NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 99th Medical Group is set to conduct a Federal Coordination Center Exercise with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs called Operation Swift Savior Sept. 19.
The exercise is a first of its kind in southern Nevada, testing Airmen, contractors and civilians in their response to and execution of a simulated evacuation during a power outage at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix and the transportation of mock patients to off-base hospitals to include the University Medical Center and the St. Rose Dominican Hospital.
Members of the 99th MDG will triage, account for and transport patients. Airmen will determine what level of care is needed for a variety of mock casualties.
Troy Richardson, Veterans Health Administration Office of Emergency Management Area emergency manager, explains why Operation Swift Savior is different than other exercises that have been conducted at Nellis AFB.
“This exercise is testing the capability of Southern Nevada to respond to a national emergency that generates a need to care for Americans outside of our state medically,” Richardson said. “It is unique in its concept in that the incident has not affected us here in Nevada directly but puts us in the [position] of providing needed medical support.”
Richardson explains steps have been taken in the coordination of the exercise and the responsibilities of those involved to provide exercise participants with a more realistic training experience.
“Locally, the responsibility of the agencies involved will be to receive, track, triage, transport, and treat the [simulated casualties] presented,” Richardson said. “This evolution is multi-faceted in its design, bringing together federal, state, and local resources to accomplish the overall mission.”
Airmen will unload patients from an arriving C-130 Hercules, track patients using both paper and web-based capabilities, conduct medical screening and triage for each incoming patient, provide security to the reception area and control access of mission essential non-base employees, and assist with logistical support such as transportation needs.
Lisa Hathcock, 99th MDG medical emergency manager, hopes Airmen can benefit from Operation Swift Savior and develop as an even more ready force.
“The 99th MDG and Nellis AFB are already forces to be [reckoned with] as warriors and humanitarians,” Hathcock said. “This exercise will sharpen already existing highly skilled professionals but also bring to bear the needed improvements that may show exercising a new mission requirement. It will allow for growth and extend the capabilities of all parties involved.”
Col. (Dr.) Guillermo Tellez, 99th MDG commander, explains how conducting exercises of this magnitude benefits those involved.
“[Exercises] test and improve on our interagency communications and the utilization of response capabilities, identify shortfalls in resources and deficient areas that may need to be improved upon and strengthen our regional capabilities to respond to any real world medical emergency,” Tellez said.
Through Operation Swift Savior, the 99th MDG hopes to increase readiness and establish a clear and decisive working partnership with our local and federal emergency response agencies to meet necessary emergency response capabilities, Tellez added.