Vinal CJPS students attended a meeting of the CT-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team and provided a briefing on COVID-19 and the 2019-nCoV. Their presentation went amazing and the roughly 20 responders in attendance and 40 responders who observed via teleconference were blown away at the quality of the briefing. Responders commented sincerely that they felt safer deploying knowing the class was behind them and looking out for their safety. We are so proud of the professionalism of our students and the quality of their work.
Vinal Tech was fortunate enough to receive educational licenses to ESRI's VERY powerful ArcGIS software which our EOC took advantage of. You may notice the "esri" logo in the corner of many maps you see in the news, weather reports, and even in your town planning and zoning! That is because almost all of this data works through this powerful software. Students can plot any number of thousands and thousands of layers such as police stations, hospitals, fire departments, and even Dunkin Donuts with the simple clicking of a checkbox! They are then able to plot multiple layers over each other, run analysis tools, and even share their maps with the world. The example below is an amazingly creative map made by our student Will who plotted the new coronavirus against world temperature differentials to show how global temperatures affect the transmission rates. Brilliant!
We had a visit from the Connecticut Critical Incident Stress Management Team to talk about critical incident stress and all the amazing resources available for responders. Having been to several critical incident debriefings, Mr. Linskey and I are very familiar with how valuable these amazing teams are in the wake of horrific tragedies and we were happy the students were able to meet these amazing individuals.
We had a very active cycle 10 with the new class of 2023. Several trips all came to fruition this cycle. The students learned drill and ceremony at the CT Police Academy, learned about the extensive training firefighters undergo at the CT Fire Academy, and got to speak to a prosecutor, defense attorney, and the Honorable Judge Geathers before she took the bench for them during arraignments at the New Britain Superior Court. Overall it was a great cycle and the trips certainly balanced out the intense amount of Constitutional law that was covered in preparation for their delving into the Connecticut General Statutes soon. More to come!
Catered with an amazing meal prepared by Chef Barnes and his students (who stayed late!) the Connecticut Disaster Medical Assistance Team held their first meeting in our Emergency Operations Center. We had a surprise special guest who traveled from Washington, D.C. for the meeting, Jonathan Greene, Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Medical Operations for the US Department of Health and Human Services. He came to be a part of the meeting, provide an update to employees, and speak about the importance of projects like our EOC to the greater state of National readiness. It was quite an honor and a very pleasant surprise. The meeting went well and at the end, Mr. Greene even swore in the new members of the DMAT team personally. Mr. Greene was very impressed with the work of our CJPS students and inspired that they might be the next generation of employees within the National Disaster Medical System.
Mental health is a critically important part of the CJPS trade for numerous reasons. Critical incident stress remains a significant factor in the health of responders nationwide and teaching our students how to effectively manage their mental health after seeing and experiencing traumatic scenes is very important. In addition to their own personal mental health, members of the public with mental health issues are disproportionately more likely to have contact with police, fire, and EMS services. Training our students to understand mental health issues and how to help people experiencing crisis is very important. We were fortunate enough to have Jen and Joy from the Wheeler Clinic come and teach the Mental Health First Aid course. The mental health first aid course is a skills-based training that teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to someone who is experiencing a mental health or substance-use problem, and connect them to appropriate care if necessary. Thank you Jen and Joy for providing this great training for all of our students!