North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) will participate in the world’s largest, multinational, maritime exercise, known as RIMPAC, this Friday, July 11th.
More than 22 nations participate in RIMPAC, which takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands from June 26 to August 1, 2014. This is only the second time in RIMPAC history that US hospitals have participated in the maritime exercise.
“NHCH will participate in the state-wide exercise, working with other agencies and hospitals to test communication and coordination of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief efforts,” says Jennifer Rabalais, NHCH Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator. In addition, four NHCH employees were chosen, via lottery, to participate in a RIMPAC exercise meant to simulate the evacuation of patients to island hospitals after a hurricane hits the fictitious island nation of Griffon. “The four NHCH employees will fly to Honolulu, where they will be moulaged, the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training Emergency Response Teams and other medical and military personnel, to simulate “injured patients”. After passing through a simulated triage process, the “injured patients” will be transported to NHCH for care via military Blackhawk helicopter.
This year’s RIMPAC exercise is the 24th in the series that began in 1971. Forty-nine surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate. The 22 nations represented include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Participating in RIMPAC will provide us with an opportunity to test the hospital’s ability to handle the simultaneous arrival of multiple trauma casualties, says Rabalais.” “The relationships that are forged at RIMPAC span oceans and years,” says Vice Admiral Kenneth E. Floyd, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet; Commander RIMPAC Exercise via Navy Live, the official blog of the United States Navy. He continued, “ask any veteran of RIMPACs past, and they will tell you that what stands out most in their memory is the chance to work alongside sailors of different navies and ships of different nations, improving their skills and building trust so that when we are called upon to respond to a crisis or disaster, we are ready to respond as a team.”