CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT -- Area Support Group (ASG) -- Kuwait tested its emergency response skills December 6, 2017 with a mass casualty exercise, or MASCAL, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
The exercise simulated a ballistic missile strike in two different areas of the post to not only test base emergency response teams, but also involve the Troop Medical Clinic. The post's loud speakers initiate, "exercise, exercise, exercise," as a group of soldiers take their places with artificial injuries to give first responders a realistic simulation of what they can expect to see. The military police are first on the scene to check on the wounded. Shortly after, emergency medical personnel and fire fighters arrive to start lifesaving procedures.
"We are trying to coordinate all the different parts of our community, all our different efforts and synchronize them for the entire camp in order to raise our force protection levels," said Maj. Robert Anspaugh, brigade operations officer, ASG-Kuwait. "We try to meet Gen. Garrett's intent which is 'be ready to fight tonight,' so our level at ASG-Kuwait is we are here to protect the people that are on our camps across the country of Kuwait."
Teams check on the wounded and move them to ambulances in the order of care needed. Once loaded into the vehicles, patients are move to the nearby Troop Medical Clinic. Clinic soldiers wait outside in a triage area to provide care as troops arrive.
"We are trying to see our flow if there was an attack to make sure we could take care of patients in an orderly and timely manner," said Spc. Morgan Edginton, 86th Combat Support Hospital medic. "I think MASCALs throw different curve balls at you every time, but our team is great and we gel well together." "We know our roles and where we need to be; we know each other's strengths and weaknesses so we play off that," said Edginton.
Among all the commotion of new casualties arriving, these medics must work to accomplish the mission. From the very bottom to the top, every unit and individual involved must play his or her part and communicate.
"Communication is number one. If we are not communicating then nothing will work," said Edington. "Focus on the task you have, don't get tunnel vision, and be situationally aware of what's going on around you."
ASG-Kuwait knows that units come and go so a well-maintained plan helps keep continuity within the ranks.
"It's an ongoing challenge, so units internally should have a quality relief plan in place, transfer of authorities, and quality SOPs," said Anspaugh. "A big part of that is knowledge management, keeping those plans in place and the base line training that we have." "Those soldiers from the lowest level to the person writing the plans, everyone has a role in this and we all need to look at what we can do better."