What happens when a small community is selected to host a national singing competition and disaster strikes? What will they do when their hospitals become overwhelmed? That’s the scenario the civilian MASH unit of the National Disaster Medical System confronted at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, today as they culminate a week-long training event. The mobile hospital unit used the C-D-P as a staging ground for a typical MASH mission. The Disaster Medical Assistance Team of more than 40 members set up their portable medical facility just like they’d do in any community following a disaster. The group set up 8 teams that worked to build an organizational structure to distribute care. The mass casualty scenario is full of things the team wouldn’t normally see. Although members have been deployed to assignments such as: Hurricane Sandy, Joplin, Missiouri, Katrina, and 9/11, the training still helps to provide specialty information for the nurses, doctors, and paramedics that are attending the exercise. The training will help the teams be completely self-sufficient when deployed. The team transports their tents, equipment and food and water supplies on three 24-foot trucks.
Working out of tents that they bring and set up themselves, the team has the same personnel and equipment that any hospital emergency room has. Today’s team members came from over 5 states including New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and Maryland.