Honing Crisis Skills for Aeromedical Evacuations

Health Services Wing (HSW) conducted a Force Generation activity Exercise Regimen White 19 at RAAF Amberley 11-26 March, the biggest iteration of the exercise yet.
Health Services Wing (HSW) conducted a Force Generation activity Exercise Regimen White 19 at RAAF Amberley 11-26 March, the biggest iteration of the exercise yet.
 
Conducted annually, Exercise Regimen White (Ex RW) has historically been run by 1EHS, consisting of one Role 2 Health Facility being established at RAAF Amberley.
 
For 2019’s Ex RW, HSW brought together the entire Wing for a bigger and better training experience for all its personnel to practice Air Force’s niche health capability – the Aeromedical Evacuation (AME) System.
 
GPCAPT Kathleen Pyne, Officer Commanding HSW, said this was important training for the entire Wing to be a part of, to grow a common skill base across the Wing.
 
“Air Force owns the AME system, it’s our speciality, so it’s essential for all our health personnel to be familiar with the system, including the specialised health support required at an airhead,” she 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 a Role 1 Health Facility, with Aeromedical Evacuation Staging, and the Role 2 Health Facility, with Aeromedical Evacuation Staging, at opposite ends of RAAF Base Amberley to give them the opportunity to practice evacuations by road and by air.
 
Multi-casualty scenarios were conducted with Queensland University of Technology paramedic science students role-playing as patients, adding realism to the conditions they were presenting with.
 
LTCOL Nerida McManus was instrumental in bringing the Exercise together and coordinating the excellent patient scenarios.
 
“Because the students are aware of a wide range of medical conditions, they were able to simulate the symptoms accurately, from coughing to pain to fractures,” GPCAPT Pyne said
 
“They gave our personnel realistic symptoms to work on, so they could then react appropriately to the situation.”
 
Also assisting the training were Queensland Health, who ran further scenarios for HSW.
 
The casualty scenarios were based around a Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) effort, and HSW personnel treated simulated patients with illnesses to wounds, 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 QLD Flood in 2011,” GPCAPT Pyne said.
 
“It’s something we need be able to conduct seamlessly in a real-time situation, so it’s valuable training for our personnel.”
 
1CCS and 65SQN also provided assistance for communications and electricity, including much needed air-conditioning, with temperatures reaching 40.8 degrees.
 
“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 do our jobs without them,” GPCAPT Pyne said.
 
“They’ve integrated with the health staff seamlessly, and we’re appreciative of their efforts.”
 
“It was great to have aircraft, a C17 and C27J, available to conduct necessary training on live airframes."
 
"This provided training for aircrew, regarding our AME requirements, as well as providing much needed patient ‘care in the air’ opportunities."