Doctors and medical technicians from the 452nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron (AMDS) responded to a vehicle accident, on base, that injured 17 people on Sunday, Sept. 7, during the joint Unit Training Assembly, emphasis on “Training.”
The mass casualty exercise scenario was carried out by approximately 100 AMDS members, which according to their leadership, fulfilled their annual medical readiness block training requirement.
The simulated accident occurred when two vehicles, a bus and a small stake-bed truck collided near the clinic on Graeber Street. It was created, not only to fulfill annual training requirements, but to test the response times, skills and teamwork of March medical and emergency personnel.
“The Fire Chief is waiting for civilian emergency response vehicles to respond and they are an hour away from arriving,” said Capt. Renee Swift, 452 AMDS. “So we are going to triage them and stabilize them the best we can until civilian authorities come and take over. We can’t perform medical treatment here. We can only help stabilize them.”
The objective of the exercise was to overwhelm the clinic staff using a no-notice scenario that represented a realistic emergency response to an accident.
“The 452 AMDS commander, Col. Brendan Donahue, intended to play out a scenario that no one planned or trained for,” said Lt. Col. David Sell, Senior Administrator, 452 AMDS. “We evaluated the evolution of the leadership taking charge at the scene with regard to Self Aid Buddy Care and transportation of the victims.”
Simulated injuries in the exercise included compound fractures, a patient requiring psychological treatment and a group of victims apparently suffering from Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. These victims had recently returned from the Middle East where cases of MERS have been reported.
“This scenario emphasized a good example of controlled chaos,” said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Abers, NCOIC, Medical Readiness. “All of the victims were successfully transported according to the scenario and I think the moulage team did a great job applying the mock injuries.”
“The purpose for us was a training exercise to evaluate our preparedness for mass casualty incidents,” said Lt. Col. Martin Louie, Chief of Aerospace Medicine and Flight Physician. “The exercise has two functions, to see what our strengths and weaknesses are and also to prepare for future incidents such as the scenario we had. We train to improve our strengths.”
As the exercise progressed several squadron members stood out as key leaders. Their quick reaction to the events and triage by the medical teams was key to successful communication, command and control of the exercise scenario.
“The entire squadron responded accordingly to practice their skills and put in to place what they have learned throughout their careers,” said Chief Master Sergeant Jim Owens, Superintendent, 452 AMDS.
(Lt. Col. David Sell, 452 AMDS Senior Administrator, contributed to this article)