News: Man-down scenario causes a stir
Story by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Brimage-Gray
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. – The 52nd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team, Columbus, Ohio and the 103rd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team, Fort Richardson, Alaska, were called in to assess a simulated Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear incident, Aug. 1 during the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) lead Exercise Vibrant Response 13-2 at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.
Although it is nothing new for the CST to receive these types of calls, it is very uncommon that one of their own men goes down while performing these routine missions and it was something the teams commander wanted to simulate.
“We had four teams at the incident site. Then we had one man “go down” inside the building. At the point, the command, “MAN DOWN” is given and the main focus of the operation is to get that man out of the building and into the decontamination site,” said Maj. Richard Mohammadi, deputy commander of the
To get a casualties perspective, the commander of the 52nd CST decided he would be the man to go down during the scenario.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Suver, commander of the 52nd CST stated, “I was apart of the entry team along with the cameras and I tripped and fell on a chair and went unconscious. I wanted to be the casualty so I could go through the decontamination system in order to see the process from a casualty’s perspective.”
CSTs serve as the first responders prior to civilian first responders entering a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear incident site but in a situation where one of their own goes down they also have there very own first response team.
“At that point the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) is called in to extract the downed man from the building and they’re responsible for bringing him to the decontamination line to go through a complete decontamination sequence, in order to get that man out of the chemical suit, and into the hands of the medical team.”
Suver said, “I’ve watched this process over and over again but actually going through as the casualty gave me an entirely new perspective of what my guys go or potentially have to go through in the event of a man down situation.”
Inside the tent the casualty experiences an extensive and thorough decontamination process.
Staff Sgt. Dustin Bowshier, a member of the 52nd WMD-CST decon team, explains:
Once inside decontamination tent, the casualty is moved thorough the tent on a gurney to the showering point. At this time, the casualty is doused in water because he is considered non-ambulatory. After such time, he is immediately tested for traces of the chemical agent that was identified from the incident site. Once cleared of the agent by the decon team, the casualty will be cut from the chemical suit and the mask will be removed so they can be transferred to a gurney in the cleared area of the tent and turned over the medical team for treatment. When the casualty is removed from the tent, the chemical suit is tagged and bagged with the identified chemical labeled on the bags and left to be cleaned by an Army contracted hazardous material agency.
“I learned a lot today and intend to streamline things a little more. It was a great training event that was done jointly between the Ohio National Guard and the Alaska National Guard, said Suver. “I could not ask for better training event and it opened my eyes to a lot of things that we can do differently improve our man down procedures as a whole.”