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Using the Internet to Train Emergency Command Center Personnel
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    Well-prepared personnel and an effective emergency response plan are essential components of any emergency command center. Unfortunately, evaluating emergency preparedness is often difficult until a disaster actually occurs. For example, unexpected events may develop during an emergency that were not considered during the planning phase. Also, the command center may need to cooperate with organizations that it has not worked with previously. Preparation can be especially difficult for smaller or remotely located command centers, or those with limited resources to conduct mock drills. This paper explores the potential of using the Internet to teach and evaluate command center skills. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is developing an Internet-based, computer simulation training package for the mining industry. Trainees will play the role of command center leaders at a mine, while the actions of other individuals and organizations are simulated. Trainees will be able to test their emergency response plans and learn valuable lessons from past mine emergencies. Nationally recognized experts will be able to create new training scenarios and make them available to mines throughout the U.S. This product should better prepare command center personnel for large-scale disasters such as fires and explosions. Keywords: emergency preparedness, simulation, training, internet

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