Local

October 18, 2013

MDOS decons victims in exercise

Members of the 56th Medical Operations Squadron carry a patient to the decontamination tent Oct. 10 during a decontamination exercise at Luke Air Force Base. The automated tent rinses simulated contaminants from patients. The 56th MDOS conducts exercises every other month throughout the year to ensure they are ready for real-world emergencies.

Airmen from 56th Medical Operations Squadron took part in a decontamination exercise Oct. 10 at the 56th Medical Group clinic.

The purpose of the exercise was to prepare 56th MDOS Airmen for real-world contingencies.

“The scenario for this exercise is a crop duster missing its mark and spreading pesticide,” said Capt. Andrew Hoeffler, 56th MDOS decontamination team chief. “Pesticide acts similar to a nerve agent, which is where we come in.”

The exercise was an opportunity for 56th MDOS Airmen to improve their skills with triage, patient decontamination, litter carry, decontamination tent setup, and proper wear of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives suits. The Airmen worked on improving their speed and proficiency for each skill.

“The standard is to set up the decontamination tent and get bioenvironmental personnel into their CBRNE suits in less than 20 minutes,” Hoeffler said. “The purpose of the exercise was to practice meeting that standard.”

An MDOS member sets up a cordon to keep people away during the exercise. The exercise was held to evaluate 56th MDOS members’ ability to respond in a timely manner to a nerve agent release or, in this case, pesticide.

For members of the 56th MDOS, repetition is a key to sharpening skills.

“We conduct these exercises once a quarter,” said Master Sgt. Mary Williams, 56th Dental Squadron manpower security. “We also do training every other month.”

As with most things in the military, MDOS trains as if it’s a real-world situation.

“We are prepared for any situation that may arise,” said Col. Constance Jackson, 56th MDOS commander. “We only have little things to fix or improve on, but hopefully this task evaluation proves we are ready for any emergency.”

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