By Lt. Col. William D. RitterMay 28, 2010
PINELLAS PARK, FLA. May 27, 2010 - The 7222nd Medical Support Unit (MSU), an Army Reserve unit from Tampa, held a mass casualty training exercise this past Sunday, May 23. The exercise was the grand finale for the unit's Combat Lifesaver Course (CLC) each Soldier undertook. And, while the benefits are immediate for the skills of these citizens - as Soldiers; the long term positive effect for the Tampa Bay region will be immense as thousands of residents will come in contact with these 40 Soldiers as they perform their civilian jobs throughout the community.
The CLC is designed by the Army to train medical and non-medical Soldiers in basic medical skills to provide immediate life saving aid to a casualty. Individuals train how to stop severe bleeding and performing a needle chest decompression for a chest injury in addition to other procedures.
While the CLC is required for Soldiers deploying, unit commander Lt. Col. Murray Kramer wanted his entire unit - including clerks and finance Soldiers, to receive the training.
"It was a personal goal for me as the commander to get as many in the unit CLC trained as possible," he said. "This training makes them more valuable to the Army but it also makes them better Soldiers and better individuals. These guys can now provide basic first aid and first responder aid during hurricanes and day-to-day life events," he added.
According to Kramer, who deployed to Iraq and has 30% of his unit deployed now, the amount of people that may benefit from this training will go far beyond the 40 individuals here.
"I addition to the doctors and nurses, I have dentist; dental, x-ray and laboratory techs; nurse practitioners and Soldiers who are students," he said. "That is a lot of people interacting with a lot of others in public places. This training will help at home with their family, at the office or school or even if they come up on an accident and they have their medic bag, they can someone," he added.
The CLC training was aided by the unit's addition of a SimMan (Simulator mannequin) training device. Though not part of the unit's equipment when Lt. Col. Kramer took command, he actively pursued one for the betterment of his unit's training.
"For us to get this was a big asset," he said. "The leadership up the chain (of command) supported us and helped us get this equipment."
The SimMan is a technological, sophisticated artificial simulator that supplied responses to the Soldiers' that they would expect from human patients. Soldiers are able to work on their medical trauma skills without the fear of death presented in real humans.
"We have been using the SimMan for about two years now," said Kramer. "It has helped us train on many of the tasks request for the CLC certification and the Soldiers used it during the mass casualty exercise."
The 7222nd will continue using the SimMan for future training, exercises and CLC certification and according to Kramer, the Reserve Solders like this type of training.
"It gets them out of the building and they are doing something that is real world training, which helps real world people" he said. "Both fellow Soldiers and their neighbors will benefit from what they are doing this weekend and they like that."