Coast Guard to play role in Cape Cod disaster drill

SANDWICH, Mass. – A Cape Cod-based Coast Guard team is set to engage in a full-scale hurricane response drill at the Massachusetts Military Reservation here Saturday.

The federal and state sponsored drill, held annually, is designed to prepare and train state and local authorities in effective emergency management and patient care.

During a mock mass-casualty scenario, in which Cape Cod is hit by a major hurricane, personnel from the Coast Guard Kaehler Memorial Medical Clinic, specifically trained for in-flight medical care, will train attendees on aero-medical care, evacuations and mass casualty response.

Along with aircrews from Air Station Cape Cod, the medics will conduct a session in the air station hangar. There, responders will be taken through a Coast Guard rescue helicopter and jet, and trained in emergency air transport and aircraft safety.

“When there is a natural disaster, the Coast Guard is going to respond in one way or another,” said Lt. Wayne O’Donnell, a helicopter pilot at Air Station Cape Cod. “When we do, we need to know how to work with our various local, state and federal responders and operation centers to make sure we are all on the same page, and that all of our standards ensure the best quality of care to the people we help.”

He said the preparation exercise is held in the spring, in anticipation of Cape Cod’s high summer tourist population, which coincides with the peak of hurricane season.

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