PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) conducted its first mass casualty training exercise since becoming a Level II Trauma Center.
The drill began at 5 a.m. Thursday morning and simulated a tornado attack on one of the barracks at Naval Base Portsmouth. The simulation parallels the disastrous 2008 tornado strike in Suffolk.
“Tornadoes don’t wait for you to have your morning coffee,” said Lt. Nicolas Teeman, a clinical nurse specialist and Tidewater EMS emergency manager for NMCP.
The simulation involved ambulances, staff, and actors undergoing a triage situation. No real patients were involved in the training.
Teeman says this drill targets the facility’s response capabilities, specifically under strict time constraints when hospital resources are constrained. This happens often during holiday weekends, which is why this drill was performed shortly after Labor Day.
The simulation included eight patients: seven of the victims were triaged and sent throughout the hospital while one was deceased.
NMCP just became a Level II Trauma Center in August. Teeman says this will allow them to be a greater resource for emergencies in the community.
“We’re a provisional Level II trauma center, what that means is, we can take traumas from out in town pretty much at any given time,” he explained. “That supports the local community and helps us stay ready for the next mission down the road for our military folks and our beneficiaries.”
Beginning operations in 1830, NMCP is the oldest, continuously operating military hospital. The facility is equipped with about 200 beds.
Not only does NMCP provide medical care for veterans, warfighters, and their families, but they’re also known for conducting training for military medical service members. The facility has trained numerous doctors, nurses, Hospital Corpsmen, and other health professionals for both combat operations and public health crises.