Mass casualty scenario at Batchelor air base

The Role 2 Field Hospital and security elements at Batchelor were tested as part of a mass casualty scenario on the 7th of August during Exercise Pitch Black 2018.

Staff were called to attend a simulated vehicle accident, assess and attend to the many patients and transport them back to the hospital for treatment.

In a first for Air Force, one of the vehicles used was a deployed Protected Mobility Vehicle -Ambulance.

Corporal Mitchell Plant from the No.1 Expeditionary Health Squadron, one of the responders to the scene said it proved to be a very useful vehicle.

“I believe it is an important asset because it allows us to move injured personnel from a potentially dangerous area,” Corporal Plant said. 

Batchelor is considered a semi-permissive location in the exercise, meaning security was a concern beyond just the vehicle.

“The first responders to the scene were security forces to secure the area,” Corporal Plant said.

“The firefighters followed to deal with the simulated vehicle accident itself and then the medical element.”

The scenarios at Batchelor were clearly complicated by the austere environment.

Squadron Leader Lisa Martin, Officer in Charge of the deployed AME team, No. 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, said that medical staff need to consider many external factors in austere environments.

“The biggest thing for a Role 2 in an austere environment is hygiene and cleanliness,” Squadron Leader Martin said.

“It is a dusty environment. It is obviously a requirement to keep ourselves clean, look after our patients and make sure our working environment is clean.”

RAAF’s No. 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron’s air transportable field hospital also participated in a number of simulated medical scenarios to train their staff and highlight their capability during the exercise.

The hospital was located at the deployed airhead to support aerospace operations and aeromedical evacuation. The ability to provide healthcare to aircrew and the supporting elements at austere airbases and otherwise is crucial in keeping Air Force on mission.

By LEUT Harley Slatter

For imagery and videos of Exercise Pitch Black 2018 go to the Defence galleries at https://images.defence.gov.au/ and http://video.defence.gov.au