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Stennis Conducts Evaluated Mass Casualty Drill

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080606-13
Release Date: 6/6/2008 1:53:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Elliott J. Fabrizio, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held her first graded mass casualty drill during the Tailored Ship Training Availability (TSTA) period, June 2.

During the drill, some Sailors acted lifeless, some screamed for help, and the others were in shock; Stretcher bearers and medical personnel had to keep a level head as they assisted their "wounded" shipmates.

Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific evaluated the exercise to determine how well Stennis' Sailors performed and how well the ship's medical training team conducted the drill.

"It establishes where our training team is at during TSTA phase one and two," said Medical Department leading petty officer Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Tim Barron.

"As we get closer and closer to the end of TSTA, ATG will help us out and get us to the level of proficiency in our ability to train the crew, so we can carry on preparing the crew for things like real mass casualties," said Barron.

The entire crew must be prepared, since everyone has a role during a mass casualty; with the medical department providing treatment, security containing the situation, and the rest of the ship providing stretcher bearers or avoiding the scene of the emergency.

"By running these drills, we can practice simulated situations, and if such a disaster occurs, we have some experience we can fall back on," said Medical Department physician's assistant Lt. Robert Pillitiere.

The first step during a mass casualty is to sort the wounded by the severity of their condition. The casualties are sorted into four categories as they are removed from the scene and brought to an initial treatment and holding point.

"We have a timeline," said Barron. "We try to get those first ones that actually need surgery down to the operating room in less than 20 minutes."

Stretcher bearers and medical personnel were providing first aid and calming down wounded personnel who were awaiting further attention.

"I had to act as a casualty with protruding intestines," said Midshipman 2nd Class D'Ana Goodfellow. "They came over to me and helped. They were very good at calming me down and making me feel okay."

Mass casualty drills are developed to improve the crew's ability to move injured personnel from the scene of a casualty to a treatment facility.

"You never know what's going to happen," said Pillitiere. "Life on a carrier is dangerous. Nothing's going to fully prepare us for what you're going to see in an actual disaster, but by practicing and going through the motions, you can become familiar with what needs to be done and in what order."

During TSTA, medical will have at least three mass casualty drills assessed by ATG, as well as several medical response team drills and battle dressing station inspections.

"That's how we improve," said Barron. "We go through and find out what we need to correct, so we can be ready when the real thing goes down."

Ensuring Stennis' crew can effectively respond to any crisis helps the ship remain operational in a wartime environment, fulfilling the needs of America's Maritime Strategy.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn74/.



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