War on Terrorism

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Exercise tests military, civilian response to disaster scenario

by Sue Campbell
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

6/1/2010 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- City of San Antonio officials and local Airmen conducted an exercise here May 27 to test both military and civilian responses to a hypothetical tornado occurring in another state, which could cause evacuation of patients to San Antonio.

The exercise was a simulated activation of the National Disaster Medical System which, in the San Antonio area, is organized by the Federal Coordinating Center out of Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

"It was imperative for us to test this system to ensure proper execution and that all participants are prepared with the right (team members) and equipment necessary to execute this crucial mission," said Maj. Michael Hall, a project officer from the 59th Medical Wing.

The exercise involved approximately 250 participants from local emergency medical services and hospitals, the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma, support and security forces units at Lackland Air Force Base, Wilford Hall Medical Center and BAMC.

Forty volunteers from basic military training squadrons at Lackland AFB simulated injured patients who would have received medical stabilization en route to Port San Antonio. Upon landing and medical triage, these simulated patients would have been transported to area hospitals according to injury and availability of bed spaces.

"In a real world scenario, this type of response could see patients in the hundreds or even thousands," Major Hall said. "Overall, the event was quite successful. All parties involved displayed immense cooperation, and we demonstrated our ability to respond to this type of mission."

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