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Medics exercise emergency response

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Airmen from the 23d Medical Group treat simulated victims during a mass casualty exercise July 19, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The exercise tested the MDG’s emergency response capabilities during a chemical attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Moody Air Force Base Press Release:

By Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson, 23d Wing Public Affairs

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — The 23d Medical Group (MDG) tested their emergency response readiness with a mass casualty exercise July 18, here.

Eleven teams comprised of various flights and clinics within the MDG responded to simulated reports of an explosion. A simulated chemical agent was released causing “victims” to suffer from shortness of breath, burning eyes and skin irritation in addition to injuries from the explosion.

“It’s important for us to be ready to respond to any sort of incident that might occur on this installation,” said Col. Jay Vietas, 23d MDG commander. “It’s important for us to work as a team and to demonstrate the skills that we bring with us every day.”

For this scenario, Airmen in the MDG used their skills to assess the injured and stabilize them on-scene and transport them to another hospital for further treatment.

To accomplish this, the MDG breaks their manning down into Medical Contingency Response Plan Teams, each of which have different roles and responsibilities when responding to a crisis. The MCRP teams are responsible for knowing their role, ensuring they have working and up-to-date equipment and are always ready to respond.

“There were 11 different MCRP teams in the medical group that were involved,” said Maj. Amanda Rust, 23d MDG Wing Inspection Team lead. “Enabling all of those teams to work together as opposed to each team exercising separately will strengthen our ability to respond to any of these types of events.

“Readiness should be our number one priority because we never know when this kind of event could really occur,” Rust added. “We all need to be ready to respond to any of these types of incidents, to ensure we are safe and are always ready to support the mission.”

Since the MDG has to care for Airmen and their families throughout the duty day, they don’t always go through exercises together because of the amount of people it takes to test every MCRP team. Rust expressed her appreciation for the flexibility that allowed them to accomplish this exercise.

“This was the first time in a while we exercised everybody together which was one of the main goals,” said Rust. “We really appreciate the wing and the medical group customers being flexible with us as we scaled back operations so we could get everyone hands-on involvement and show how ready we are to respond to any type of event that could occur.”

Overall, Vietas deemed the exercise as a triumph.

“The exercise was a success,” said Vietas. “It was a great experience for our teams and many lessons were learned (that will) help keep us ready.”