By Sam CampbellOctober 30, 2019
Fort Leonard Wood Combat Training Company medics held an emergency medical response training exercise Oct. 25 at the hand grenade range, preparing them for a worst-case scenario -- casualties on the range.
The exercise is a regular occurrence, happening quarterly on the installation.
Officials from the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Range Operations, Emergency Medical Services, the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department and Safety Office were included in the event to practice communication and coordination of casualty care.
In the scenario, a trainee -- roleplayed by Staff Sgt. Adam Prouty -- was conducting hand grenade training with a range instructor -- roleplayed by Sgt. Jacob Velting -- when the explosive detonated within just a couple feet of the Soldiers.
Both CTC Soldiers simulated concussions and injuries from shrapnel by wearing moulage and fake blood pumping apparatuses.
CTC medics applied tourniquets to the affected limbs, maintained conversation to evaluate mental states, and stabilized the casualties until EMS and FLWFD personnel arrived on the scene.
"The reasoning in talking to the casualties is making sure they're still alert, making sure that they still can communicate, because at the same time we're trying to communicate, we can see their altered mental status or if they have (a clear) airway," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Manss, CTC range medic noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "It also keeps the casualty calm."
FLWFD and EMS officials evaluated the casualties' injuries and prepared them to be transferred to a hospital.
"Any severe trauma is going to be a high-urgency event," said Brad Bowling, Fort Leonard Wood fire chief.
Because some ranges are in remote areas, he said, emergency vehicles may take longer to arrive if not given the correct information through the appropriate procedures.
"You don't want anything that's going to delay arrival of care," Bowling said. "Time is critical."
According to FLWFD officials, successful casualty care requires a smooth flow of information and clear coordination among the post's emergency services and training units.
"There's a lot of transition points that happen out here on the range," Bowling said. "So you have the CTC medics who are on the ranges, providing care for all their activities, but then sometimes things like this happen. Now we have transport; we have severe medical situations, and that falls under the installation emergency services, fire department, EMS. So, in order to exercise those smooth relationships, we do these drills."
In an actual training incident, emergency services would evaluate casualties and then transport them to the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital or Phelps Health Hospital in Rolla, Missouri, depending on the severity of their injuries, Manss said.
Sixteen minutes, 52 seconds passed from the time the grenade "detonated" to the moment when the injured Soldiers were ready for transportation. CTC Soldiers said the response timeline was favorable.
"All the parties involved did a really good job," said Spc. Nathan Summerfield, CTC medic. "I think both casualties would have lived, and that's pretty much how you measure your success."