By Michael Norris, Pentagram Assistant Editor April 22, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. -Members of the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Department gathered with their Arlington County counterparts and officials from Arlington National Cemetery April 11 to inspect a demonstration recovery tent the cemetery and installation fire department are considering for purchase.
The recovery tent, which can be used to assess and treat victims of heat exhaustion or frigid temperatures, is a portable enclosure that includes a radiant barrier lining that stabilizes the interior environment, along with a generator that can alternately keep the unit warm or cold depending on the need.
The demonstration was set up on the southeast corner of the intersection of Pershing Drive and Sheridan Avenue, across the street from the base fire department, located on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
JBM-HH Fire Chief Russell Miller said ANC and the fire department are considering buying the tent for use at events like Memorial Day, where large crowds gather in ANC, with individuals sometimes traveling from outside the area, not always dressing appropriately for the region. He said the tent could also be used at other large-scale events like the Army Ten-Miler or a Twilight Tattoo.
At past events emergency personnel from the fire department have utilized a tent owned by the American Red Cross. Miller said it would be nice to have a second tent on hand so that the two could be used in conjunction, one for triage and the other for treatment.
"It's always nice to have that option," said 1st Lt. Carl Vickers, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment Medical Platoon leader, who was on hand for the demonstration.
Miller said the tent on display was similar to one used previously at large events, but the advantage is that it's more portable and can be quickly assembled and deployed.
In the middle of the demonstration, with mid-morning temperatures reaching into the 70s, firefighters' radios crackled with reports of an "unconscious 13-year-old girl" having collapsed in the cemetery.
It's a not uncommon event, said Assistant Fire Chief Jon Culberson, explaining how people on vacation, bus-loads of kids on field trips and elderly out-of-state veterans traveling to the cemetery for funerals can be vulnerable "sitting in the heat for hours waiting for an event to take place."