CDP Updates its Technical Emergency Response Training

The Center for Domestic Preparedness' Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) course provides realistic training for biological, radiological, chemical and other threats.

"It feels awesome to complete the COBRA training," said Julie Melton, an emergency room medical technician from Hemet, Calif. "Working with biological material and chemical agents was scary, but interesting and the best training-I am better prepared. Not many people get to do this. I am very proud of my TERT certificate."

The TERT course offers an opportunity for students to receive operational training necessary to respond to acts of terrorism. Although the training is modeled after a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) response, it also includes activities associated with all-hazards events caused by accidents or natural disasters. 

Professional Development

The four-day course features more than 30 hours of training and provides responders with experience operating in various levels of personal protective equipment. The CDP is an authorized provider under the International Association for Continuing Education and Training; with TERT offering 3.2 hours of continuing education units (CEUs).

"Not only do our students receive the most up-to-date training on current threats, they have an opportunity to complete training required by the jurisdiction or profession," said Dickson. "Relevant training is a priority, and offering nationally recognized CEUs, is an appealing factor."

In addition to classroom instruction, the TERT course provides students with important information featuring a summary of terrorist threats and potential targets. TERT also includes extensive hands-on exercises in decontamination, mass casualty triage, and survey and monitoring.


Biological and chemical threats have painted challenges for the national preparedness picture. Multiple homeland security studies have pointed to the United States' weakness against WMD materials, particularly in the area of biological materials. The TERT course provides an answer for better preparedness by providing the town, state or tribe with a more confident responder in the field.

TERT graduates highlight the confidence gained during training. Graduates reflect on their ability to respond to a hazardous environment, knowing they can perform capably and their equipment will work effectively, ensuring their safety and survival.

"The TERT course prepares you for reality," said Edtismond Johnson, a firefighter from Chicago. "I am able to meet my department's hazardous material goals through attending this training, and also deal with homeland security threats. It's a little scary, but if the students listen to their instructors and pays attention, they will be more comfortable. I am definitely more confident."

"This training was very thorough and intense," said Melton. "This training was an eye-opener and forces us to look at events in the world differently [so that we can] focus on preparedness. I learned new techniques that I will put to use in my department; and I feel more confident with my skills."

Enrollment and Funding

CDP training focuses on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to catastrophic natural disasters or terrorist acts. CDP training for state, local, and tribal responders is fully funded by the Department of Homeland Security TERT provides diverse training suitable for response disciplines responsible for operating in a contaminated environment. The course is conducted on an operational level and is performance-driven, focusing on potential real-world incidents. The TERT course serves as the foundation for many of the 40-plus courses offered at the CDP. The center's training and curriculum staffs constantly review course materials to ensure CDP training is current and relevant, based on new doctrine, the changing threat, and the needs of the response community.

For more information about the TERT course or other CDP training, visit or call 1-866-213-9553. Check out their new Facebook page:

SHANNON ARLEDGE is a public affairs specialist with the Center for Domestic Preparedness.