CUMUTO BARACKS, Trinidad and Tobago - More than 150 U.S. military personnel and military and civilian officials from Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Canada, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and the Republic of Suriname gathered here to participate in the annual Fuerzas Alidas Humanitarias (FA HUM 2011) or Allied Forces Humanitarian Exercise.
FA HUM 2011 is conducted to enhance a nation’s response capabilities and interoperability with regional and international military forces and humanitarian assistance agencies. This year’s two week exercise will simulate a catastrophic earthquake in Trinidad and Tobago, requiring assistance from outside countries.
FA HUM illustrates U.S. commitment to work with regional partners in ways that strengthen friendships, bolster partner nation capacity, expands cooperation between nations and enhances regional stability.
“We have received great support from the host nation,” said Col John Mansfield, 60th Medical Group deputy commander and observer for the exercise. “The Trinidad military has been superb in meeting our demands and needs. Our focus is to support the host nation.”
Fifteen volunteers from the 1st Engineer Battalion from the Trinidad military acted as patients for the first day of the exercise and the Emergency Room team treated them within the first 20 minutes.
“Once receiving life saving medical care, patients are transferred to civilian hospitals,” said Col. Mansfield. “The team is thinking about discharge planning prior to the completion of the facility. The facility cannot hold many patients because it does not have the in-patient beds to do so. This is why partnerships with the host nations are so important.”
The purpose of an HRT is to stabilize patients, stop bleeding, stabilize limbs and work with the host nation to transfer patients to more long term facilities.
“We are working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health in Trinidad, the Trinidad military, the U.S. Embassy assigned here and several other agencies,” said Lt. Col. Michael Bruhn, deputy chief of Expeditionary Medical Operations Division at Air Combat Command. “We started planning about a year ago and have coordinated with the Trinidad army and air guard to ensure rapid transport of equipment.”
The government of Trinidad will exercise and evaluate their ability to respond to a disaster, identifying areas of improvement in order to increase their readiness for a major hazard impact. The Trinidad army is also providing the HRT with base operating support to include fuels, meals, billeting and water.