National Disaster Medical System Exercise - VA Healthcare-VISN 4
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VA Healthcare-VISN 4


National Disaster Medical System Exercise

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Several VISN 4 employees participated in a large-scale training and disaster simulation exercise recently at the 911th Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Base at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The Western Pennsylvania/Northern West Virginia area National Disaster Medical System enacted an emergency response to a terrorist attack at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., including more than 1,000 casualties. The exercise included using working aircraft to practice loading, unloading, and transporting patients.

The team also transferred a group of mock patients to VISN 4's VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System for their staff to practice triaging and admitting casualties of a large-scale emergency.

About the National Disaster Medical System

The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) is a federally coordinated system that assists state and local authorities in dealing with the medical impacts of major emergencies and federally declared disasters including:

  • natural disasters
  • major transportation accidents
  • technological disasters
  • acts of terrorism including weapons of mass destruction events

The NDMS temporarily supplements Federal, Tribal, State and Local capabilities by funding, organizing, training, equipping, deploying and sustaining a specialized and focused range of public health and medical capabilities including:

  • medical response to a disaster area in the form of personnel, teams and individuals, supplies, and equipment
  • patient movement from a disaster site to unaffected areas of the nation
  • definitive medical care at participating hospitals in unaffected areas

The NDMS also provides support to the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical systems in caring for casualties evacuated back to the U.S. from overseas armed conventional conflicts.