S.C. Wing Members Portray Injured Victims in Medical Exercise
1st Lt. Rachael J. Mercer
Public Affairs Officer
South Carolina Wing
Cadets and senior members from the South Carolina Wing stepped up recently for the National Disaster Medical Systems Exercise, portraying victims for the annual simulation.
Thirty-six Civil Air Patrol members rode on a C-18 from Charleston to Greenville, where triage officers greeted them. Each member was provided an identity for the day, including age and gender, and then assigned an ailment — simulating injuries that might be found among the general public if a medical disaster truly struck the state.
The assigned identities gave hospital personnel the opportunity to treat a variety of people. In addition, some members’ “injuries” were so severe they were nonambulatory and had to be carried or wheeled off the plane. The members were assessed in a triage area, then shuttled to area hospitals in buses or ambulances, based on the severity of their conditions. After they reached local hospitals, staff there assessed the South Carolina Wing members, admitted them for treatment and began their medical care.
At the triage site the members found tents, food trucks and Salvation Army volunteers ready to meet their nonmedical.
Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Farhat, a member of Lexington Composite Squadron, played the role of a patient with severe injuries. He was nonambulatory and had to be moved by stretcher from place to place during the exercise.
“The disaster exercise was a unique experience that allowed me to see a side of disaster preparedness first-hand,” Farhat said. “It was a great learning tool to better understand the complex nature of disaster services.”
Farhat, along with his brother and father, had been part of the large-scale post-Hurricane Florence response, working for several days in September 2018 at Mission Base in Columbia.
Along with the opportunity to see emergency services principles that they learn as part of the CAP program in use by professionals, the cadets were also able to interact with pilots, loadmasters and others in uniform. They were also allowed to visit the C-17cockpit and ask questions.
In addition to the South Carolina Wing, the simulation included representatives of the U.S. Air Force’s 315th Airlift Wing, the South Carolina National Guard, the U.S. Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local law enforcement.
The exercise is held annually. Each year the simulation is different and involves a different area of South Carolina as the participating agencies work together to prepare the state for natural or man-made disasters.