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NMCCL Stories

News | Feb. 3, 2022

'Bloodnado 2022' exercise prepares blood bank staff for natural disaster response

By Petty Officer Second Class Michael Molina

CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina - Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s Emergency Management held a disaster preparedness tabletop exercise within the NMCCL Blood Bank to test staff’s ability to continue critical care during natural disasters.

The Blood Bank’s procedures were the subject of emphasis during the drill on February 3, appropriately named “Bloodnado 2022.” The exercise simulated a tornado impacting Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, which resulted in the medical center hypothetically having limited emergency electrical power from generators. The Blood Bank lost power during the simulation and had to relocate equipment to a different location within the medical center to preserve blood for emergency use.

Mark Starnes, NMCCL’s emergency manager, briefed the participants on the purpose and objective of the exercise. According to Starnes, the staff’s ability to transport and utilize blood after destructive incidents is crucial to mission readiness.

“We are preparing the Blood Bank for continuous missions. If they had an incident that would make their laboratory unusable or parts of the hospital unusable,” said Starnes, “they could pick up and move to another section of the medical center to continue the mission in an emergency until we can figure out how to bring the laboratory back to normal or facilitate another laboratory in an outside to continue the mission for us.”

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Matthew Jeffers, NMCCL’s assistant emergency manager, organized the information necessary for the practice scenario.

"If you run a drill and repeat the drill, you gain muscle memory," said Jeffers. "In terms of natural disaster drills, planning and learning from our mistakes- it’s a constant thing. We are planning for active shooters, mass casualties, natural disasters, hurricanes and tornadoes."

After completion of the exercise participants filled out after action comment forms, which serve to provide recommendations on how to improve the medical center’s procedures for the next real-life incident or drill.
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