Mass casualty exercise offers room for errors, practice

| September 29, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers on COB Adder, Iraq, participate in a training exercise to rehearse their reactions in a mass casualty scenario. All units reacted to the call for first responders and security at the point of impact, near the dining facility, Sept. 5.

Soldiers on COB Adder, Iraq, participate in a training exercise to rehearse their reactions in a mass casualty scenario. All units reacted to the call for first responders and security at the point of impact, near the dining facility, Sept. 5.

Story and Photo by
Spc. Sharla Lewis
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq — Even while deployed, military units conduct training to prepare for emergency scenarios they may face.

Units, here, participated in a mass casualty exercise, recently, to rehearse initial response and medical treatment techniques.

The exercise simulated a rocket attack on base that wounded several Soldiers near a dining facility.

Splayed on the ground, Soldiers in costumes — complete with protruding intestines, amputated limbs and fake blood — yelled for assistance to responders who were first on the scene.

Troops dismounted from vehicles and rushed to aid the wounded individuals and load them onto waiting trucks. Casualties were then transported to the base’s combat support hospital for follow-on care or medical evacuation.

“When the real thing actually happens, we will know what to do,” said Spc. Randall Jackson, with 34th Sapper Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, clad in an intestinal-wound costume.

Though a review for most troops, the exercise provided room for mistakes with the intent of preventing them in real-life scenarios.

“You train as you fight,” said Master Sgt. Willie Hairston, Headquarters and Headquarters Bn., 25th Infantry Division, who observed the training. “You mess it up here, so you don’t mess it up later.”

Hairston said the scenario had a good setup with its scattered casualties; however, responders spent too long with the first few casualties they treated. They should have applied quick fixes to multiple patients and loaded them onto vehicles to receive additional care at a hospital or aid station, he explained.

Training stressed post-attack reconnaissance, or PAR teams, and revealed areas in need of improvement. PAR teams rove the base after an incident and are usually first at the scene to provide security and aid to casualties.

At the conclusion of the exercise, casualties peeled off stick-on wounds and turned in their costumes. Soldiers packed up their gear and headed back to their unit areas. Medical officers huddled to chat about the day’s events.

Meetings following the scenario reviewed the training and focused on areas that need further improvement. Then, physicians could apply these improvements in their units and conduct additional internal training.

 

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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