by Cayla Destefani
The 445th Airlift Wing from Wright Patterson Air Force Base held its first ever mass casualty training program at Calamityville in Fairborn, Ohio on September 29, 2013. Calamityville is 52-acres of an old grain silo; the one-of-a-kind facility is owned by Wright State University’s National Center for Medical Readiness. For training purposes, various realistic scenarios were set up around the facility like a plane crash, multi-car and bus crash, a tornado building collapse, and a meth lab explosion. Over 60 volunteer patients were made up with moulage–fake injuries–and fake blood to make realistic injuries and emergency situations that the Air Force, police, and firemen all encounter in real-life situations. Over 500 people from the Aerospace Medicine Squadron (AMDS), Aeromedical Staging Squadron (ASTS), and Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) all participated alongside the Bellbrook Fire and Emergency Services, Fairborn Police, and Canine Cadaver Recovery Teams participated. The event started off at 6:00am with opening remarks from Ohio Representative Rick Perales (retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel) and Colonel Stephen Goeman (445th Airlift Wing Commander) and ended with two bus-loads of live patients being loaded on to and secured in to active C-17 Aircraft at Wright Patterson AFB.
The purpose of this day at Calamityville was to put all of the Air Force Medical Squadrons, local police, local fire, and canine units together in realistic emergency situations to see how successfully they were handled. Squads were judged on their communication abilities, trauma care, rescue skills, unit preparedness, emergency response procedures, safety, responding with proper care to emotional situations, establishing and controlling hazard zones, coordinating and collecting human remains, and coordinating movement of emergency aircraft, just to name a few.
Once participants arrived at the scene they would be called via radio to an emergency scenario. Patients with fake (but realistic-looking) injuries would be pre-placed throughout the scene. First the fire squad would go in and secure the area to make sure it was safe for other assistance teams to come in. Then the triage group would come into the scene and perform temporary treatment to secure the patients’ wounds, then safely remove them from the area and transport the patients to a hospital tent set up. There patients would be classified as “walking wounded” or “critical care.” A separate tent was set up if the patients needed immediate surgical attention. Patients would then be moved to Aeromedical Staging Squadron (ASTS) until they could be transported to the C-17 aircraft that would fly them to a established hospital for further treatment.