Local

February 1, 2013

A chance to practice, improve skills

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Fort Irwin contractor conducts training for its first responder personnel

The Warrior Training Alliance conducted a mock, multiple casualty exercise to test its First Responder and emergency response programs, Dec. 7.

Currently, WTA has 84 employees trained and certified as First Responders. These individuals are trained to respond immediately to work place accidents resulting in injury. Their role is to take control of an accident or injury scene, clear ingress/egress routes, and provide immediate aid pending the arrival of Emergency Medical Service personnel. In the case of multiple injuries, they also perform preliminary triage in order to assist EMS personnel determine priorities and resource requirements more efficiently.

The intention of the exercise was to provide a realistic training scenario to give the First Responders a chance to practice and improve their skills. Arrangements were made with Fort Irwin’s Fire Department to provide professional observation and feedback. Except for a handful of management staff, this was a no-notice exercise.

At 10:05 a.m., Marcus Rollins, WTA Deputy Site Manager for Operations, made a radio call to WTA’s Operations Control Center to report this mock accident/injury to test the notification and response process. A scene was staged in the A-Frame area, normally used for installation of instrumentation on rotational vehicles. This involved two forklifts, a pick-up and a small utility vehicle. A collision was staged between one forklift and the pick-up and the other forklift and the utility vehicle. Additionally, one of the forklifts was carrying simulated hazardous material, some of which had fallen to the ground. Realistic injury appliqués were applied to seven volunteer employees to replicate injuries and each had a role to play from screaming for help to laying unconscious on the ground.

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Within minutes, two First Responders showed up with their First Responder bags and started assessing the situation and providing assistance to the injured. As other First Responders showed up, they were directed by the first two to help the others. After observing the scene for approximately 15 minutes, the Fire Department “responded,” asking the First Responders for information on what happened, who was hurt, how badly, what were the vital signs, etc.

After a few minutes, an impromptu After Action Review was held with the Fire Department professionals. They provided valuable feedback to the First Responders. There was both praise and advice on how to improve in the future. Following the Fire Department’s feedback, WTA held its own After Action Review to go over the scenario in greater detail. Many valuable suggestions were put forth and efforts are now underway to implement them.

This was a very successful learning experience for all involved, which will go a long way towards making WTA’s First Responders even more capable in the future. While a real world scenario is something no one wants, WTA is preparing in case one occurs.

Many thanks go to the Fort Irwin Fire Department for its valuable assistance and feedback. There is nothing better than to learn from the experts.




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