University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus to Participate in Multi-Agency ‘Angel Thunder’ Exercise, Oct. 11

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 (All day)

TUCSON, ARIZ. -- The Level 1 Trauma Center at The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus expects to receive up to 40 mock patients on Oct. 11 as part of the multi-agency Angel Thunder Personnel and Recovery and Rescue Exercise.

The Trauma Center will remain open and ready for real-world patients during the exercise. However, the medical center is advising patients, staff and neighbors to expect increased air traffic and noise around the hospital on Oct. 11.

The mock casualties – all UA ROTC student volunteers -- will be transported to the Trauma Center by ambulance and military helicopter. They will have fake wounds to simulate various injuries sustained in a hypothetical earthquake.

Hospital staff will practice emergency preparedness procedures during the exercise, which is expected to last until early afternoon, said Kathy Knak, corporate emergency preparedness officer for The University of Arizona Medical Center.

As the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Southern Arizona, The University of Arizona Medical Center frequently treats victims of mass-casualty incidents, Knak said. On Tuesday, for example, the Trauma Center received 11 seriously injured patients in 60 minutes as a result of car accidents on I-10 during a dust storm.

“We’re the busiest Trauma Center in the state, but it will be a good test of our emergency preparedness systems for us to triage, treat and find beds for up to 40 injured patients in a single morning. We take these exercises seriously and always learn something valuable,” Knak said.

A variety of federal, state and local agencies are participating in this Fifth Annual Angel Thunder exercise, which is being coordinated by the U.S. Air Force.

“The exercise is designed to provide a safe, realistic and educational event for all players to correct problems now in order to save lives in real-world operations” said Brett Hartnett, Angel Thunder director / technical manager.

Assignment editors please note: Best opportunities for photographing military Pave Hawk helicopters landing on the hospital’s elevated helipad with mock patients are from the top floor of Parking Garage C on Ring Road. Please contact the Office of Public Affairs, (520) 626-7237 for admission to the garage or to schedule interviews with participants in the Angel Thunder exercise.