CTOS conducts performance-based training through resident courses at the NNSS or by mobile training teams (MTT) at local jurisdictions preparing responders to take immediate, decisive action in preventing or responding to terrorist use of a radiological/nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
With the exception of awareness-level and online courses, all courses deliver performance-based training, using actual radioactive material. Radioactive sources and classroom activities are controlled and doses to students are monitored to ensure minimal potential dose to class participants (lower than a chest X-ray or a typical round-trip airline flight across the U.S.). However, radiation levels are sufficient to practice techniques needed in a real incident involving much higher levels. All attendees operate radiation detection and measurement instruments throughout each performance-based course.
Attendees practice with radioactive material in the classroom and during drills and exercise scenarios. Each CTOS course has been approved for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 0.1 CEU is offered per contact hour of instruction. CEUs assigned to the courses help the response community maintain their rigorous professional requirements/educational demands.
The prevention mission is designed to improve the nation’s capability to detect and assess unauthorized attempts to import, possess, store, develop, or transport nuclear or radiological material for use against the nation. Training provided by CTOS is designed to provide first responders with the capability to perform the functions required to fulfill the mission. The primary target audience is the law enforcement community, with the objective of providing them the necessary knowledge and skills to properly employ the varied radiation detection equipment products used in detecting a radiological or nuclear device before it has a chance to be used during a terror incident. The CTOS prevention mission training supports several federally funded regionally executed initiatives and follow-on exercises involving state, local, and tribal jurisdictions and agencies. The prevention curriculum teaches responders to detect and locate the presence of radiation and radiological material, use radiological/nuclear material recognition factors to assist in assessing situations, and utilize technical reachback assistance, via telephone and email, to evaluate instrumentreadings.
By providing four tiers of response-level training, first responders progressively learn radiological/nuclear response tasks starting with the Awareness Level, continuing with the Operations Level, Technical Level, and Management and Planning.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA/NPD funding is used for: developing and delivering courses, transportation, food, and housing for students attending residence courses.
In recent years, over 13,000 First Responders trained annually.
All CTOS courses are subject to a DHS certification process that utilizes third-party subject matter experts to validate the content of the course materials and ensure that the lessons are meeting industry standards and regulations. In addition to all courses undergoing certification, all CTOS instructors must complete the DHS and NDPC Instructor Certification Programs. Instructors all possess both DHS and NDPC Instructor Certifications, which provides CTOS with a consistent approach to ensuring only highly skilled instructors with both field and classroom experience deliver DHS-sponsored training.