News: Alaska Patient Evacuation on the Wings of the US Air Force
Story by Spc. Lindsey Schulte
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - U.S. Air Force staff setup a Disaster Aeromedical Staging Facility in Hangar 1 to simulate the treatment and evacuation of patients sent to them from Alaska's hospitals in a disaster situation here, March 31, 2014 as part of the state wide Alaska Shield exercise.
“If there is a disaster and the state requests assistance, we come in and provide this service to any state,” said Air Force Col. Tami R. Rougeau, director of operations of the DASF.
Patient treatment includes pain management, administering anti-nausea medication and ensuring dressings are clean, dried and intact. If the medical equipment the patient arrives with is not approved for flight, DASF staff transfer the patient onto the Air Force's medical equipment.
“We have a flight surgen who will approve the patients for flight and make sure that they're stable enough to fly,” said Rougeau.
If a patient's condition worsens and it is not safe for them to fly, the DASF will notify the state. The state will decide where and how the patient will go for care. DASF will follow the state's instructions and then record that information in the manifest of accountability.
This accountability is important for patients whether or not they are evacuated. Every patient is assigned an identification number and patient information is recorded for accountability.
This accountability information allows state and family members to track down patients.
This collaboration of the Air Force and the state of Alaska helps improve DASF operations in case of an actual disaster.
“It's good for us to come in and see what your processes are and who your local contacts are,” said Rougeau. “So if there was really a disaster, we would know coming in how we're going to set up, and who we're operating with and what your expectations are."
The Air Force's DASF is part of the military's role in Alaska Shield 14. Alaska Shield 14 is a multi-agency, state-wide test of emergency response resources to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster.