Casualty actors add realism to earthquake-response drill at Navy base in Japan
Stars and Stripes May 19, 2023
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Actors with gory mock injuries co-starred in a three-day drill that simulated a large-magnitude earthquake that inflicted mass casualties at the home of the U.S. 7th Fleet south of Tokyo.
But top billing went to emergency workers from U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, which coordinated the training Wednesday through Friday alongside Navy Region Japan, the American Red Cross, the Japan Self-Defense Forces and other organizations.
The emphasis was on medical treatment and triage, hospital spokesman Gabriel Archer told Stars and Stripes by email a day before the training kicked off.
On Wednesday, hospital executives established an emergency headquarters and coordinated their response, while actors assumed the roles of victims with serious burns and bloody lacerations.
Medical personnel continued training on Thursday, with hospital staff and members of the Air Force's 374th Airlift Wing used helicopters to fly simulated casualties from a seaside helipad to U.S. Army Camp Zama roughly 30 miles away.
The drill tests the hospital staff's response to a major disaster, as well as their ability to work with their American and Japanese partners, Archer told Stars and Stripes by email Tuesday.
“The focus of this exercise is to increase emergency preparedness and to test the ability to respond to large-scale disaster events,” he said.
Other participants included health and risk management company International SOS; the 374th Medical Group and 459th Airlift Squadron from Yokota Air Base; and the BG Crawford F. Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic; and U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Japan from Camp Zama.