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169th Medical Group holds Mass Casualty Exercise

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kristopher Eiser, a firefighter with the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, assists Christopher Boatwright, the assistant scout master for Troop 95, who is suffering from a simulated injury during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kristopher Eiser, a firefighter with the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, assists Christopher Boatwright, the assistant scout master for Troop 95, who is suffering from a simulated injury during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Lisa Elders tries to calm Tech. Sgt. Jessica Gilbert, a health systems technician with the 169th Medical Group, after a simulated crash during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Lisa Elders tries to calm Tech. Sgt. Jessica Gilbert, a health systems technician with the 169th Medical Group, after a simulated crash during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Lisa Elders and Airman 1st Class Kristopher Eiser, both firefighters for the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, roll Christopher Boatwright, the assistant scout master for Troop 95, onto a stretcher during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Lisa Elders and Airman 1st Class Kristopher Eiser, both firefighters for the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, roll Christopher Boatwright, the assistant scout master for Troop 95, onto a stretcher during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zechariah Palmisano, an aerospace medic with the 169th Medical Group, applies gauze to a simulated patient during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zechariah Palmisano, an aerospace medic with the 169th Medical Group, applies gauze to a simulated patient during a mass casualty exercise at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., June 18, 2015. McEntire Joint National Guard Base simulated a vehicle collision on base to offer personnel real-world training should an event ever occur in a real world capacity. (South Carolina Air National Guard photo by Amn Megan Floyd/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- The 169th Medical Group performed a mass casualty exercise that simulated a collision involving a pick-up truck and a civilian bus transporting a local Boy Scout troop while on base, June 18, 2015. 

Valuable hands-on training such as this is necessary to prepare first-response teams should their services be needed during a real-world event when peoples' lives are depending upon them.

"It was a very realistic scenario," said U.S. Air Force Col. Kim Joye, commander of the 169th Medical Group. "We have the Boy Scouts over at the pond, and we have civilian groups coming out here all the time."

Local Boy Scout Troop 95 volunteered as casualties during the event to test the skills of medical personnel and first-response teams.

"Our troops have a long standing relationship with the base," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Glen Boatwright and the scout master for Troop 95 based out of Irmo. "I saw it as a neat opportunity for them to get involved in the mass casualty exercise and to learn some first-aid skills."

While the 169th Medical Group personnel were treating patients, other organizations on base were getting involved.

The firefighters rushed to the scene to help extract patients from the vehicles involved in the simulated accident. The patients were then transported to the triage tent nearby, where they were assessed and treated according to the severity of their injuries.

"It [the exercise] kind of went a little bit bigger than we expected," said Joye. "People took advantage of the opportunity. The Fire Department had their -jaws of life- out there, and they got through their procedures while Security Forces directed traffic. Exercises are always great, and the training opportunities are invaluable."

The 169th Medical Group team effectively treated 32 simulated casualties, ranging from brain injuries to burn trauma.

"Because we're not a medical facility, and we certainly aren't certified as a treatment facility. It was amazing the type of care we could provide to those patients, to stabilize them using the basic Self-Aid Buddy Care skills," said Joye.

Because the scenario wasn't being inspected, exercise participants were able to work at a pace that afforded time for them to ask questions and receive teaching moments while treating their patients.

"It was a win-win event, all the way around," said Joye.