Total Force Simulation Lab trains medical techinicians

Mr. James Norbech Medical Training Manager, 6th Medical Group, explains how the new medical lab will train technicians and provide cost savings, to Col. April Vogel, commander 6th Air Mobility Wing and Col. Michael Remualdo commander 927th Air Refueling Wing, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 9, 2018. The medical simulation lab offers educational trauma training on simulated combat injuries on smart mannequins. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Adam C. Borgman)

Col April Vogel (left), commander, Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Sparks, command chief of the 6th Air Mobility Wing and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Klausutis, command chief of the 927th Air Refueling Wing, apply tourniquets to a simulated double amputee mannequin at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 9, 2018. The medical simulation lab offers smart mannequins with realistic injuries and reactions the technicians might see while treating combat victims. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Adam C. Borgman)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Proficiency for military medical technicians can be difficult and overwhelming to maintain, especially for those who serve as Air Force Reservists.

To ensure training is accomplished in an effective and efficient manner, the MacDill medical simulation lab utilizes innovative technology to provide a realistic environment for training for Citizen Airmen, active duty service members and local and federal agencies.

“We have always been engaged with multiple medical communities," said Master Sgt. James Finley, 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, non-commissioned officer in charge of education and training. "This medical lab is open to not only reserve and active duty service members, we have already trained law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and federal organizations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The biggest benefit to this training is the level of technology,” he said. “Although we are using expensive equipment, the only other level we could use would be a cadaver product, which are one time use and would cost the government many many millions of dollars.’

At first glance, the state-of-the-art mannequin used resembles a military member who was wounded in combat. The mannequin is equipped to offer realistic injuries and reactions the technicians might see while treating combat victims.

While treating the simulated injuries, the medical technicians may be interrupted by the mannequin starting to seize or blood squirting from an amputated limb. Very realistic, this training offers experiences that far exceeds how it was taught in the past.

"This training was formerly given through computer based training and classroom interaction with limited equipment and training aids," said James Norbech, Medical Training Manager, 6th Medical Group. "This program increases the fidelity of the training our service members preparing for real world scenarios."

The MacDill Medical Lab training is vital to keep Airmen proficient but more importantly to sustain the skills required to mitigate casualties on the battlefield.

"The more hands-on practice we get in this lab, the better our skills become," said Finley. “We need to be the best with our medical care, because it literally can be the difference from a member making it home.”