Fort Belvoir Community Hospital staff carry an injured man into the hospital facility. The hospital, along with other organizations, participated in the annual exercise in order to test their processes and procedures during an emergency situation.

Fort Belvoir Garrison, in conjunction with Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, will take part in an exercise next week as part of the annual Military District of Washington’s Capital Shield 2019 Exercise.

Capital Shield is an interagency exercise that combines local military and civilian emergency services to improve joint readiness and interoperability between a variety of military and civilian agencies, if an emergency happens, said John Backus, Fort Belvoir DPTMS contingency plans specialist.  The drill also includes Fairfax County personnel and will include mock mass casualties.

“The garrison is extending an invitation to the Fairfax County Emergency Management Team to observe our processes,” Backus said, “which will hopefully lead to future interactions between the Fairfax County Emergency Management and Fort Belvoir Garrison teams.

Garrison’s participation in Capital Shield this year is Sept. 5, 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Belvoir Golf Club and the hospital campus.

According to Backus, the exercise on Belvoir takes place in five stages. “Garrison personnel will start the exercise at the Golf Club at 7:30 a.m.,” he said. “Fort Belvoir Fire Department will conduct cross decontamination, while Belvoir’s Directorate of Emergency Services will perform triage operations and initiate ‘patient’ evacuation. This portion of the overall exercise will run 7:30-7:50 a.m.”

After the initial emergency response is completed at the Golf Club, operations move to Belvoir Hospital. “Fort Belvoir Community Hospital will initiate mass-casualty activities, which will include security operations; continued decontamination; triage; treatment; medical evacuation operations and deployment of the Hospital Incident Command System,” Backus said. The HICS system was developed in the 1980s as a foundation response to emergency events in and around hospitals. The HICS plan is used around the U.S. and internationally, as a way to prepare for emergency and non-emergency situations.

The exercise ends at noon at the hospital campus.