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NDMS exercise brings mass of emergency responders to D-M

Firefighters from Golder Ranch Fire District and Tucson Airport Authority Fire Department assemble medical care signs a part of a triage area at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 4, 2014. The triage area was set up in conjunction with a simulated response to a natural disaster on the Gulf Coast requiring patients to be flown to Ariz., to receive treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Firefighters from Golder Ranch Fire District and Tucson Airport Authority Fire Department assemble medical care signs part of a triage area at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 4, 2014. The triage area was set up in conjunction with a simulated response to a natural disaster on the Gulf Coast requiring patients to be flown to Ariz., to receive treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Firefighters from multiple agencies in Tucson, Ariz., construct a triage area in a hangar at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 4, 2014. The triage area is part of a simulated response to a natural disaster involving the partnership of D-M, local emergency response agencies and the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Firefighters from multiple agencies in Tucson, Ariz., construct a triage area in a hangar at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 4, 2014. The triage area is part of a simulated response to a natural disaster involving the partnership of D-M, local emergency response agencies and the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daniel Nored, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical clinic NCO in charge, applies makeup to a simulated victim during a Natural Disaster Medical System exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 5, 2014. NDMS exercises allow D-M to partner with the surrounding medical community and train on full-scale medical evacuations while improving readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daniel Nored, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical clinic NCO in charge, applies makeup to a simulated victim during a Natural Disaster Medical System exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 5, 2014. NDMS exercises allow D-M to partner with the surrounding medical community and train on full-scale medical evacuations while improving readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Paramedics from the Pima County Rural/Metro Fire Department treat a simulated victim during a Natural Disaster Medical System exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 5, 2014. D-M would be the primary patient reception site in southern Arizona in the event of a real-world natural disaster response. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Paramedics from the Pima County Rural/Metro Fire Department treat a simulated victim during a Natural Disaster Medical System exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 5, 2014. D-M would be the primary patient reception site in Southern Arizona in the event of a real-world natural disaster response. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Paramedics from the Pima County Rural/Metro Fire Department load a simulated victim into an ambulance during a Natural Disaster Medical System exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 5, 2014. Pima County Rural/Metro was one of several emergency response agencies that partnered with D-M to simulate a response to a natural disaster occurring on the Gulf Coast. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Paramedics from the Pima County Rural/Metro Fire Department load a simulated victim into an ambulance during a Natural Disaster Medical System exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 5, 2014. Pima County Rural/Metro was one of several emergency response agencies that partnered with D-M to simulate a response to a natural disaster occurring on the Gulf Coast. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- D-M partnered with multiple emergency response agencies from the surrounding community for a National Disaster Medical System exercise that took place here Nov. 5.

The exercise allowed key stakeholders to improve readiness in the event of a real-world natural disaster.

The conditions of the exercise required D-M to be the primary reception site for victims of a simulated natural disaster occurring on the Gulf Coast.

In the event of a natural disaster, emergency response teams would evacuate personnel to D-M, said Tech. Sgt. Crystal Fabian, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management plans and operations NCO in charge. D-M would then provide the avenue to move patients to appropriate hospitals.

The exercise began when more than 50 simulated patients were unloaded from a C-130J Hercules aircraft.

"As soon as the patients leave the aircraft, they are brought to the triage area where they're registered and their medical conditions are evaluated," said Capt. Tamara Turnbull, 355th Aerospace Medical Squadron flight medicine flight commander. "The more urgent conditions need to be moved first, so they would go on any ambulances we have available."

With the involvement of D-M, eight fire departments, six hospitals, and the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System, flawless logistics was the key to achieving success during the exercise.

"Any time you involve multiple agencies, there's always going to be areas that need adjustments," Fabian said. "That's just a matter of bringing so many different agencies together with so many different operating procedures. The exercise went very well concerning the coordination between the agencies and their concerted efforts to make it happen."

Aside from sharpening the collaborative efforts between D-M personnel and emergency response teams across Southern Arizona, Turnbull mentioned how she personally benefitted from the exercise.

"This exercise has allowed me to use all of the skills and experiences I've ever had in my nursing career and bundled them into one where I can be an asset to the team," Turnbull said. "This is what we train for."