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Mass casualty exercise at 64th AEG

First responders from the 64th Air Expeditionary Group perform Self Aid and Buddy Care on simulated victims during a mass casualty incident and major accident training exercise called Spartan Flex 13-5 at the 64th AEG in Southwest Asia, June 26, 2013. The exercise was designed to test the readiness capabilities of everyone assigned to the 64th AEG. (Courtesy photo)

First responders from the 64th Air Expeditionary Group perform Self Aid and Buddy Care on simulated victims during a mass casualty incident and major accident training exercise called Spartan Flex 13-5 at the 64th AEG in Southwest Asia, June 26, 2013. The exercise was designed to test the readiness capabilities of everyone assigned to the 64th AEG. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- It's 8 a.m. at the vehicle maintenance facility as an Airman puts new tires on a Humvee. His coworkers are going about their morning routine unloading a shipment of oxygen and acetylene bottles from the back of a delivery truck with a forklift.

As the pallet of oxygen bottles is being lifted from the back of the truck, an unsecured bottle sways and topples to the floor. As the bottle smashes onto the concrete pad, the valve assembly shears off and with a deafening roar, the oxygen bottle flies through the maintenance facility like a cruise missile. After a brief silence, the stillness is broken by the moans and cries of the seriously injured. Seconds later, an Airman is on the phone to Combined Defense Operations Center calling in the accident.

This scenario kicked off a mass casualty incident and major accident training exercise called Spartan Flex 13-5 to test the readiness capabilities of everyone assigned to the 64th Air Expeditionary Group here June 26.

Emergency responders were tested on their ability to respond to a major accident with multiple injuries. The incident commander took charge of the scene and called for the Emergency Operations Center to be activated. Security forces responded quickly and worked closely with the fire department to ensure the scene was secure. Moments later the EOC was buzzing with activity as it stood up. Situation reports from the scene were sent in and each organization went about getting accountability for all of their personnel.

The fire department cleared the scene, having successfully triaged the wounded and conducted a confined space rescue of an Airman who had simulated a fall into the maintenance pit. The EOC began recovery operations and eventually stood down.

Now it was time for phase two of the exercise. 64th AEG personnel took advantage of the fact there were members who were already in mock injury makeup to gage the base populace on their Self Aid and Buddy Care proficiency. Ten percent of the 64th AEG rotated through each of the SABC stations evaluating and providing medical attention to each of the victims. Fake blood and makeup added a sense of realism and urgency to the situation.

All first responders worked extremely well together and their actions were seamless.