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Warrior medics enhance response capabilities during mass casualty exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla
  • 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

The 59th Medical Wing’s disaster response capabilities were put to the test during a mass casualty exercise July 13 at Camp Bramble on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.


The purpose of the exercise was to give our people an opportunity to train together in a realistic setting where we can duplicate the types of missions, which we may be called to respond to, said Col. Mark Ervin, 59th MDW chief of operational medicine.


According to the wing’s medical emergency manager George Torres, the exercise scenario simulated a collision between a commercial airliner and an F-16 on the Kelly Airfield runway. Torres said there were more than 150 disaster response team members participating in the exercise.


“Our disaster response team is comprised of five smaller units,” he said. “We have decontamination, clinical support, triage, manpower and security; each of which fills a different but vital role in emergency response.”


Once on scene, the teams deployed and began operations.


There were a total of 30 staged patients with simulated injuries ranging from cardiac arrest and multi-system failure to minor abrasions and bruises.


We took a different approach by pacing the exercise in a way that allowed teams to fully explore interesting teaching opportunities, said Ervin. “This gave us a chance to take full advantage of the exercise.”


With the training done, the team will evaluate performance, analyze lessons learned and look for process improvements before taking on the next disaster response exercise, which can happen at a moment’s notice.