News: Medics exercise emergency skills
Story by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION - Members of the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group participated in a mass-casualty exercise held at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed location of Southwest Asia on July 13, 2014.
The 40-minute event provided the medical professionals the first opportunity to work together as a team during a large-scale exercise. Most of the doctors, nurses and medics recently deployed to the base from home stations located throughout the world.
The scenario involved the crash of a small aircraft occurring in the local area that left five surviving Airmen suffering simulated injuries that included abrasions, broken bones and head wounds.
Once the exercise message reporting the simulated aircraft crash was received, 380th EMDG personnel rushed to recover the victims from the crash site and begin the triage process.
The Phantom Center multi-purpose building served as the staging area to receive the aircraft crash victims. Gurneys, bandages and other medical equipment were carefully arranged in preparation of their arrival.
Victims were transported to the Phantom Center and doctors, nurses and medics immediately went to work treating the various injuries.
The exercise was designed to help identify equipment and supply shortfalls and also helped to develop teamwork among the deployed medical personnel.
“For the initial exercise, I think it went very well,” said Col. Kevin Wright, 380th EMDG commander. “The intent was to learn the gaps in our processes. These individuals came in from all over the Air Force, but they came together as a group and I think they demonstrated their ability to take care of urgent patients in an excellent fashion.”
The training event involved every office assigned to the 380th EMDG. Airmen normally assigned to public health, bioenvironmental engineering and administration stepped up to assist with the emergency functions required of the exercise. The event provided the entire group of medical professionals a chance to work together.
“We’re a pretty close team already,” said Col. Wright. “But you throw people into a situation that’s very stressful and it tends to tighten the bonds even more.”
Tech. Sgt. Renea McCoy, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Medical Operations Clinic, developed the scenarios, built the disaster teams and selected the moulage patients for the exercise.
2nd Lt. Katherine Abbott, a 380th EMDG registered nurse, spent hours preparing the victims’ moulage, or injury makeup, to make the injuries appear realistic and lifelike.
“We had a large abdominal wound, we had face lacerations and we also had someone who had blunt trauma to the neck,” said McCoy of the injury simulations. “There were a lot of wounds that we had to treat, stabilize, and bandage them up.”
The medical personnel’s reactions to the exercise scenarios were also rated by an evaluator watching to see that proper care was provided to the injured and if they were able to stabilize and transport the patients within the time limitations.
“I think they did an excellent job,” said McCoy. “They used good communication and they talked to each other and treated the patient. They thought through the whole process, and rapidly. I’m very proud.”
An exercise out-briefing will cover the results of the exercise evaluation. 380th EMDG leadership hopes to incorporate any lessons learned into future exercises.
“It’s unlikely we would have a scenario happen exactly like we planned, but by exercising any scenario we’re that much further down the road (of preparedness) in the event a real emergency did occur,” said Col. Wright.