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Exercise tests interoperability

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kimberly A. Yearyean-Siers
  • 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
The City of San Antonio and local military bases were tested Oct. 23 to determine how they would respond to mass casualties during an exercise scenario involving an aircraft incident.

The exercise revolved around two simultaneous events - a plane crash at the San Antonio International Airport and a helicopter crash that caused an explosion at a local pesticide plant - resulting in a mass casualty simulation.

The scenario was practiced to meet requirements that are annual for the city and tri-annual for the Federal Aviation Administration for responding to such incidents.

Patients were triaged at the scene of the accident and transported to area hospitals according to injury and availability of bed spaces, Lt. Col. Sherri Maxwell, 59th Medical Wing Inspector General, said.

Wilford Hall Medical Center received 50 exercise casualties requiring decontamination and additional triaging before being taken into the emergency room for treatment.

"The exercise went very well and we were able to 'play through the door' and run patients from the arrival point at the decontamination tent through the ER, then on to an operating room and/or one of the wards," Colonel Maxwell said.

The influx of wounded required the hospital to perform a bed/hospital expansion and reorganize wards and other facilities to increase available beds from 270 to 310.

"We had the opportunity to exercise and test abilities that we normally do not, as well as a chance for Col. (Dr.) Stephen Niles, 59th Medical Wing vice commander, to be introduced to his exercise and readiness capabilities," Colonel Maxwell said. "Everyone was very pleased with how 59th MDW personnel performed."
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