Archived News | Return to News Center

Aug. 20, 2003

Congressman David Vitter Backs ULM Homeland Security Course

The University of Louisiana at Monroe has developed a homeland security class for local first responders: "Agents of Terrorism: Recognition and Medical Management for First Responders and Health Care Providers." Louisiana Congressman David Vitter was at ULM to discuss the new course being taught this Fall at ULM. Vitter was joined by ULM President James Cofer and Dean of Health Sciences William Bourn at 9:15 a.m. in the Media Conference room on the 6th floor of the ULM Library.

The Louisiana Poison Control Center and the ULM Department of Toxicology teamed up to construct this two-day, 16-hour course. The course will train EMT's, first responders, firemen, nurses, physicians, and others on how to rapidly identify the effects caused by terrorism agents (such as biological and chemical agents), to understand personal protection, and how to provide appropriate medical treatment to victims of a terror attack.

"First responders are the first line of defense in an emergency and the backbone of our community," said Vitter in support of the course. "This class fits right in with what the nation is doing to provide increased security for the United States."

Vitter noted that Congress has provided more than $20 billion in grants to first responders since Sept. 11. Congress has also established a Department of Homeland Security and increased funding for border, port and transportation security.

The course objectives include the ability to rapidly identify the effects caused by various terrorism agents (biological, chemical, and nuclear), to understand personal protection, apply appropriate decontamination techniques, to understand and provide appropriate medical treatment to victims of a mass casualty incident, and to understand use and dosing of antidotes.

Dean Bourn said, "ULM would like to try to get funding to enable Louisiana to provide the course on a recurring basis, not only at ULM but to conduct the course at sites all around the state. We eventually want to have the ability to offer the course to anyone who works in a health care field and could be involved in patient care, especially in emergency situations."

Vitter also said, "Homeland security cannot be accomplished by the federal government alone. It requires coordinated action on the part of the federal, state, and local governments; the private sector; and concerned citizens. First responders are integral partners in our nation's homeland security efforts."

Vitter held a press conference at ULM earlier this year where he talked about the strengths of ULM, its Health Science programs, and the University's importance to the community's economic development. U.S. Rep. David Vitter, a third-term Republican from Metairie, serves as Louisiana's only member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Target groups for the class include first responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, paramedics, physicians, physician's assistants, nurses, pharmacists, policeman, firemen, and toxicologists around the state.

Upon completion of the course, the participant will be able to:

- Rapidly assess victims of a mass casualty incident

- Identify various agents of terrorism

- Recognize toxidromes (toxic syndromes)

- Understand the medical management of mass casualty victims

- Understand antidote dosing and administration

- Understand patient decontamination and personal protection

For more information on the class, contact Mark Ryan, Director of the Poison Control Center, at 318-342-1710.

Find this and other ULM News at

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.