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MDG prepares for field exercise

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Personnel from the 30th Medical Group treat a patient suffering from a simulated heart attack during a code blue exercise on Feb. 28. Code blue is used to indicate a patient with injuries or illnesses that present an immediate life-threatening emergency, most often a cardiac arrest. The medical group has monthly training days to ensure that they are prepared for any situation that may come their way. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Personnel from the 30th Medical Group treat a patient suffering from a simulated heart attack during a code blue exercise on Feb. 28. Code blue is used to indicate a patient with injuries or illnesses that present an immediate life-threatening emergency, most often a cardiac arrest. The medical group has monthly training days to ensure that they are prepared for any situation that may come their way. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Medical Group is preparing for its Medical Emergency Response Capability Assessment and Training exercise, which takes place Jan. 26-29.


The four-day exercise is intended to test the group's Airmen on their ability to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack on the base.


The exercise will be conducted in three phases, including classroom training, hands-on training and the actual exercise scenario.


"The process is to crawl, walk and run," said Russ Sandy, the 30th MDG medical emergency response manager. "Classroom training will be conducted, followed by didactic training, which will eventually lead to an exercise for each individual homeland defense and home station medical response team. These teams include bioenvironmental, immediate medical response, laboratory, pharmacy and in-place patient decontamination."


The exercise will include a scenario that involves the triage of 100 affected patients. The patients will be triaged in the field, with further triage occurring in the clinic itself.


"It will be very realistic and very overwhelming for the medical professionals involved," Mr. Sandy said. "We don't get the opportunity to test to this capacity very often at the base level. For 100 casualties to be treated by the med group is asking a lot, but they will ultimately learn they do have the ability to perform that function if needed."


Ultimately, the exercise will be used for the 30th MDG to identify and overcome weaknesses in their established plans and procedures.


"Gaps in training and vulnerability will be identified during the didactic training," Mr. Sandy said. "They will learn how to close those gaps and improve their procedures in response to these events."


The 30th MDG will be open for all services Monday and Tuesday of that week and have limited ancillary services available Wednesday. The clinic will be closed Thursday and Friday for training and an Air Force Space Command down day respectively. Patients are asked to plan accordingly for this week.