SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras —
U.S. Air Force and Army service members from Joint Task Force – Bravo and Army Support Activity held a joint training exercise June 26, 2019, here.
Firefighters from the 612th Air Base Squadron, medics from the Medical Element and security personnel from the 480th Military Police Company Forward 1 partnered together to rescue simulated burn casualties from a smoke-filled building and provide care to them on the scene.
During the scenario the firefighters were evaluated on entering a building filled with smoke to search and rescue simulated wounded personnel and extract them to a safe location.
“Today they are doing search and rescue tasks,” said Tech. Sgt. Cody Freel, 612th Air base Squadron health and safety officer and exercise evaluator.” They are receiving information that they have a facility with fire involved and three victims missing. We want to ensure that they are properly performing the suppression aspect correctly and that the search and rescue, and the extrication of the victims are correct as well.”
Once the firefighters transferred the victims out side of the building, the MEDEL focused on their three objectives: communication, transfer of patients, and assessing/treating casualties.
“The goal for MEDEL was to train on our medical teams ability to work under a unified incident command system,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nina Pagtakhan, Joint Task Force – Bravo MEDEL NCO-in-charge of training and operations. “During times of an emergency you may have different organizations responding to it, which was the case in our scenario. One of MEDEL’s training objectives was to work with the different MSCs in responding to an emergency, reaching a common goal and working under an incident command system where they’re now not reporting through their normal chain of command.
After the meeting the first objective members of MEDEL concentrated on their second and third goals of taking care of the victims.
“Once the fire department pulls out the casualties from the burning building the medical team has to step in transfer them further into the triage point where they asses the priorities of the patients, they assess their injuries and then they go into treating the patients,” Pagtakhan said.
While the personnel recovery and triage were taking place, the security members cordoned off the area and suppressed of the simulated rioters from entering the scene.
“Today we are evaluating the processes of securing the perimeter of an incident site, diverting traffic from the incident site, executing crowd control, and effective communication between security forces and the incident commander,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Wilson Pietri, 480th Military Police Company Forward 1 NCO-in-charge of training and exercise evaluator.
These types of training allow for the separate entities to come together and practice unit cohesion in the event there is a real world threat.
“Training makes everyone better. For me, working with different MSCs like the 612th Firefighters and MEDEL makes the big perspective that we are at a unique base.” Pietri said. “Working with different MSCs shows the greater concerns outside of our security portion, its worrying about what would happen with those casualties, what would happen with those firefighters, how we can make the route clear for them to evacuate the casualties.”
Freel agrees that the training helps not only hone their individual skills; it also helps them work together.
“This is something that we would actually do real world if we did have a facility that was on fire with missing victims,” Freel said. “MEDEL is going to play a crucial role in it, along the military police and our role in it. This is something that would happen. So, it’s great that we can go out and have an opportunity to work together.”