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Evac training to save lives

Force generation activity Exercise Regimen White 19 took place at RAAF Base Amberley from March 11-26 and was the biggest iteration of the exercise yet.

For Regimen White, Health Services Wing (HSW) brought together the entire Wing for a bigger and better training experience to practise Air Force’s niche health capability: the Aeromedical Evacuation (AME) System.

Officer Commanding HSW Group Captain Kathleen Pyne said Regimen White was important training so the entire Wing could develop a common skill-base.

“Air Force owns the AME system, it’s our speciality, so it’s essential for all our health personnel to be familiar with it, including the specialised health support required at an airhead,” Group Captain Pyne said.

“There are things we need to be aware of for patient care while flying, for the safety of the patient and for our own personnel, and this is an excellent opportunity for us.

“It’s also good for our specialist reservists to be part of Regimen White, so they can integrate with our full-time personnel, get familiar with the expeditionary equipment and the entire AME system.”

No. 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron, No. 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron, No. 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Health Operational Conversion Unit set up Role 1 and Role 2 health facilities with AME staging.

These health facilities were positioned at opposite ends of Amberley to give personnel the opportunity to practise evacuations by road and air.

“It’s something we need to be able to conduct seamlessly, in a real-time situation, so it’s valuable training for our personnel.”

Paramedic science students from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) role-played patients, adding realism to the multi-casualty scenarios personnel were presented with.

Group Captain Pyne said QUT students were aware of a wide range of medical conditions, so they were able to simulate the symptoms accurately, from coughing and pain to fractures.

“They gave our personnel realistic symptoms to work on, so they could react appropriately to the situation,” she said.

Lieutenant Colonel Nerida McManus, of Joint Health Command, was instrumental in bringing the exercise together and coordinating the patient scenarios.

Queensland Health also assisted with the training exercise by running further scenarios for HSW.

The casualty scenarios were based around a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort, and HSW personnel treated simulated patients just like they might in a disaster situation.

“Realistically, this is the kind of situation we’d be going into, such as the evacuation of Bundaberg Base Hospital during the Queensland floods in 2011,” Group Captain Pyne said.

“It’s something we need to be able to conduct seamlessly, in a real-time situation, so it’s valuable training for our personnel.”

No. 1 Combat Communication Squadron and No. 65 Squadron also provided assistance for communications and electricity, including air-conditioning.

“Regimen White has given us the chance to work with some of the other Combat Support Group capabilities, and in this case, we couldn’t have done our jobs without them,” Group Captain Pyne said.

“They integrated with the health staff seamlessly, and we’re appreciative of their efforts.

“It was also great to have aircraft, a C-17A Globemaster and C-27J Spartan, available to conduct necessary training on live airframes.

“This provided training for aircrew, regarding our AME requirements, as well as much-needed patient ‘care in the air’ opportunities.”

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