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Military is gearing up for emergency exercises at RIMPAC

Staff Sgt. Derrick R. Peggins, emergency management noncommissioned officer in charge, Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) , simulates a medical supply pick-up at the TAMC mountainside helipad in preparation for the hospital's upcoming mass casualty exercise, July 12, 2018 during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

COL. WAYNE MAROTTO/U.S. ARMY PHOTO

By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: July 12, 2018

HONOLULU, Hawaii (Tribune News Service) — For the military, including Rim of the Pacific exercise participants, there’s a whole lot of emergency, disaster response and mass casualty practice going on this week.

As part of RIMPAC today and Friday, more than 300 volunteers will portray patients from an earthquake and tsunami who will be triaged in mobile hospital units on Ford Island and transported by helicopter, ambulance and ambulance bus to hospitals on six islands.

Twenty-seven Hawaii hospitals are participating, officials said.

“For the first time, all of the acute care hospitals in the state are participating in the RIMPAC (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief practice),” the Navy said in a release.

Realistic wound stage makeup will be used to replicate punctures from glass and metal rods, and broken limbs.

Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management, a federally funded program of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, is coordinating the participation of 27 hospitals from six islands, the Navy said.

The casualties fit into a larger RIMPAC scenario involving the fictional island nation of Griffon, which becomes the focus of partner nation intervention against belligerent forces, according to the Navy.

The task force assigned to respond to the simulated natural disaster is led by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, said Lt. Kara Yingling, a RIMPAC spokeswoman.

Yingling said the exercise is the “premier (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) training event in the world,” with militaries from 10 countries assisting.

Unrelated to RIMPAC, the Hawaii National Guard is conducting an urban search-and-rescue exercise this week with 12 Philippine active duty troops and an equal number of Indonesian forces.

Those troops are working with about 10 unit members with the Hawaii Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear high yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, known as CERFP.

Collapsed structure rescue and high-angle rescue (rappelling) will be practiced today at Kalaeloa.

“This is the first time we are doing this to this extent,” said Hawaii National Guard spokesman Maj. Jeff Hickman, adding that the goal is to build a relationship “because if something does happen, we know each other’s (standard operating procedures).”

Additionally, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii on Wednesday and today is conducting an annual emergency response capabilities test at Fort DeRussy, Fort Shafter Flats and Schofield Barracks for natural or man-made events. The scenario at Fort Shafter Flats includes a simulated bomb detonation, the Army said.

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