Texas State Guard Provides Support During Large Scale Disaster Day Exercise

Disaster Day is an annual exercise held every year at The Texas A&M University. It is the largest student led disaster response exercises in the country. The event is geared toward medical students so as to provide them crucial experience and evaluate their performance in responding to a large scale disaster event. Over 800 students, faculty, and military personnel were involved in this large scale exercise.

This years exercise simulated a hurricane that wrecked havoc throughout the facility and left many with injuries. The medical students role was to hit the field, locate casualties, do field assessments of peoples injuries, then transfer them to a nearby field hospital for further diagnosis and treatment. At the field hospitals other medical professionals would be stationed to provide crucial care in the fields of soft issue trauma, head & neck injuries, as well as mental health care.

Soldiers from The 2nd Brigade of The Texas State Guard (State Defense Force), as well as The US Air Force, Texas Army National Guard & Texas Air National Guard were on hand during the event to provide additional medical and leadership support. Other agencies that were involved during the event were The Texas Department of Emergency Management and Saint Joseph Health.

Earlier this month, the Texas A&M University Health Science Center held its annual Disaster Day! The event is geared towards providing medical students with “real-world” emergency experience through a simulated training.
This year, 650 participants volunteered to play the part in the surprise scenario as students engaged in triage, patient care, mental health care, disaster, and more at Disaster City’s Emergency Operations Training Center: tx.ag/23DisasterDay


Guardsmen of 2nd Brigade, Texas State Guard, provided medical and ground search-and-rescue leadership support in the wake of multiple simulated disaster incidents during “Disaster Day”, a mass casualty simulation, at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s Disaster City site, College Station, Texas, March 2, 2023. A total of 10 medical personnel from 1st Battalion partnered with Texas A&M University Health Science Center to provide trained support and leadership to assist the more than 700 students during this student led exercise, the largest of its kind in the nation. This type of exercise allows guardsmen to train in a realistic scenario alongside other agency partners to be better prepared when an emergency occurs. Well done! 2nd Brigade is ad omnia parati, “Ready for Anything!” (Texas State Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Tony Scharp) #duty #honor #texas #teex #TXMilitary #TXSG #txlege #TexansServingTexas


To learn more about the event:

Texas A&M Health Prepares Next Generation Of Emergency Medical Responders

Health profession students participated in the 15th annual Disaster Day simulation at TEEX’s Disaster City training facility.
By Dee Dee Grays, Texas A&M University Health Science Center
MARCH 6, 2023
a group of female students in gloves and scrubs standing over a practice dummy with an oxygen mask on its face. The students are speaking with a man in a military uniform, while a woman in a military uniform writes on a clipboard in the background.
Texas A&M University students participate in Disaster Day on March 3, 2023, in College Station, Texas.

Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


As the world has seen an increase in mass disasters — from the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria to man-made disasters such as the train derailment and chemical spill in Ohio — having health care professionals trained to respond to these emergencies has become even more critical. For 15 years, the Texas A&M University Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health) has been at the forefront of this training with its annual Disaster Day simulation. On Friday, March 3, the student-led event welcomed more than 700 Texas A&M students, over 85 faculty and staff, and countless emergency response professionals to participate in the day-long disaster simulation.


Started by the Texas A&M School of Nursing in 2008, the event has grown from a small group at a local church to nearly 1,000 people orchestrating and taking part in the mass simulation. Today, the event is held at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Disaster City®. Students from Texas A&M schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health, as well as athletic training, psychology and veterinary medicine students and the Corps of Cadets participated in this year’s drill.


“This year marks a milestone in the history of this event. As we celebrate 15 years, we have elevated our efforts to further enrich the student experience, which will ultimately serve patients across the state of Texas,” said Christine Kaunas, executive director for Interprofessional Education & Research at Texas A&M Health. “Not only are students practicing collaboratively to improve patient outcomes and learning critical disaster response skills, but they are doing so while faced with a high level of fidelity to a real event.”


a photo of a student in maroon scrubs kneeling down and speaking with a woman laying on the ground with red makeup on her arms and legs
A student examines the simulated wounds of a patient at Disaster City.

Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


As a student-led event, more than 50 students from Texas A&M work on a planning committee — with guidance from a faculty and staff steering committee — doing everything from organizing student participation and training to creating the case scenarios for the drill.


Each year, a new scenario is selected and kept secret until the day of the event to provide the realism of an unexpected situation. This year’s simulated disaster was a hurricane, and students engaged in triage at the disaster site, patient care at the mock field hospital, mental health care and needs assessment at an evacuation shelter, and disaster management and simulation oversight at Disaster City’s Emergency Operations Training Center.


During the simulation, students take on the role of patients or providers. Students who participate as patients receive makeup, known as moulage, to mimic injuries based on the current scenario. As the drill begins, patients act out the case that they are assigned, while students acting as physicians and nurses do field assessments, then transfer patients to a field hospital for more diagnosis and treatment. Pharmacy students work with providers to determine the medications needed, and psychology students provide the mental health care required of disaster victims. Athletic training and dentistry students provide specialized care in orthopedic and soft tissue trauma, and head and neck injuries, respectively. Public health students manage the disaster to deploy resources and address outbreaks that occur during disasters.


“Many planning hours are spent by the student planning committee and our faculty and staff steering committee to create Disaster Day. It is so satisfying when all the months of planning come to fruition. We hope students walk away with critical training and skills they will remember the rest of their careers,” said Justin Dugie, student planning director for Disaster Day.


a photo of a large black helicopter flying over trees and a big pile of dirt
As part of this year’s Disaster Day simulation, students assisted with an number of medical airlifts via airplane and helicopter.

Abbey Santoro/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


As the event has grown, so has collaboration with corporations and government agencies, such as H-E-B and the Texas Department of Emergency Management. This year, Texas A&M Health collaborated with St. Joseph Health and the United States Military to enhance the simulation. The United States Air Force 59th Air Medical Wing and Texas Air National Guard 136th Airlift Wing provided medical evacuations by airplane, while St. Joseph Health Air Med 12 facilitated airlifts via a helicopter. Students got a first-person perspective on air evacuations, making the simulation more realistic.


“As we continue to grow events like Disaster Day, we understand the value of working with System and government partners, organizations and companies that can bring real world experiences to our students,” said Dr. Jon Mogford, chief executive officer and senior vice president of Texas A&M Health. “These partnerships not only help enhance and expand our students learning experience, but also help us develop relationships and opportunities for future projects and partnerships.”

Sources: Texas State GuardTexas A&MTexas A&M

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