Operation Mercy Lift successful

Filed in Announcements by on June 5, 2014

The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) is pleased to report the successful outcome of Operation Mercy Lift held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Follow-on to Operation Safe and Sound held on May 3, 2014, Mercy Lift was the next step in bringing the concept of military support for civil authorities to reality for the Cape and Islands and Massachusetts as a whole.   

 This endeavor is driven by the fact that, in the event of a major mass casualty incident, the Cape and Islands are at risk of having their local public safety and medical capacity rapidly overwhelmed. In certain instances, extraordinary mutual aid measures will be required to render aid and alleviate suffering as quickly as possible. Massachusetts Army National Guard Aviation resources are uniquely positioned to provide lift and Medevac resources.

 The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the Massachusetts Army National Guard and the BCREPC are working cooperatively to test and develop procedures to integrate Massachusetts Army National Guard Aviation in mutual aid plans in times of emergency.

 Operation Mercy Lift unfolded across several venues: Barnstable Municipal Airport, Nantucket Island, Falmouth Hospital and Joint Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It encompassed a full-scale interagency aviation medical response to a simulated plane crash at Nantucket Memorial Airport. The United States Coast Guard, Nantucket Airlines and Boston MedFlight joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard in assessing the integration of multiple aviation assets.

 Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said, “Operation Mercy Lift provided an invaluable opportunity to exercise our air operations plan. Exercises like this build on the strong collaborative relationships between MEMA, the Massachusetts Army National Guard and other local, state, and federal partners and test and improve our response capabilities.”

 Describing the Guard’s role in the exercise, Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard said, “Operation Mercy Lift was a great exercise because it was a multi-agency aerial medical evacuation training mission using civilian as well as military personnel and equipment. It provided us with an excellent opportunity to continue to develop and refine our inter-agency communications and planning strategies.”

 BCREPC Coordinator Sean O’Brien said, “Through the mutual aid system, resources from Barnstable County are available to assist agencies on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The Steamship Authority is a key component of that plan. In a time-sensitive incident, the United States Coast Guard, Boston MedFlight and Nantucket Airlines are part of an existing plan for air support. We are excited about the possibility of including the Massachusetts Army National Guard in our response plans.”

BCREPC Coordinator Sean O’Brien said, “Through the mutual aid system, resources from Barnstable County are available to assist agencies on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The Steamship Authority is a key component of that plan. In a time-sensitive incident, the United States Coast Guard, Boston MedFlight and Nantucket Airlines are part of an existing plan for air support. We are excited about the possibility of including the Massachusetts Army National Guard in our response plans.”

In the photo,  Sandwich firefighters and Army National Guard crewmen prepare to move a mock “victim” from a military HH-60M Medevac helicopter to a civilian ambulance.

Mercy Lift Media Release Photo

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