closings, jail evacuation, and special needs populations where health management and public safety intersect.

Scott Lillibridge, at the UT School of Public Health, called the method "an efficient method to approach the exercise and evaluation requirements of state and regional preparedness." He noted that the implementation cycle--about two to three weeks--"permits multiple exercises and subsequent evaluations throughout the year."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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