News: Air Force tests new Health Response Team
Story by 2nd Lt. Joel Banjo-Johnson
CUMUTO BARACKS, Trinidad and Tobago - More than 40 U.S. Air Force medical personnel from the 60th Medical Group at Travis Air Force Base along with four Contingency Response personnel from McGuire AFB gathered here to test a new Expeditionary Medical Support Health Response Team in support of Fuerzas Alidas Humanitarias (FA HUM 2011) or Allied Forces Humanitarian Exercise.
Similar to EMEDS Basic, HRT’s are a new EMEDS capability that provides prevention, acute intervention, primary care and dental services to support a population-at-risk of 1500-3000. Unlike the EMEDS Basic, the HRT is leaner, faster and more effective.
“The Air Force Medical service has always been able to deploy the EMEDS Basic rapidly, but the HRT is developed to respond quickly and designed for a faster set up,” said Lt Col Michael Bruhn, Deputy Chief of Expeditionary Medical Operations Division at Air Combat Command. “This exercise will allow us to test our new tenting systems, look at new packing mechanisms, and examine the flow of equipment in and off pallets to our facility.”
The EMEDS Basic normally uses Alaskan shelters but the new tents are lighter and require less manpower for set up. The equipment is very similar to an EMEDS Basic and functions include an emergency room, intensive care unit, operating room, pharmacy, dental, laboratory services, radiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, and health administration.
The expectation is for the emergency room to reach full operational capability in two hours and the operating room and intensive care units to be operational in less than four hours. When all four units are complete, the HRT has reached full operational capability.
This team completed the ER in less than two hours, provided immediate medical care within 20 minutes of arrival to the location and set up the operating room and intensive care unit in under three hours.
“I’m extremely pleased with how well the 60th Medical Group has worked together as a team,” said Lt Col Bruhn. “They have created an Air Force standard in this set up.”
The team was hand selected from David Grant USAF Medical Center with 20 percent of the team having experience in Haiti on the USS Comfort.
“Their feedback is vital in the process,” said Col John Mansfield, 60th MDG Deputy Commander and evaluator for this exercise. “They are the experts with EMEDS and now with the HRT so they will be able to compare and contrast the differences between the two and realize what can be improved within the HRT.”