By Christine June, USAG Kaiserslautern Public AffairsAugust 12, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany Aca,!" Balloon canisters, normally filled with helium, were packed with chorine. And within minutes of what was to be a joyous celebration Aca,!" a welcome home ceremony for redeploying Soldiers Aca,!" the event suddenly became chaos as the canisters opened, poisoning the air with yellow gas.
Such was the scenario for U.S. Army Garrison KaiserslauternAca,!a,,cs Warrior Response 2008 force protection exercise held Aug. 9 at the Kaiserslautern Army Depot Complex.
The exercise tested Kaiserslautern military community emergency responders Aca,!" from Army, Air Force and German units Aca,!" and the 21st Theater Sustainment CommandAca,!a,,cs quick reaction force.
Aca,!A"I want them (KMC) to feel comfortable (in knowing) that we have a plan in place, and that we have experienced people who know exactly what to do,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Mechelle Hale, the garrisonAca,!a,,cs commander.
This annually held exercise generally employs the assistance of the Air Force, which has first-responder requirement in the KMC, and host nation assets. The Kaiserslautern city fire department and medical services also participated.
Aca,!A"We did establish across the board communications with our higher elements, senior officers, security police, first responders and medical support services,Aca,!A? Hale said.
First to arrive on scene were Ramstein Air Base 835th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters, who immediately established a triage site to care for the 24 Aca,!A"wounded.Aca,!A? Injuries ranged from chemical burns to open wounds and broken bones suffered during a panic to escape the yellow gas.
Aca,!A"(Firefighters) measured (the situation) and started triage right away,Aca,!A? said Peter StuhlmAfA1/4ller, KMC Fire Emergency Services deputy fire chief. Aca,!A"One of our responsibilities is to do first-aid medical treatment before medics arrive.Aca,!A?
An improvised explosive device detonated while the firefighters were treating the injured and performing an initial wash down, as well as setting up the portable decontamination unit.
Aca,!A"Secondary devices always pose a threat to emergency responders,Aca,!A? said Henry Kaaihue, the garrisonAca,!a,,cs force protection officer.
The explosion caused additional causalities, but the firefighters escaped injuries as they continued caring for patients and transporting them to a triage site manned by RamsteinAca,!a,,cs 435th Air Medical and Dental Squadron.
Aca,!A"We determine how many patients there are Aca,!" keep a running count Aca,!" and what their triage categories (priority levels) are,Aca,!A? said Air Force Maj. Mac Dunn, of the 435th Air Medical and Dental Squadron, who served as the triage officer during Warrior Response 2008, explaining the role of his crew.
Injury categories are: immediate Aca,!" potential for loss of life, limb or eyesight; delayed Aca,!" seriously injured but can wait for medical treatment; minimal Aca,!" scrapes and bruises; expectant Aca,!" dead or Aca,!A"not going to make it,Aca,!A? said Dunn.
And when examining injuries, Aca,!A"(We determine) what happened to the patient, do a thorough exam and start treatment,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Celeste Blanken, also with the 435th Air Medical and Dental Squadron, as she explained her role as the treatment officer during the exercise.
She added that treatment officers also decide which patients need to be transported first from the triage area to a medical treatment site that provides more extensive care.
Notification of the first initial response and how it was communicated through the various control centers Aca,!" Air Force, Army and German Aca,!" was a major criteria tested during Warrior Response, said Kaaihue, who along with officials from USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg and 435th Air Base Wing developed the scenario.
Aca,!A"From what I saw, communications in general went well,Aca,!A? he said.