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EMED training a first at JBER
Airmen prepare to transport a “patient” on a litter during a simulated bridge collapse scenario Aug. 12, 2010. The five-day Expeditionary Medical Support Training was held for the first time at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska from Aug. 9-13. Eighty-one Airmen from around the Pacific Air Forces came to the mandatory pre-deployment training. The EMEDs training is typically held at Brooks City Base in San Antonio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross)
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EMEDS training a first at JBER

Posted 8/17/2010   Updated 8/17/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross
JBER PAO


8/17/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Eighty-one Airmen from around the Pacific Air Forces participated in the first Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Expeditionary Medical Support Training from Aug. 9-13.

The five-day course is typically held at Brooks City Base in San Antonio. The course is a mandatory pre-deployment requirement, where participants are taught what is expected of them in a deployed environment.

Sixteen subject matter experts in their particular medical fields visited JBER from Brooks City Base.

"It's nice for our folks in PACAF to be able to come to one single location rather than have to send them to the states," said Lt. Col. Yolanda Bledsoe, 673d Medical Group Inpatient Squadron commander.

A scenario was given where a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Jakarta, Indonesia. An EMEDS team was tasked to deploy to the location to provide aid to earthquake victims.

However while they were there, they faced a challenge; terrorist attacks were said to be regularly carried out against the security forces in the Western area of the country.

Throughout the week, the PACAF Airmen set up sleeping tents and a medical tent, just like they would have to if they were deployed to a "bare base" which means they are the first ones to arrive and do the initial setup. The medical tent included sections including an emergency room, radiology, intensive care unit and several other sections.

Colonel Bledsoe said this type of training gives the Airmen the ability to train like they're fighting for real. This situation tested how they would realistically be taking care of patients when they're deployed supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or a humanitarian mission like the one several months ago in Haiti, the Colonel added.

Earlier in the week, they went through some classroom training to familiarize themselves with the atmosphere and instruments they would be working with. During the later part of the week Airmen ran through live training scenarios like a collapsed bridge and mortar attack caused by terrorists.

Ambulances full of registered nurses and other personnel were sent out to the sites and went through the proper recovery procedures on the patients, to get everybody back to the medical center.

At the center, casualties were tagged by the severity of their injury and were taken to one of the several sections of the hospital based on what type of injury they had.

Airmen participating in the training said they feel it's a valuable asset and learning from those who have had personal experiences in the field is the best way to learn.

"Any chance we can get to go out and exercise is valuable," said Senior Airman Andrew Day, 673d Medical Operations Squadron. "It's a chance to practice our skills and improve and get better."

Not only was this a good hands-on experience but Colonel Bledsoe said she also felt it was a good way to boost morale and reduce the tension in the Airmen who have never been in the field.

"I think if you show someone what they're going to walk into, it decreases their anxiety right up front," the colonel said. "It also builds comradely. You may deploy with these people in the future and you know what their capabilities are, because you worked with them in this environment."

All in all, the colonel said she felt that this exercise was a success for it being a first at JBER.

"These guys (were) motivated and (were) pumped up every day," Colonel Bledsoe said. "(We) couldn't have (gotten a) better group, jumping in doing things they're not used to doing."

"I think (this training) has been very valuable," she said.



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