For almost 90 years, the 54-acre site at 506 East Xenia Drive in Fairborn, Ohio produced cement, an ingredient critical to building infrastructure in the region. Today, the property has been reborn as a new training venue where emergency first responders build their skills.

The Fairborn City Manager and Fire Chief met with two Wright State University doctors who identified a need to train for disaster response in a lifelike setting. Both had served at the front lines providing emergency medical services after the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. These experiences helped confirm for them the need for specialized training for personnel providing medical services at the scene of a major disaster and for bridging communication gaps between military and civilian providers.

First responders need to make decisions on the fly. When they arrive at the scene of an incident, they have to assess the situation and determine what care to provide in the field and who goes to the hospital. The hospital itself can become a disaster area when emergency room doctors, nurses and staff are not trained to accommodate large numbers of patients all at once.

The proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University and hospitals in the Dayton region made the old cement plant an ideal location for a response training facility. These stakeholders would help transform emergency medical training to better prepare first responders for disasters and provide an opportunity to work cooperatively on-scene.

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