News>Air Forces Northern medical staff participates in Vibrant Response 13
Col. (Dr.) Robert Todaro, Air Forces Northern Command Surgeon, with a moulaged "patient" at the Vibrant Response 13 exercise. The exercise, held primarily at Camp Atterbury, Ind., is meant to test the response capability of the Department of Defense chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response force (DCRF). (Photo by Daizy Labee)
8/6/2012 - TYNDALL AFB, Fla. -- Two medical experts from the Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) command surgeon's office returned August 1 from an observation visit to Vibrant Response 13 exercise and described the visit as a valuable validation of practicing critical medical skills during consequence-management situations.
Col. (Dr.) Robert Todaro, AFNORTH Command Surgeon and Daizy Labee, his deputy, went to Camp Atterbury, Ind., to oversee the operations of the deployed Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS) as the team treated a variety of health care issues in an expeditionary environment. The team was made up of U.S. Air Force medical personnel, who worked with Army personnel and DoD civilians.
Vibrant Response 13 is the largest confirmation exercise to date. It's meant to test the response capability of the Department of Defense chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response force (DCRF). Approximately 9,000 Army and Air Force participants exercise processes such as command and control, CBRN assessment, search and extraction, decontamination, medical support, security, engineering and ground and air medical evacuation.
For the medical portion of the exercise, various scenarios resulted in mass "casualties" with realistic moulaged "patients" in need of immediate medical attention. Since the exercise was primarily focused on a federal and Department of Defense response to a nuclear disaster, many of the scenarios focused on decontamination, impact injuries and burn treatment.
"That is the whole purpose behind our expeditionary medical support Airmen (EMEDS)," said Colonel Todaro. "Through this exercise, we are able to validate our ability to deploy, and erect a mobile medical field facility in a joint environment in an expeditious manner and afford prompt patient treatment."
"This is one of our critical missions, where we have the opportunity to exercise interoperability with our sister services," said Ms. Labee. "It is imperative we iron out the problems and address lessons learned before hand in the event we are needed for a real-world response."
Upon arrival on July 28, the first priority for the EMEDS was to construct the mobile medical facility. Teams of EMEDS, deployed primarily from Joint Air Force Base Andrews, Md. and Nellis AFB, Nev., went to work. The facility, a series of linked tents, included an emergency room, a surgery suite, a dental unit, a pharmacy and an intensive care ward. Rapidly stood up, it was prepared to receive patients on a 24/7 basis. But patients did not have to wait for the construction to finish. Within 15 minutes of their arrival, the EMEDS were seeing patients while the construction continued.
"Medics never know where and in what conditions they could find themselves," said Colonel Todaro. "This uncertainty and contingency makes our participation in austere field training exercises like Vibrant Response 13 so important."