War on Terrorism

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NHCP Participates in Mass Casualty Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Michael R. McCormick, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton Public Affairs

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (NHCP) participated in the Vector West 10 base-wide emergency management exercise Aug. 11-12.

The exercise tested the hospital's command center as well as assessed its ability to perform secondary decontamination and establish security entry control points to the hospital.

The scenario for this training was related to a terrorist threat and an incident at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station located near the base.

When the hospital received information about the crisis, it set up the Decontamination Incident Response Team to decontaminate and triage patients.

"Once the patients arrive, they go through a scanner to see if they have been contaminated," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Alex Isenhour, Decontamination Incident Response Team leading petty officer. "If they have, we determine if they are ambulatory or non-ambulatory, we're equipped to treat both.

"If they're non-ambulatory they are put on a stretcher, we remove their clothing and scrub them down. They are then scanned again for contamination. If the patient is decontaminated, he is then sent to the triage tent to determine their treatment priority based on the severity of their condition."

The hospital also activated its auxiliary security force to ensure contaminated or unauthorized personnel did not enter the hospital and spread contamination.

All activities of the exercise were monitored, coordinated and supervised by the Hospital Command Center.

"Exercising our mass casualty procedures can never be practiced enough," said Capt. Jeff Plummer, NHCP executive officer and Vector West 10 hospital incident commander. "The naval hospital is ready for when a real event occurs and Vector West (10) helped make us better."

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