144 Airlift Squadron helps save patients in state-wide exercise

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Firefighters and emergency medical services personnel secured and extracted mock patients from an Alaska Air National Guard, 144 Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules aircraft during a simulated crash at Allen Army Air Field, April 1 as part of the state-wide Alaska Shield and Vigilant Guard 2014 exercises.

Members of the 144 Airlift Squadron and the Fort Greely Fire Department, in conjunction with Delta Junction EMS and local law enforcement, honed their skills with a realistic simulation on Tuesday. As primary response crews for in-flight emergencies to Allen Army Air Feild, the Fort Greely Fire Department received hands-on training on securing the aircraft and extracting injured persons from the airplane.

Instruction was given by the aircrew on how to shut down the aircraft and how to open all emergency exits.

"It is reassuring to know that emergency crews are able to get in and get patients out of the aircraft in a timely manner," said Senior Amn. John Massi, 144 Airlift Squadron flight engineer. "I'm glad to be able to help a possible crash victim survive the experience."

Patients were assessed and moved to triage areas. This accountability is important for patients whether or not they are evacuated. Every patient is assigned an identification number and patient information is recorded for accountability. This accountability helps to monitor the state of the patients and helps determine who needs to be transported to the hospital first. The accountability information also allows state and family members to track down patients.

Collaboration between the Air Force, Alaska Air National Guard and state of Alaska helps improve all crash, fire and rescue operations in case of an actual disaster.

It's beneficial for the aircrews to participate and see CRF processes and who their local contacts are, said Lt. Col. Richard Adams, chief of flight safety for the 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard.

"If there was really a disaster, we would know how best to assist, and who we're operating with and what everybody's roles are," Adams said.

The Alaska Air National Guard is part of the state's and military's role in AS/VG-14. The exercise is a multi-agency, state-wide test of emergency response resources to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster.
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