By Story by Staff Sgt. Mark Scovell
36th Infantry Division (TXARNG)
Joint Training Center, Jordan - Task Force Spartan Soldiers with Alpha Company, 1-35th Armored Regiment, sound the base alarm known as the “Big Voice’ to tell Soldiers to shelter in place during an active shooter mass casualty exercise, Dec. 16, 2020.
The purpose of the exercise was to validate the readiness of the Joint Training Center emergency staff and volunteers, and test how they respond to an active shooter event on post with multiple injuries and mass casualties, known as a MASCAL.
The exercise also helps to improve the communication and cohesiveness of the medical and security teams, and validates the emergency response standard operating procedures in place.
Capt. James O. Wages, a doctor with the 75th Field Artillery Brigade, said the medical team responds just like everyone else at the beginning of the drill, by locking their doors and sheltering in place until they are given the all clear signal.
“During that time of all clear there are teams that will sweep the post looking for casualties,” Wages explains, “If they find casualties they will take them to a casualty collection point where they will radio the Mayor Cell and then notify the Casualty Aide Station or (CAS), that they have casualty’s incoming.”
Wages went on to say, “Once casualties arrive at the CAS they are screened in the trauma area. The team will then do a quick assessment known as the DIME method to screen incoming patients into four categories, Delayed, Immediate Minimal or Expected, to help prioritize care”.
“This type of exercise is vital to ensure our systems are in place to handle multiple casualties at one time,” said Wages, “Everyone knows their job, and knows how to work with each other. It also trains them in areas that they might not be aware of, especially the Standard Operating Procedures that JTC has to deal with regarding the movement and tracking of patients, all of that which is unique to each location.”
Wages expressed how amazed he was that so many different units with different levels of training can come together so easily and conduct such a large-scale exercise.
“We have some really stellar performers that work here,” said Wages. “We have some really great medics and it is really cool how we can all come together and get through an exercise like this really well.”
The drill concluded with an after-action report, which gives agencies on JTC a chance to share what went well and what could be improved upon.
“This is one of the reasons we do these exercises is to identify deficiencies,” said Maj. Frank McGrew, 36th Infantry Division, the Area Support Group Surgeon. “Exercises like this is how Soldiers maintain their skills to ensure proper response in the event a mass casualty should occur.”
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION