LAS VEGAS — Nellis Air Force Base partnered with local first responders for a mass casualty exercise Oct. 24, at McCarran International Airport.
The exercise tested military, federal and state first responders’ ability to work together in an emergency scenario that may occur in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area.
For this scenario, Airmen from the 99th Medical Group joined members of the FBI, Clark County’s police and fire department, and McCarran International Airport’s Transportation Security Administration, in simulating a response to a major aircraft incident, which included more than 100 individuals who were severely injured.
“This type of exercise gives participants the experience to handle any situation,” said Master Sgt. Lloyd Davis, 99th Medical Support Squadron medical readiness flight chief. “This way, if they should happen to respond to a real world situation, the training will kick in and their reaction will be like clockwork.”
In order to make the exercise scenario as real as possible, more than 100 DOD members from across Nellis AFB acted as moulage victims. Moulage is the application of visually life-like mock injuries for the purpose of training.
“Airmen participated in multiple roles during the exercise,” Davis said. “The moulage Airmen were present to simulate wounds such as scratches, burns, lacerations, and amputations that occurred during the scenario. They help Clark County, Southern Nevada Health District, and emergency responders get a better visual of what could happen in a worst case scenario.”
Tech Sgt. Dove Marie Hallstrom, 99th MDSS hematology NCO in charge, and exercise moulage victim, was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the scenario to better train first responders.
“It’s been a learning experience for everyone,” said Hallstrom. “They give you an idea of whether you are psychologically damaged and the extent of your physical injuries to make it as real as possible.”
“So, you’ll scream, yell, fight back, or maybe pass out to simulate a realistic reaction. It is all to make the training as real as possible for a better more believable training environment,” she added.
The exercise is an annual requirement and fulfills portions of the health services inspection for the 99th MDG. However, for some the mass casualty exercise was more than just checking a box.
“We work with the community during these exercises every year to make sure that we build that community relationship and maintain an efficient working relationship with local first responders in case of a real world situation,” said Davis. “If anything happens we want to make sure that we are ready.”