Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Joint Civilian/National Guard Mass Casualty Exercise Provides Model for Preparedness Training

Following criticism of civilian and military response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, members of the New York Air National Guard and the Central New York Medical Reserve Corps developed plans for a full scale exercise to determine their roles in a mass casualty situation. The Exercise was developed between October 2005 and March 2006. The event was held over two days, with the first day providing a series of partial drills for each section of the groups activities like triage. On the second day a full scale exercise including 350 individuals from over 25 agencies took place. The simulated mass casualty drill involved 32 victims contaminated in a hydrogen fluoride explosion. Following the drill three evaluation sessions were given; one by first responders, one by medical personnel, and a third by military personnel. The exercise was able to identify critical issues in joint military/civilian operations, and provide possible solutions to a number of the identified problems.

-Can identify critical issues in predeveloped plans
-Enables active critical thinking to solve encountered problems
-Can be tailored to fit a specific scale
-Engages participants effectively

-Effectiveness can be hampered by personnel not taking it seriously
-Increased possibility of risk to personnel in some scenarios
-May require a large amount of resources
-Requires extensive preparation

Grant, W., & Secreti, L. (2007). Joint Civilian/National Guard Mass Casualty Exercise Provides Model for Preparedness Training. Military Medicine, 172(8), 806-811. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection database.


  1. Its a shame with information related to the idea of a large scale role playing being somewhat helpful that there was such a fight with the upcoming test that was to be run in Las Vegas concerning the detonation of a nuclear weapon. It's been awhile since I read about it but as I recall it amounted to a lot of the "not in my backyard" type of complaints, and some local politicians believing it would hurt tourism to the area.

    Personally, I would really like to be the city that takes part in that function because I would imagine terrorists would be less likely to hit a city that is prepared for the attack, and it would just make you feel safer that the first responders had some pseudo hands on training when it came to such a horrifying possibility.

  2. They're incredibly beneficial, but also a total pain...Back a just a few years, Central Ohio did a full-scale multi-site drill simulating terrorist attacks in the Columbus area. From what I remember it consisted of at least three sites, and included an attack on Defense Supply Center Columbus, and a simulated airplane explosion. The exercise involved federal, state, and local agencies from Franklin and surrounding counties.

    It was an incredible exercise, and as far as I know the largest ever done. It allowed for a simulation of how the National Response Plan, and local response plans would work. But the cost and effort involved was immense. The Planning took close to a year, and the funding was provided by the federal government which had great interest in the event.

    The cost and time involved often make full-scale events of this nature impractical. Still, smaller scale event's (house fires, hostage situations, plane crashes) are more common place, and mandated by state and federal agencies. If you're interested I recommend watching this show, they follow the NIH Fire Department during a drill, and you can see the problems and complexity involved even in a moderate sized full-scale drill.