Medical Group Engages in Major Accident Response Exercise

  • Published
  • By SrA Michael Matkin
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing
Alarms sound as security forces servicemembers respond to an aircraft engine explosion and provide self-aid buddy care to injured airmen crying out for help. Soon after, medical teams arrive assessing patients and preparing them to be moved to a location away from the flight line.

As the scenario unfolds at the 161st Air Refueling Wing, the emergency medical teams respond with speed, expertise and care, unconcerned that this is only an exercise - to them it is real-world. "Our teams take these scenarios very seriously," said Lt. Col. Stephen Geesling, Exercise Evaluation Team Chief. These scenarios provide preparation and training by simulating real-world events that so that base servicemembers are able to successfully react and treat the injured.

Teams from the Medical Group, Security Forces and the Fire Department conducted an in-depth Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE) and Mass Casualty Exercise (MCE) here June 6, in a continuing effort to train and prepare base servicemembers to respond to a mass casualty incident.

Overall, MAREs and MCEs can simulate a number of events such as an aircraft crash, hazardous waste exposure or a terrorist attack. For this MARE and MCE an aircraft had a simulated engine failure with an explosion, which caused a fire, with approximately 20 casualties.

"This exercise was a great opportunity to test our capabilities and to evaluate the Wing's response to an emergency," said Lt. Col. Geesling.

The overall objectives of this exercise was to implement and evaluate the base's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, to coordinate a mutual response to a major accident with the Phoenix Fire Department and to evaluate the base's first responders ability to provide adequate service in response to a major aircraft accident.

"The reason behind this exercise is to test our Homeland Security Medical Response," said Chief Master Sgt. Kelly Rose, Superintendent of the Medical Group. "We need to be able to evaluate our triage capability and patient accountability."

At the end of the day, the exercise evaluators discussed how the medical squadron performed during the many events. They evaluated the use of proper medical procedures, techniques and what they did right or wrong throughout the day.

"Overall, we did very well," said Chief Rose.