Alliance Solutions Group (ASG) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of completing its innovative Medical Emergency Response Capability and Training (MERCAT) platform, first delivered to the United States Air Force in 2008 and completed in 2009. ASG has for long recognized the need to validate emergency plans and procedures, provide hands-on training and conduct realistic exercises that build capacity and capabilities in response to mass casualty incidents. At the time, many believed that developing such a training program was too much of a logistical challenge, and that a 100+ person mass casualty incident would overwhelm smaller medical facilities. Many also relied on the false assumption that patients would be diverted to larger facilities. But realistic planning and analysis demonstrated that even smaller medical facilities would need to stabilize and treat casualties while they awaited transport to definitive care. Nonetheless, the ASG team of medical emergency management professionals designed, developed and delivered a platform that achieved a high watermark in mass casualty incident training and exercises.
Participants in the training and exercise platform noted that the MERCAT exceeded their expectations and provided needed practical experience. One USAF Command Surgeon commented that it helped to, “…neatly incorporate Home Station Medical Response (HSMR) capabilities and procedures into our Medical Treatment Facility’s daily routine… Through ASG’s hard work and perseverance, we have made outstanding progress towards HSMR preparedness!”
MERCAT is unique because it provides targeted training on concept of operations, practical skills and operational coordination among each team within the medical facility, including the triage team, patient treatment teams, security team, and patient decontamination team, among many others. The targeted training lasts for three to four days and is followed by a large-scale disaster exercise designed to test, evaluate, stress and validate each medical teams’ and the medical facilities’ capabilities. This full-scale exercise involves moulaged and coached volunteers who present various injuries and symptoms, which both challenge and teach response teams. After the exercise concludes, the evaluation and results are compiled, analyzed and documented in a formal report so that the medical facility can improve upon their strengths and weaknesses, and be better equipped to handle mass casualty incidents in the future.
This planning, training and exercise platform was so successful that several variants of it continue to this day - often involving complex technical hazards, and multijurisdictional and multi-agency participation. ASG has worked with over 200 hospitals and clinics worldwide to train thousands of medical receivers on Hospital Incident Command System, team responsibilities, mass care skills, medical management of chemical, biological and radiological casualties, crisis decision making and operational coordination.
For more information about ASG’s Hospital Preparedness Program, go to https://www.asg-inc.org/public-sector/public-health-and-medical/ or call 757-223-7233.