Cedar Rapids could become the home of the nation’s primary center for training emergency responders to handle dozens, hundreds and even thousands of disaster victims at once. Doug Feil, director of environmental health and safety programs at Kirkwood Community College, says a one-week mass fatality course is taught there now for funeral directors, emergency managers, mental health specialists and law enforcement officers. Feil says Senator Chuck Grassley has asked Congressional leaders for two-point-six million dollars to expand the program next year to offer the courses nationwide. Feil says the program is now being called the National Mass Fatalities Institute.The course deals with how the community responds to a mass fatality incident, be it terrorism, a plane crash or a natural disaster. Feil says Kirkwood is now offering the course primarily to emergency responders in Iowa, but after September 11th, many more people are interested in gaining the knowledge and expertise.He says there’ve been requests from every state in the nation to bring the course to them.
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