24Sept2013: Texas mass casualty exercise tests military, civilian first responders


texas 130919-F-II211-045

(Afrc.af.mil) – OINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — Joint Base San Antonio alongside San Antonio’s rescuers and hospitals, joined forces to handle two simulated disasters during a San Antonio mass casualty exercise, Sept.19.

The Air Force Reserve Command’s 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, from JB San Antonio-Lackland, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters,” a C-130J unit from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., were key components in the exercise.

The exercise was designed to test  the ability of hospitals in Southwest Texas to respond to a mass casualty event and the ability of San Antonio and the military to efficiently, receive, transport, treat and track patients in the National Disaster Medical System, a federal system to move patients to disaster-related hospitals.

The Scenario: Two major weather disasters initiated the response. First, several simulated tornados hit the Tulsa, Okla. area on the evening of Sept. 18. Two large medical centers are severely damaged and forced to transfer all patients to other facilities. Second, another simulated severe storm system swept through Southwest Texas early in the morning of Sept.19, causing major damage and hundreds of injuries across the Northwest and West areas of San Antonio.

The Patients: Hundreds of nursing students from seven medical schools around San Antonio congregated in the staging area at the Alzafar Shrine Temple, where they were moulage before heading to 13 area hospitals to be treated and to Kelly Field, where a C-130J Hercules awaited their arrival.

The role of the 433rd AES was to provide 22 patients with medical care aboard a C-130J from the devastated area of Tulsa to Kelly Air Field in San Antonio. There, the patients were off-loaded from the aircraft, triaged and then put directly onto an ambulance bus, where they were taken to local hospitals, including the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.

“These types of exercises are very important for my personnel to learn how to interface with our civilian counterparts and for them to learn our ways,” said, Col. Edward Gruber, 433rd AES commander. “Both entities bring a lot of experience to the table and with exercises and training like this one we can leverage that into a more efficient evacuation plan.”

Read Original http://www.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123364290

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