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The Red Barn at Hampshire College

8:30 am to 4:30 pm

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) presents Inner Resilience for First Responders: Mindfulness and Wellbeing for the Front Lines Training.

First responders are exposed to critical incidents and chronic stressors that contribute to a higher prevalence of negative health outcomes compared to other occupations.

Psychological resilience, a learnable process of positive adaptation to stress, has been identified as a protective factor against the negative impact of burnout. This experiential training will provide first responders with practices and understanding to help foster their own personal resilience to reduce the negative effects of chronic stress and trauma. This resilience can reduce burnout and improve health including a stronger immune system, improved cardiovascular health, improved sleep and increased attention and focus.

Mindfulness builds resiliency, strengthens awareness and cultivates compassion. First Responders benefit from these attributes on the job and in their personal lives. This experiential workshop will provide first responders with concrete mindfulness practices and proven evidence of the benefits.

The efficacy of meditation and other mindfulness practice have been studied extensively over the last decade and more. Studies show a regular mindfulness practice can:

    • increase resilience
    • increase emotional regulation
    • enhance attention & focus
    • increase alertness
    • reduce the effects of stress
    • alleviate depression & anxiety
    • improve sleep
    • enhance decision making & more

This training is developed and facilitated by Raine Brown. Raine is a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher in addition to her position as Homeland Security Program Manager for WRHSAC. This unique combination of skill sets allows Raine to bring the valuable practices of mindfulness to first responders in a way that is accessible and meaningful.

This training is full. Please complete the form below to be placed on the waitlist.

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The Carriage House, Eastern States Exposition

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Have you ever considered the steps you’ll need to take to safely & efficiently re-unite children & families who may be separated by an emergency incident at your large planned event or venue?

What about the group of teenagers strolling down the midway? How will you manage their parents who rush to your venue after receiving a text from their child about being in a potentially dangerous incident at your location?

This training will prepare participants to reunite children and their caregivers following emergency incidents at large special events or venues.

This training is appropriate for Emergency Managers, Safety Directors, Law Enforcement, Municipal Officials and others involved in planning and hosting large events such as fairs, parades or festivals, or large venue managers and owners, such as colleges, universities, concert venues, casinos, theaters, etc.

Pre-registration is required (complete the form below).

The training will be held at The Carriage House at Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. The training will begin promptly at 8:30 am, with on-site sign-in beginning at 8:00 am.

The I Love U Guys Foundation will facilitate the training, adapting their Standard Response Protocol developed for family reunifications following an emergency incident in schools to the large event/venue setting. The WRHSAC Family Reunification Plan Template will be incorporated into the training. Copies will be provided to participants.

The training is free and a continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be provided.

Thank you to all who attended this training.

Any questions can be directed to Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager,, 413.774.3167 x138


8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Swift River Gun Club, Belchertown, MA

Officer Down Rescue Instructor Training is a 24-hour performance level course designed to give participants the ability to teach fellow colleagues a variety of techniques, skills and tactics which can be employed to rescue oneself, another first responder or civilian in an active threat environment. Participants will learn self-aid, buddy-aid, live-fire rescue, assorted drags and carries, wound management and more. 

This training is open to police, ems and fire first responders from the four counties of western MASS (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden). Priority will be given to those needing to renew certification.

This training is physically demanding requiring lifting, running and the ability to work in tight spaces. Participants should self-assess their capacity to meet these demands.

The training is free and food will be provided.

The training location is the Swift River Gun Club in Belchertown, MA. Training dates are Monday through Wednesday, June 10 – 12, 2019. Attendance at all three days is required to receive a certificate.

OEMS credits will be available.

The training is full. Complete the form below if you’d like to be added to the waitlist.

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8:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Boylston Rooms, Easthampton, MA

Response calls are escalating in complexity.  An every-day, ordinary call can suddenly become a multi-discipline, multi-agency response, filled with unknown and life-threatening hazards for first responders & the public. First responders need to quickly identify when an incident requires enhanced, specialty response and increased safety procedures.

The Emerging Threats Training 2019 will utilize case-studies, response-call after actions, multi-discipline presentations and equipment demonstrations to raise first responder awareness regarding the complex incidents they may face and the assistance and specialized support available to effectively respond and recover from these incidents.

Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to: Clandestine labs found in drug production and explosives; Disaster Medicine; Street Drugs trafficking & responder safety; Technical Rescue;  Specialty Team Embedded Medics; and Human Trafficking.

This training is appropriate for all first responder disciplines. The training is free and food will be provided.

The training location is The Boylston Rooms, Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA.

7.5 OEMS credits are available for this training.

Registration for this training is closed

Multiple Locations

All day

Chainsaw operations on a normal day can be dangerous. When trees are bent, snapped, or tangled in piles of debris because of a weather incident, hazards are increased significantly. With the frequency of tornados and hurricanes affecting western Massachusetts in recent years, highway crews and firefighters are being called on more and more to clear debris from roads. Chainsaw safety skills are essential to first responder safety during debris management response.

This training series consists of two training modules: Chainsaw Skills & Safety and After the Storm.

In Chainsaw Skills & Safety, students will learn about basic safety equipment and PPE, a saw’s reactive forces, chain tooth parts, and practice felling, notching, hinging and other cutting techniques and calculations. This is a two-day, 16-hour course. Students must attend both complete days. The training is physically demanding, a morning of classroom learning on the first day, followed by field work in the afternoon and full in-field day on Day 2. Students must self assess their ability to meet these demands. This course is a pre-requisite for After the Storm training.

In After the Storm, students will build on the skills learned in the chainsaw skills & safety class. Additionally, students will learn techniques to relieve pressure commonly found in storm-damaged trees. Topics include hazards, spring poles, hangers and leaners, pulls and splits and others. This is a one-day, 8-hour training. Only students who have completed the Chainsaw Skills & Safety class are eligible. This training is physically demanding, all day in the field. Students must self-assess their ability to meet course demands.

This training is appropriate for Highway, Department of Public Works and Fire Personnel. The trainings are free and food will be provided.

Two separate sessions of Chainsaw Skills & Safety will be held. The first session will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 26 & 27, 2019, at Cummington Fire Department. The second session will be held on Tuesday & Wednesday, April 30 and May 1, at Forest Park, Springfield. Class time is 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day.

One session of After the Storm will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at Forest Park, Springfield. Class time is 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.


These classes are full. Thank you for your interest. If you have any questions about these or other WRHSAC trainings, please contact Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager.


UMass Amherst Campus, Amherst MA

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Drawing on lessons learned by the University of Florida, this conference will inform participants on actions needed for a unified response composed of university, local, state, and federal partners when a known controversial speaker or event comes to campus.


In October of 2017, a controversial speaker rented a venue on the University of Florida campus requiring a significant, unified response from university, local, state and federal agencies. The event precipitated a state emergency declaration, mutual aid support from agencies throughout the state and national media attention. As a result of high levels of preparation, coordination and luck, the day passed without incident. Learn how officials planned for and managed this event as well as lessons learned.

Emergency Management, Police, and Student Engagement of the University of Florida, along with Florida Highway Patrol, will share their experience & insight of preparing for a large scale event where passion and politics are raised, safety & security capacities are challenged, and media attention is heightened.

Key takeaways:

  • Prepare, and then prepare more.
  • Coordinate communications through a central funnel.
  • Identify a single spokesperson before, during and after the event.
  • Develop messages based on your values.
  • Create and maintain a dedicated website about Free Speech rather than creating about the event or using your homepage.
  • It takes a team.
  • Bring together your communications resources across campus and keep them informed.
  • Define clear roles for everyone who is helping.
  • Get ready for the media frenzy.
  • Be able to act quickly.
  • Be prepared to take the criticism.
  • Commit to supporting each other, especially during the chaos.
  • It’s not over when it’s over – it’s our history to write, not the speaker’s.


This conference is open to emergency management, law enforcement and administrators of colleges and universities in Massachusetts, and local, state and federal emergency management, law enforcement, fire and EMS. Due to the sensitive nature of information shared attendance is limited to these disciplines. All registrants will be placed on a waitlist and will be notified via email of acceptance. Thank you for your understanding.

The conference will be held at UMass Amherst on Thursday, January 10, 2019. The conference is free and food will be provided. Sign-in and continental breakfast will begin at 7:00 am. Welcoming remarks will begin at 8:00 am.

REGISTRATION is CLOSED for this event.


UMass Amherst Campus, Amherst MA

8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Preparing and protecting a municipal or organization’s computer system from cyber-attacks can seem overwhelming and daunting. Many agencies end up doing nothing because they don’t know where to begin.

In this Cybersecurity Preparedness Conference, attendees will learn the following:

  • Demystify Cybersecurity
  • Effective Information Sharing Methods
  • Critical Security Controls that can readily be applied to any system or network
  • Emerging Cyber Threats and how to prepare
  • Steps to take if you experience a cyber-attack/incident
  • Explore regional municipal solutions
  • Current and future cybersecurity efforts at the local, state and federal level

Presenters include cybersecurity experts from the following state and federal agencies:

  • Commonwealth Fusion Center
  • Massachusetts State Police
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Advanced Cyber Security Center
  • Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
  • Mass Cyber Center
  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Technology Services & Security
  • Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security

This conference is appropriate for municipal officials, first responders, colleges, universities, State and Federal partners, private and public sector organizations and more.

The conference will be held at UMass Amherst on Wednesday, December 5th. The conference is free and food will be provided. Sign-in and continental breakfast will begin at 7:30 am. Welcoming remarks will begin at 8:30 am.


Active Threat Integrative Response Training Photo Story

In June, the Western Region Homeland Security Council in partnership with the Massachusetts Emergency Managment Agency and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security hosted the Active Threat Integrative Response Course which is taught by the National Center of Biomedical Research and Training of Louisiana State University. The training focuses on Rescue Task Force Operations during an Active Shooter / Active Threat incident.

First responders from western and central Massachusetts participated. The training was held at the Eastern State Exposition in West Springfield.

The training is another example of WRHSAC’s dedication to provide inter-disciplinary trainings which enhance skills, improve preparedness, build resilience and foster relationships.

The following photo story and video by Public Safety Multimedia provide dynamic highlights of the training.

Active Threat Integrative Response Video:

Active Threat Integrative Response Photo Story:

Highlights from Amtrak Rail Training

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council had the honor to partner with Amtrak Police to offer two weeks of Passenger Rail Training for First Responders. The training was held at Union Station in Springfield, Ma during the month of May. Personnel representing multiple disciplines from municipalities throughout the state attended. Responders from State and Federal agencies also participated. WRHSAC is committed to creating dynamic training environments which foster inter-disciplinary and inter-jurisdictional relationships. These relationships are proven to enhance incident response capabilities and resilience.

The photo story below by Public Safety Multimedia aptly portrays WRHSAC’s commitment to training and establishing partnerships. WRHSAC thanks Amtrak Police and all who participated in the training.

Adobe Spark Page

Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA

8:15 am to 4:00 pm

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council in partnership with the Franklin County School Nurse Collaborative presents School Emergency Triage Training, a program for school nurses.

School Emergency Triage Training (SETT) is a disaster preparedness training providing school nurses with skills necessary to organize and lead school-based Disaster Response Teams and to perform triage in response to mass casualty incident (MCI) events. SETT is developed by the National Association of School Nurses. 

5.25 Hours of Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) are available. Pre-registration is required. Complete the form below. The training is free. 

This training is open to school nurses in the four counties of western Massachusetts, including Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden.

SETT Objectives include:

  1. Describe the importance of preventative training for disaster planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising and evaluating and taking corrective action prior to a school Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) event.
  2. Lists skills and characteristics a school nurse would need to be an effective leader in mass casualty response in schools.

Upon completion of the training, nurses will be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. Describe the importance of preventative training for disaster planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising and evaluating and taking corrective action prior to a school Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) event.
  2. Lists skills and characteristics a school nurse would need to be an effective leader in mass casualty response in schools.
  3. Apply knowledge to develop basic disaster prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery plans for health service providers in schools.
  4. Identify issues unique to the school setting that can impact the sustainability and effectiveness of disaster preparedness measures.
  5. Discuss regional considerations related to disaster preparedness training with local and national resources.
  6. Demonstrate how to use the START/JumpSTART algorithms to perform mass casualty triage.
  7. Identify and list the principles and methods used to perform triage and response to school-based MCI events.
  8. Identify strategies to engage school Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Team volunteers and administrative support.
  9. Describe how the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice ™ is applicable to Emergency/Disaster Preparedness.


The training is free and food will be provided.

On-site sign-in begins at 8:15 am. The training will begin promptly at 9:00 am.

You must be pre-registered.  Registration for this training is closed.

Please contact Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager if you have any questions.