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High-Threat Response Training Program Expands

In 2014, the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) earned a continuing training grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a high-threat response training program for the whole community.

In summer 2017, the program, led by Geoff Shapiro, director of emergency medical services and tactical/operational medicine at SMHS, began offering several new courses approved and accredited by FEMA. The courses are geared toward EMS, fire, and other first responders, though there is a course designed for “first care providers,” which has been requested by other entities such as schools and businesses. The classes provide institutions with the training and tools needed to assess and change their responses to high-threat situations, such as an active shooter.

Shapiro is a principal instructor along with E. Reed Smith, MD, associate clinical professor of emergency medicine at SMHS. They also recruit adjunct faculty from across the country to assist in classes.  As the program develops, the goal is to continue offering courses and expand their reach to a wider audience, schools in particular.

Emergency Medical Service Task Force wheeling stretcher