Immediately following the Oklahoma City bombing 22 years ago, first responders were overwhelmed with the amount of response needed. The National Domestic Preparedness Consortium was created soon after to ensure every potential act of terrorism in the United States would be addressed by training. As a result, the Nevada National Security Site’s Counter Terrorism Operations Support (CTOS) program was born.
CTOS trains first responders from communities across the United States, and such training is necessary in this changing world.
“We want first responders to be comfortable going into the scene instead of walking away from the scene,” said NSTec Vice President for Program Integration Raffi Papazian. “This class gives them the comfort level through education and hands-on exercises in the environment we created.”
In 2017, CTOS has graduated its 200,000th student from its course, a major milestone for the program.
“I could not be more proud today when we recognize how far we’ve come since our creation and now with our 200,000th student,” said CTOS Manager Rhonda Hopkins during a recent CTOS graduation ceremony.
Patrick Hewitt, a driver from Wylie Fire and Rescue in Wylie, Texas, was the 200,000th student to graduate from the CTOS training course. Hewitt signed up for this course because he had limited knowledge of radiation and he knew it would be worthwhile to learn how to respond in that kind of situation.
“I’ve been to several training opportunities and they [CTOS] are by far the most knowledgeable,” said Hewitt. “It’s unlike any course I have ever been to.”
Hewitt, along with one other person from Wylie Fire and Rescue, attended the CTOS training course and are now able to take the knowledge back to their department.
“It makes our responders safer as well as our community,” he said.
Check out the CTOS 200,000th student video made during Hewitt’s time at the Site.
The mission of the NNSS Global Security program is to ensure safety and security for the country, and the ultimate goal for CTOS is to traineveryfirst responder.