Rick C. Mathews, Director
National Center for Security & Preparedness
423 State Street
Albany, NY 12203
5900 Airport Road
Oriskany, NY 13424
23 May, 2013
Developing and delivering high-end, scenario-based training requires the creation of a complex, realistic training environment. With our professional role player program and the introduction of makeup & moulage (link) the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) continue to deliver world-class training. Thanks to the support of staff and the unique facilities of the SPTC we have been able to expand on this with the introduction of a robust Simulation Cell (SimCell), providing realistic dispatch and medical control capabilities to students during deliveries.
A SimCell is designed to recreate vital functions of realism without actually having those functions at the training site. Students are dispatched from their stations and are able to have two-way communications to report information up and request more resources. Situated in an observation tower at the top of the Education & Administration Building (EAB), SimCell operators have full view of the activities on the ground at the SPTC. This allows them to define responses during scenario-based activities and to monitor and create a staggered arrival of units on scene.
For EMS training, the SimCell can also serve as medical control, encouraging students to actively keep track of patients and manage a scene as would be necessary in a real world situation. During the EMS Triage & Multiple Casualty Incident Management course, methods were used to simulate medical control during an emergency response. The simulation of medical control allowed the EMS teams to communicate with dispatch for their assignments and to communicate patient information to the medical control located at the hospital. The added dimension of realism was further enhanced because dispatch and medical control could adjust the scenario based on students' actions. This differentiates from traditional scenario–based training which follows a script and timeline; whereas, at the SPTC scenarios are consequence-driven.
During the latest iteration of the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario: Tactics & Operations Course (A2S2: T&O), the SimCell functioned as both dispatch and a simulated regional intelligence center. Students were able to call in information found during scenarios to dispatch. Dispatch then relayed the information to a simulated regional intelligence center. In later briefings, the regional intelligence center disseminated intelligence relative to the next scenario in order to improve the students' situational awareness. The goal of this process is to reemphasize the “see something, say something” posture and stress that all responders can collect vital information during the performance of their duties.
Combining the benefits of operating a SimCell in the EAB tower with the knowledge base provided by the NCSP’s subject matter experts enhances the effectiveness and uniqueness of the homeland security training being offered at the SPTC. Currently, the A2S2: T&O Course, EMS Special Situations, and EMS Triage & Multiple Casualty Incident Management courses feature a SimCell. New courses developed by the NCSP and SPTC will continue to incorporate a SimCell element.