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Firemen, Marines, Corpsmen and Protected Health Information Air Medical members prepare the wounded role player for aerial transportation to a hospital, during a training exercise at Camp Goettge aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on Nov. 19, 2013. The exercise is conducted to help the Firemen, Marines and Corpsmen prepare for emergency situations.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cuong Le

Firefighters conduct explosive demonstration at Camp Goettge

27 Nov 2013 | Lance Cpl. Cuong Le

Firefighters and Marines to part in a Goettge Drill at Camp Goettge aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on Nov. 19, 2013, to better prepare themselves in case of emergency.

The firefighters received an emergency call 9:15 a.m., from there they made their way to Camp Goettge where a simulated explosion had taken place. Upon arrival Skip Hardesty, captian, Fire Station 533, took command of the scene and distributed the work load to his firefighters. The firefighters immediately conducted a triage on the four injured Marines.

 “This is a very effective drill, because it provides us and the Marines with a real life scenario,” said John Sickel, a firefighter with, Fire Station 533 aboard Quantico. “This is definitely something that we should continue, because it is very effective for both groups.”

The Marines suffered from exploded ordnance, during a room clearing exercise conducted with high explosives at Camp Goettge. The Marines were separated into four categories: red for the seriously injured, yellow for the wounded, green for the minor injuries and worst case scenario black for death.  There was one red, two yellows and one green.

 “When we showed up the patients were already packaged, so we just had to triage and mark the patients,” said Sickel. “That is the reason we conduct this training every year, because then both [Marines and firefighters will know what they can expect when they arrive.”

The fire station has conducted similar training for the past 17 years, but due to an incident that took place in 2009, the realism and conduction of the drill has increased.

According to Chris Payne a firefighter/paramedic with Fire Station 533the reason for their training is to prepare everyone for the worst case scenario.

“In 2009, the Marines at Camp Goettge had an accident involving high explosives and the conditions the firefighters had to work with were all, but undesired,” said Payne.

To make things more realistic a helicopter was flown in by Protected Health Information Air Medical personnel to evacuate the Marine in the red category.

“We maintained good radio contact with our dispatch, so we were able to call for the helicopter as soon as we found out the condition of the Marines,” said Skip Hardesty, captain, Fire station 533. “The helicopter is a community tool and we needed to be sure before calling it.”

The Marines and firefighters gathered after the demonstration to compare note, as to how they could improve the reaction of both parties. Although, both sides came to the scenario prepared, they struggle at the beginning trying to figure out the names of the injured Marines. With the Marines and Firefighter using different methods of treatment, it was hard to figure out what needed to be done next.

However, in the end both sides adapted to the situation and overcame the obstacles in front of them.

Correspondent: cuong.le@usmc.mil