A week-long training exercise called Operation Joint Response was conducted by the Delaware National Guard, the Maryland National Guard, members from their state partner of Bosnia, and the Delaware Department of Public Health. The purpose of the event was to train and promote inter-operability between medical personnel in EMEDS (Expeditionary Medical Support System) and ERPSS (En-Route Patient Staging Systems).
The exercise took place during the week of July 14, 2016 at the Bethany Beach Training Site and included both classroom instruction and hands-on field exercises. The scenario was based on a Category 4 hurricane, which caused considerable damage to a coastal community. The Delaware Air National Guard, 166th Medical Group was the lead unit for the exercise and responsible for the setup of a BLU-MED Response System® mobile hospital. The BLU-MED medical facility included an administration area, triage area, operating room, and patient ward.
“It’s just like a regular hospital,” said 2nd Lt. Wendy Callaway, deputy public affairs officer for the Delaware National Guard. “If someone needed to have an operation, they could have an operation back there.” Callaway went on to explain, “I just was at training out in California, and they had a larger scale of this. That’s where I saw the X-ray, lab and pharmacy. I never would’ve had any idea about it without seeing it or being in it. It’s cool to be able to get everyone out here and let them see it.”
The Delaware Air National Guard, 166th Medical Group was also responsible for providing medical treatment and medical evacuations. Evacuations were conducted by the Delaware Army National Guard using Blackhawk helicopters, and the 142nd Aeromedical Squadron which prepared patients for medical evacuations on C-130 aircraft. Approximately 75 people participated in the event.