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GW Awarded $1.3 Million to Train First Responders in Medical Readiness and Immediate Victim Care during Mass Casualty Events

WASHINGTON (Nov. 4, 2014) — The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), home to one of the first emergency medical services degree programs in the nation, has been awarded a $1,308,422 Continuing Training Grant (CTG) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). CTGs support further development of the National Preparedness System.

In 2014, there are six objectives for the CTG program, including: hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction; cybersecurity; countering violent extremism; maturing public-private partnerships; medical readiness/immediate victim care at mass casualty events; and rural training. Led by nationally renowned expert, Geoff Shapiro, who serves as the director of emergency medical services and tactical/operational medicine at SMHS, GW will use the grant to develop training programs and other resources that specifically focus on the “medical readiness/immediate victim care at mass casualty events” objective.

“Since the 1980’s, GW has been a leader in providing training and education to our nation’s first responders,” said Joseph Bocchino, Ed.D., M.B.A., senior associate dean for health sciences at SMHS. “GW’s emergency response professionals and clinicians are highly regarded experts in developing training programs – and through this grant, they will develop training programs that better prepare responders to act swiftly and effectively in emergency situations involving mass casualties.”

The over-arching goal of GW’s training is to better prepare citizens and responders to provide care during events where there may be a delay in response due to operational challenges and barriers, and teach responders to work in environments that they have not traditionally worked in the past.

GW will base its training on the tenets of Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC), which is a set of evidence-based, best practice medical treatment guidelines used by:

  • citizens,
  • bystanders (first care providers),
  • first responders of all disciplines, and
  • first receivers during any atypical high-threat/high-impact event including active shooter/active violence and mass casualty emergencies.

Various GW experts and clinicians played a major role in developing TECC in 2011, which has quickly become the accepted standard for care during atypical events.

An integral component of the training also involves a response model called “Rescue Task Force (RTF),” which enables law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services personnel to rapidly deploy in a coordinated effort into areas that have been cleared, but not secured, in order to initiate treatment at or near the point of wounding and effect rescue of survivors. RTF was first operationalized by the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia, and is now in use by many public safety agencies across the world. GW faculty and staff have worked closely with various agencies to assist in development and train RTF and other escorted “warm-zone” response models domestically and internationally.

The FEMA National Training and Education Division administers the CTG program. As described by FEMA, “the program develops and delivers innovative training programs that are national in scope and have an important role in the implementation of the National Preparedness System by supporting the building, sustainment, and delivery of core capabilities essential to achieving the National Preparedness Goal of a secure and resilient Nation. Delivering core capabilities requires the combined effort of the whole community, rather than the exclusive effort of any single organization or level of government.”

Media: To interview Dr. Bocchino, please contact Lisa Anderson at or 202-994-3121.


About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences:
Founded in 1824, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.