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Students gear up to help in a disaster

VERMILLION, S.D. -- More than 300 health care students will converge in Vermillion on Jan. 31 to ready themselves to assist others in a potential, future disaster.

Disaster Training Day, held on the University of South Dakota (USD) campus, is designed to prepare future health care professionals to assist their communities should a disaster strike. In the past three years, 1,037 students have participated with 267 becoming certified in Core Disaster Life Support (CDLS) from the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF). South Dakota is no stranger to disasters. Since the beginning of 2010, there have been 12 federally declared disasters in the state.

Along with CDLS certification, students will be given the opportunity to register with the Statewide Emergency Registry of Volunteers in South Dakota (SERV SD). This registry coordinates the pre-registration of medical and healthcare professionals who are willing to volunteer during disaster situations.

CDLS training will be provided by six NDLSF certified instructors from South Dakota who will cover the essentials of disaster preparedness and how to perform effectively and safely in a disaster. Additional breakout sessions are focused on triage, anaphylaxis, psych first aid, immunizations and points of dispensing (POD). Sessions will be led by University faculty, Department of Health employees, Physician Leaders, and First Responders.

There are 325 health care students registered for Disaster Training Day on Jan. 31. Disciplines participating include pharmacy and doctor of nursing practice from South Dakota State University along with the following students from USD: dental hygiene, masters in social work, clinical lab science, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, physician and clinical psychology.

The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH), the USD Sanford School of Medicine, USD School of Health Sciences, SDSU, the Regional Training Center for Upper Midwest and the Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center (YRAHEC) coordinated the event. The day is funded by the South Dakota DOH through a federal Health and Human Services grant.

For more information about South Dakota disaster preparedness training, contact Cheri Buffington in Yankton, S.D., at 605-655-1400.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News