WETP Support of the National Response Framework
Learning from Ground Zero
The Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) has been a national leader in the effort to train workers to respond safely to terrorist incidents and natural disasters. WETP awardees developed the official safety and health training for site workers at the cleanup of the WorldTrade Center. Master instructors from awardee organizations delivered that training to the thousands of workers who toiled at Ground Zero. Technical experts from WETPs Clearinghouse wrote the first report about the safety and health issues at the site. Awardees also developed the first course to train remediation workers to safely clean up the anthrax contamination created by the mailing of spore-laden letters. During the response at Ground Zero, it was clear that safety and health training of the skilled trades was too little, too late and hundreds are still experiencing mental and physical health problems, years after the event.
Partnering on Disaster Site Worker Courses with OSHA
To fill the training void, WETP master instructors from academia and labor unions covering construction trades, fire fighting, and transportation worked with training experts from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Institute to develop the Disaster Site Worker course, a 16-hour course for workers, like heavy equipment operators, whose expertise may be needed during a disaster. The course teaches workers how to work safely, wear respirators, function within the Incident Management System, and recognize psychological stress. The OSHA Resource Centers and WETP awardees are now offering this course through the OSHA Training Institute (OTI). OTI 7600 and the companion train-the-trainer course OTI 5600 is now offered across the country. Awardees have trained thousands through the OTI 5600 and hundreds of skilled trades through the OTI 7600.
Developing an Emergency Support Activation Plan for Worker Training
WETP has developed an Emergency Support Activation Plan that is integrated into OSHA's Health and Safety Annex to the National Response Framework (NRFf). To respond effectively, WETP has surveyed all eighteen awardees and catalogued the resources available, particularly master instructors, subject matter experts, training facilities, and sampling equipment. Now, when the NRP is activated, WETP can support the response fully. WETP worked with the American Red Cross during the Top Officials III (TOPOFF III) training to test activation plans.
Useful Links and Documents.
- OSHA Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training Program(http://www.osha.gov/fso/ote/training/disaster/disaster.html) Information from OSHA on the Disaster Site Worker Courses
- The U.S. National Response Team (NRT) Website (http://www.nrt.org) Provides technical assistance, resources and coordination on preparedness, planning, response and recovery activities for emergencies involving hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants, hazmat, oil, and weapons of mass destruction in natural and technological disasters and other environmental incidents of national significance.
- The Environmental Response Team (ERT) website(http://www.ert.org) Provides information on the purpose and activities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ERT.
- Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-5
February 2003. The purpose of this document is to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive national incident management system.
- December 17, 2003 Homeland Security Presidential Directive/Hspd-7
This directive establishes a national policy for Federal departments and agencies to identify and prioritize United States critical infrastructure and key resources and to protect them from terrorist attacks.
- December 17, 2003 Homeland Security Presidential Directive/Hspd-8
2003. This directive establishes policies to strengthen the preparedness of the United States to prevent and respond to threatened or actual domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies by requiring a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal, establishing mechanisms for improved delivery of Federal preparedness assistance to State and local governments, and outlining actions to strengthen preparedness capabilities of Federal, State, and local entities.