Louisiana prepares for hurricane season
By Air Force 1st. Lt. Larissa Lambert, 159th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
BELLE CHASSE, La. – The Louisiana Air National Guard is hosting a joint aeromedical evacuation exercise, Ultimate Caduceus 2015, at the Naval Air Station – Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans, April 16-18.
Ultimate Caduceus 2015 is a joint exercise with Air Mobility Command, U.S. Transportation Command, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Louisiana Emergency Operation Center and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to simulate patient evaluation and evacuation from the New Orleans area, in the event of a major natural disaster.
These agencies work together to ensure safe and timely medical evacuation of hospital patients as part of a pre-hurricane disaster response. Patients are evacuated to hospitals outside the anticipated storm path, where they can to continue to receive the medical care they need.
“Ultimate Caduceus 2015 is essential to ensure the safe evacuation of patients to hospitals outside of the strike zone of hurricanes prior to landfall and to track those patients end to end to ensure their safe return to Louisiana once the danger is gone,” said Lt. Col. Ray Schindler, deputy commander, 159th Mission Support Group.
“The Louisiana National Guard exercises with federal, state and local agencies every year to ensure maximum readiness for any disaster that might threaten the life and property of the citizens of Louisiana,” Schindler said. “Ultimate Caduceus 2015 is another example of this.”
Two Disaster Aeromedical Staging Facilities are set up to receive patients from various local hospitals. Patients transported to the DASF are checked-in using a flight manifest by an administrative specialist. After check-in, the patient is assigned to a DASF for medical evaluation and care. The flight manifest is reviewed again prior to any patient loaded on the C-130 to ensure that all patients are cleared for flight. There is a two hour timeline for patient in-take, evaluation and evacuation.
“Our job is to provide the best care we can here until we can move them to a higher echelon of care,” said Staff Sgt. Deeana Wright, Aerospace Medical Technician
Approximately 140 Active Duty and Air National Guard personnel, representing nine states, are participating in the aeromedical evacuation exercise.