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PA Air, Army Guard join together for ventilator training

A control panel for a mannequin used during Pennsylvania National Guard ventilator training at the Medical Simulation Training Center, Fort Indiantown Gap, May 6, 2020.

A control panel for a mannequin used during Pennsylvania National Guard ventilator training at the Medical Simulation Training Center, Fort Indiantown Gap, May 6, 2020.

Left to right: Army Spc. Caitlyn Yonkin, combat medic with the medical detachment, Pennsylvania Joint Force Headquarters; Air National Guard Lt. Col. Jared Northrop, pharmacist with the 193rd Special Operations Medical Group Detachment 1; and Army Maj. Brian Walters, physician assistant with the Med. Det., respond to a training scenario at the Medical Simulation Training Center at Fort Indiantown Gap, May 6, 2020.

Left to right: Army Spc. Caitlyn Yonkin, combat medic with the medical detachment, Pennsylvania Joint Force Headquarters; Air National Guard Lt. Col. Jared Northrop, pharmacist with the 193rd Special Operations Medical Group Detachment 1; and Army Maj. Brian Walters, physician assistant with the Med. Det., respond to a training scenario at the Medical Simulation Training Center at Fort Indiantown Gap, May 6, 2020.

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – Soldiers and Airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard joined forces for ventilator training at the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) May 6.

“We were working on our ventilator training today with Colonel (Ryan) Harris, instructing us on how to properly use the ventilators if needed in a situation,” said Maj. Brian Walters, a physician assistant with the Medical Detachment, Pennsylvania Joint Force Headquarters.

After several days of training, the troops were moved to the MSTC for practical scenarios with mannequins; each mannequin controlled by an operator that can change the pulse rate, dilate the eyes, mimic breathing, and more.

“Essentially, we are going through – putting a patient that is going through respiratory distress on a ventilator. The appropriate medication that you would use, the proper settings that you would use for ‘vent,’ packaging people for transport and evacuation. And getting a good team concept down with these members as they work together – and care for a potential sick service member,” said Harris, deputy state air surgeon for the Pennsylvania Joint Force Headquarters.

“Our group made up today was 68 whiskeys, or medics, a couple of [physician assistants], and a couple of docs,” said Spc. Caitlyn Yonkin, combat medic with the Med. Det. The medical professionals were on teams mixing both services to promote the ability to communicate and improve working in a joint environment.

Each scenario ended with a review by Harris. The ventilation training May 6 followed CPR and combat lifesaver training conducted last month.

“So, I think they are doing really well so far,” said Harris. “You know, as we get through this initial part of the training, we are going to continue to ramp it up and make it more difficult – and add to our scenarios.”

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