Virginia Air Guard’s medical team soars at CERFP assessment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Johnisa B. Roberts
  • 192nd FW Public Affairs
More than 45 Airmen assigned to the Virginia Air National Guard 192nd Fighter Wing Medical Group participated in a six-day external evaluation that tested their Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) skills, May 11-16 at the Virginia Beach Fire and EMS Training Center here.

During the evaluation, which occurs every three years, civilian volunteers acted as injured citizens for military personnel to rescue, decontaminate, evaluate and provide necessary medical treatment, using the medical triage system, before transporting them to medical facilities.

The 192nd MDG worked with members from the Virginia Army National Guard's 276th Battalion, the designated force provider, to perform medical triage by taking patients out of decontamination area and examining them to determine how they should be medically treated.

This CERFP team passed with 16 out of 16 in each section of the ExEval, and received excellent feedback from their inspectors. Their commendations focused on the team's innovative footprint for processing patients and its collaboration with the Virginia Air National Guard's Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC), a new team added to provide the necessary tools for communication. This was the first time the Medical Group worked with the JISCC collectively, and the addition proved to be beneficial.

The JISCC really benefited the Command and Control (C2) section of the medical triage, said Master Sgt. Leon Joyal, 192nd MDG Medical Logistics. The 192nd MDG was not able to use communication equipment from the mobile command trailer like in the past, so all Wi-Fi and computer support had to come from the JISCC.

"In the past we've used MiFi and a satellite paid out of our budget, so to have another element support this in a quick manner was really good," said Maj. Kelly Niedzwiecki, 192nd MDG Medical Planning and Operations. "The JISCC was a benefit to the [Evacuee Tracking and Accountability System (ETAS)] because it allowed us to pick up any information they would put into the system near real-time."

According to Maj. William Bolling, 192nd MDG director of operations, the JISCC received a "benchmark" for their communications plan since they are a fairly new function in terms of its interaction with CERFP units. A "benchmark" is a term used to describe a plan that the National Guard Bureau can use and share with other units.

In addition to the commendations of the JISCC performance, the CERFP team was recognized for their new "footprint" system for the set up of patient flow in the medical triage. Maj. Zachary Hoffman, a 192nd MDG flight doctor, implemented the process which allowed the team to quickly and effectively get patients through the medical tents.

"The footprint was really good because we were able to increase our through-put numbers and didn't have a whole lot of people clogging up our emergency room areas," said Joyal. "It allowed people who required minimal care to bypass the emergency department, and not hinder patient flow."

The team received great feedback for this process with NGB labeling it as a "best practice," according to Niedzwiecki. The footprint benefited the ETAS in a huge way.

"Accountability of our CERFP members and any of the victims is a huge role on the footprint and in the C2; With this new footprint we were able to successfully do something that other states have not done," she said. "We've received positive feedback and I think other CERFPs may start to use it in the future."

Overall, the medical and communications teams excelled in their evaluations by receiving a grade of "trained" in every inspection area. According to Joyal and Niedzwiecki, the performance of the medical element in this CERFP was excellent and the process was definitely the most efficient of any other CERFP ExEvals conducted by the Virginia ANG.