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Pease Airmen participate in multi-state disaster training exercise

Airmen with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, setup a mobile medical tent during a New England CERFP mass casualty training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Airmen with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, setup a mobile medical tent during a New England CERFP mass casualty training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Airmen with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, New Hampshire Air National Guard, train on medical simulations during a New England CERFP mass casualty training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The training simulated a collapsed chemical manufacturing building. (Courtesy photo by Maj. Lyndsey Fleming)

Airmen with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, New Hampshire Air National Guard, train on medical simulations during a New England CERFP mass casualty training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The training simulated a collapsed chemical manufacturing building. (Courtesy photo by Maj. Lyndsey Fleming)

Tech. Sgt. Nicole Godschall, an aerospace medical technician with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, New Hampshire Air National Guard, sets up a litter carrier during a New England CERFP mass casualty training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Nicole Godschall, an aerospace medical technician with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, New Hampshire Air National Guard, sets up a litter carrier during a New England CERFP mass casualty training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Alexander Barnhart, 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, New Hampshire Air National Guard, trains on search and rescue techniques with U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 861st engineer company, Rhode Island Army National Guard, during a New England CERFP  mass casually training exercise, Nov 5. 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Alexander Barnhart, 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, New Hampshire Air National Guard, trains on search and rescue techniques with U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 861st engineer company, Rhode Island Army National Guard, during a New England CERFP mass casually training exercise, Nov 5. 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

National Guardsmen with the New England CERFP train on mass casualty response at the Maine Army National Guard's HQ 133rd Engineer Battalion, Nov. 5, Brunswick, Maine. The guardsmen participated in a week-long training event to hone their medical response skills. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

National Guardsmen with the New England CERFP train on mass casualty response at the Maine Army National Guard's HQ 133rd Engineer Battalion, Nov. 5, Brunswick, Maine. The guardsmen participated in a week-long training event to hone their medical response skills. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Airman 1st Class Jaylin Acres and Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Therberge, 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, N.H. Air National Guard, gather data for work rest cycles, including food water temperature during a New England CERFP training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The week-long exercise enable the guardsmen to hone their medical response skills. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Airman 1st Class Jaylin Acres and Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Therberge, 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, N.H. Air National Guard, gather data for work rest cycles, including food water temperature during a New England CERFP training exercise, Nov. 5, 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The week-long exercise enable the guardsmen to hone their medical response skills. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Megan O’Regan, left, with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, briefs fellow medics on medical supplies in preparation for a New England CERFP mass casualty exercise, Nov. 5. 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

Tech. Sgt. Megan O’Regan, left, with the 157th Medical Group, Detachment 1, briefs fellow medics on medical supplies in preparation for a New England CERFP mass casualty exercise, Nov. 5. 2019, Brunswick, Maine. The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing building. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. --

Forty-five Airmen from the 157th Air Refueling Wing joined Army and Air National Guardsmen from three New England states to participate in a medical rapid response training exercise in Brunswick, Maine, Nov. 4 - 8.

The exercise simulated the collapse of a chemical manufacturing facility and provided guardsmen the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills required for the medical management of casualties.

Maj. Robert Howe, a physician with the 157th Medical Group, said one of the benefits of the training event was the fluidity of the featured scenario, which forced participants to respond exactly as they would in an actual disaster.

“It’s sort of an epidemiological puzzle in terms of we’re seeing, people with x, y and z symptoms,” said Howe.

Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island guardsmen with the New England-based Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package participated. The unit comprises five operational elements, including search and extraction, mass decontamination, medical, fatalities recovery, and command and control.

The operation was conducted at two separate and distinctly different training sites.

The main site featured command and control, mass decontamination, medical and fatalities recovery elements. Tents were erected, at which medical personnel triaged patients.

A second area featured a large pile of rubble used by search and rescue workers. Soldiers with the 861st Engineer Company collaborated with 157th Medical Group Airmen and employed search and recovery techniques, such as rappelling, moving debris and drilling through concrete.

A key tool used in the exercise to connect the training sites was the National Guard CBRN Incident Management System, a web-based communications program which enabled better visibility of participants.

“This [system] adds a whole new side to our mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicole Godschall, a medic with the 157th Medical Group. “We’re all looking forward to the potential this could bring.”

The exercise also provided the opportunity for organizers to vaccinate every element of the CERFP for smallpox and anthrax, a requirement for all unit members.

Additionally, the medical team conducted simulations training which leveraged the trauma experience of the providers and nurses employed by the medical element. This optimized the team’s time, filled critical training requirements and encouraged team building. These skills are important to future success in the face of an actual mass casualty event.

“There were a lot of great lessons learned from that,” said Maj. said Maj. Lyndsey Fleming, medical plans and operations office for the New England CERFP medical element. “We had never really done that for the entire group.”

By the end of the five-day mission, confidence was high, skills were sharpened and the training was deemed a huge success.

“It’s incredible to see everyone come together and run these scenarios,” said Fleming. “It was hugely beneficial.”

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