News: DoD, DHHS conduct joint exercise in preparation of inauguration
Story by Sgt. Katryn McCalment
WASHINGTON – Members of Joint Task Force – National Capital Region Medical Command and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services performed a tent fitting exercise at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, on Jan. 3.
The joint exercise allowed for interagency cooperation in preparation of the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade scheduled Jan. 21, 2013, and allowed both organizations to design the layout of the medical treatment facility within the first aid tents.
“This exercise provides an opportunity for collaboration,” said the National Capital Region’s Regional Emergency Coordinator, Glenn R. Blanchette. “With the (Department of Defense) supporting the DOD patients and the other organizations treating the civilian patients, working together provides care for all citizens immediately.”
Four years ago, the JTF – NCRMC, DHHS, National Park Service, and American Red Cross all had separate medical and first aid tents, which inundated the downtown area with more than 50 aid stations.
This year, though successful interagency cooperation the system has been condensed and streamlined into eight tents spread throughout the National Mall. Individuals from D.C. fire departments and emergency medical services will share space in the tents and collectively provide any needed medical services to parade attendees and participants.
Officials expect civilian attendance to be lower than the 2009 inauguration, with approximately 5,000 military personnel, made up of musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons, being a part of or supporting the Inaugural Parade.
“We learned that by working together, not only can we treat the same number of people, but communication and cohesion becomes more efficient as well,” said Col. Paul Duray, director of operations for JTF – NCRMC.
With nearly a thousand individuals receiving aid during the last inauguration, communication and cooperation between the agencies involved is paramount. The streamlined process will assist in giving basic medical care in a timely and efficient manner.
“The tents also prevent citizens from having to go to the emergency room for minor ailments that can be treated in the tents,” said Blanchette. “As a result, they will alleviate the impact on the hospitals and on emergency vehicles.”
The reduced impact on local hospitals will also allow for expedient treatment for the local population.
“By the end of the day, all equipment and personnel was effectively coordinated between the interagency partners,” said Duray. “It was a great success of communication and collaboration, and we are prepared for any sequence of events that may occur.”