News: Mass casualty evacuation drill unites first responders with common goal
Story by Cpl. James Smith
IWAKUNI, Japan - The sound of sirens blared through the air as emergency response vehicles from Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic, the Provost Marshal’s Office and the station Fire Department rush to the scene of a mass casualty evacuation drill on the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, April 2, 2014.
The scenario replicated a propane gas tank explosion from a food vendor during an event with a large population of participants, said Staff Sgt. Forrest Winter, assistant operations chief with PMO.
“In the fallout of the scenario, we have people that are injured, dead or just in shock because of the explosion,” said Winter. “As first responders, we have to control and manage the chaos in order to treat the victims.”
Marines from the station Special Reaction Team rushed to the scene first to set up a perimeter with emergency medical technicians and other emergency response personnel close behind.
With numerous teams present to control the situation, some may wonder how order is maintained.
“The purpose behind this type of drill is to make sure all first responders are able to work well together,” said Winter. “It’s to make sure we understand how other first responders are going to act.”
First responders can work with one another to understand each other’s standard operating procedures to treat victims, said Winter.
“It was a treat to be able to work side-by-side with other emergency medical technicians,” said Seaman Darion Black, general duty corpsman with Branch Health Clinic. “We get to share our knowledge with each other so we can provide better patient care.”
Despite a language barrier between BHC personnel and station firefighters, communication continues to push the effort forward.
“The language barrier wasn’t much of a concern because patient care is universal,” said Black. “If someone needs to be treated, we all have the same goal, and that’s to treat and transport the patient.”
The drill continued with EMTs tending to role-players of the mock explosion by treating their wounds and transporting them to the triage area for further care.
With the scenario complete, the first responders who participated may be able to function better with each other if such an event does happen.
“It’s nice to be able to perform these types of drills to ensure we are on point to be able to take care of the people in Iwakuni,” said Winter.