Exercise melds Bosnian-Herzegovinian military, civilian medical communities
The four-day Critical Lifesaving Skills for First Responders course culminated in a mass casualty exercise here June 1.
A team of medical professionals treat a simulated casualty for injuries during a mass casualty exercise to conclude the Critical Life Saving Skills for First Responders course here June 1, 2012. During the course, instructors from the Defense Institute for Medical Operations worked with other countries' medical practitioners attending Shared Resilience 2012 to exchange medical ideas and techniques. More than 500 military members from nine nations are participating in the annual U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff sponsored exercise May 28 - June 8. The goals of the exercise are to strengthen interoperability, facilitate training in crisis response and disaster management, and validate the readiness of deployable military medical and humanitarian assistance teams. The exercise, in the spirit of partnership for peace, directly supports U.S. European Command's theater cooperation efforts and strategy for active security with European countries.
1 photo: A team of medical professionals treat a simulated casualty for injuries during a mass casualty exercise.
Photo 1 of 1: A team of medical professionals treat a simulated casualty for injuries during a mass casualty exercise to conclude the Critical Life Saving Skills for First Responders course here June 1, 2012. During the course, instructors from the Defense Institute for Medical Operations worked with other countries' medical practitioners attending Shared Resilience 2012 to exchange medical ideas and techniques. More than 500 military members from nine nations are participating in the annual U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff sponsored exercise May 28 - June 8. The goals of the exercise are to strengthen interoperability, facilitate training in crisis response and disaster management, and validate the readiness of deployable military medical and humanitarian assistance teams. The exercise, in the spirit of partnership for peace, directly supports U.S. European Command's theater cooperation efforts and strategy for active security with European countries. Download full-resolution version

CAPLJINA, Bosnia and Herzegovina - The four-day Critical Lifesaving Skills for First Responders course culminated in a mass casualty exercise here June 1.

Medical professionals from seven countries attended and graduated the course where they exchanged ideas and techniques for how to care for patients in austere locations after emergency situations.

The course is part of the Defense Institute for Medical Operations mission during Shared Resilience 2012 May 28 - June 8.

"We had the chance to prove our previous knowledge, learn something new and exchange our experiences with other colleagues," said participant Marko Saric, a local physician's assistant and medical instructor. "It is really good to see all the things we learned theoretically [in practice] during today's exercise."

Every country is different, and DIMO instructors tailor courses based on the needs and capabilities of each nation, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Courtney Finkbeiner, DIMO and SR12 course instructor. Each day, the instructors modified how the course operated based on the information gathered from sharing procedures and techniques.

The scenarios in the mass casualty exercise tested the medical community's ability to treat airway difficulties, shock, bleeding, and abdominal and head injuries. Volunteers were prepared beforehand with moulage, or advanced graphic makeup, to add a sense of urgency to the assessments. The civilian and military students used supplies and techniques in a way to replicate how they would assess injuries in a real-world situation.

"The uniqueness about today's course was we also had civilian counterparts from the local community, and they understood in a natural disaster or in an emergency what it would be like with limited supplies if the hospital wasn't right there," Finkbeiner said. "It gave them a whole new perspective and went really far to meld the civilian-military relationships in this local area."

Saric said that he intends to use the information garnered during the course to instruct other medical practitioners throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. The cooperation between the civilian and military medical communities is paramount, and this course smoothed the way for the two entities to work successfully together.

"Everything was good," he said about the joint training. "Especially the smiles on the faces of the people who did a really good job saving lives of the patients that we had."

SR12 continues until June 8 and will test the capabilities of expeditionary medical support skills.

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