War on Terrorism

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Attack Wing's medical troupe takes on antiterrorist exercise

by Tech. Sgt. Andria J. Allmond
111th Attack Wing Public Affairs


11/2/2014 - HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Preparing for a worst-case scenario commonly requires more than computer-based training and sometimes involves blood, sweat and tears as some service members of the 111th Medical Group here found out Nov. 2.

The 111th MDG medics, nurses, physicians and incident command members were put to the test during a mock explosion, causing a simulated mass-casualty event.

With student flight members swathed with moulaged injuries ranging from, sucking chest wounds to broken bones, the exercise participants' actions and treatments were assessed against the base plans checklist for explosions in antiterrorist-type exercises.

"I am a firm believer in that we should play as we fight," said Maj. Marion E. Every, 111th MDG health services administrator and wing inspection team member. "I do not like to do a lot of simulation; I would like the Airman to use supplies and treat wounds as they would with a real injury."

According to Every, the medical group undergoes inspections for mass causality response at least yearly. And while the scenarios originate from the base plans checklists, she said she often incorporates ideas from current events in the news.  Additionally, she stated she includes valuable teaching points from past exercises.

"We test the use of base plans and the medical group's skills in triage, patient tracking, bandaging, splinting and basic care to stabilize patients until outside [emergency medical services] can come on site, " she said.

And the team accomplished just that.

"They did great," said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Topol, who served on the wing inspection team for the exercise. "One of the major themes we wanted to stress to those playing in the exercise is that everyone here is trained in self-aid and buddy care, as well as CPR.  Everyone can help; it isn't necessary to step aside and wait for a nurse or medic to take over."

With live simulated causalities strewn about, wing members got to work triaging, treating and delivering help to the victims within all available means. The exercise continues until all injured were treated and the mock deceased were accounted for.

"We make this as real as possible," said Topol. "We want our people using supplies, splinting and doing whatever they need to. We do this so people don't freeze during the real thing ... because, this is a very real scenario now. The time for just simulation is long gone, now we exercise to the point of reality."

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