A man standing in front of an ambulance instructs others
Dr. Raul Adlas, Director of the Tallinn Emergency Medical Service, briefs participants on its medical staff, training and equipment, and capabilities.

This spring, NNSA continued its return to a normal cadence of in-person training by conducting an International Medical Management of Radiation Injuries Course in Tallinn, Estonia.

The I-MED course was the first in-person engagement of its kind since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The course included lectures, demonstrations, exercises, and hands-on training for participants that focused on treating patients involved in radiation exposure, accidents, or contamination.

“NNSA is pleased to start bringing things ‘back to normal’ in radiological training,” said Ann Heinrich, head of the Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation. “We accomplished a lot of virtual training during the pandemic and will continue virtual engagements, as they have many benefits. However, in-person events like this one are necessary to deliver complex, in-depth concepts where discussion and hands-on learning are critical to the success of the training.  In these situations, in-person training delivers better outcomes.”

People dressed in heavy-duty medical garb hold and examine a hand-held Geiger counter
Doctors and nurses from the Northern Medical Center train on radiation detectors used to treat radiological patients with injuries from the effects of ionizing radiation.

Instructors included personnel from the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine in Budapest, Hungary.

In addition to the training, the head of the Tallinn Emergency Medical Service provided a briefing on his agency’s equipment and capabilities, and the chief of emergency for the North Estonia Medical Centre gave participants a tour of its radiation safety equipment, oncology ward, and radiation treatment devices.

At the end of the week, participants reflected on the I-MED course and found many areas in radiation safety and training that they could implement. 

“This training increases preparedness for radiological incident management by providing information and removing fear that we all share of the unknown,” said Riho Männik, Chief Instructor at the Estonian Medical Academy. “The I-MED course also provides the tools and the understanding to look at emergency response plans during a crisis.”

A man in a military uniform with a Polish flag uses a hand-held Geiger counter to examine a hanging dress shirt.
A member of the NATO Multi-National Corps, Northeast -- based in Szczecin, Poland -- conducts a radiological detection and dose estimation exercise.