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Vigilant Guard: Utah National Guard saves patients at Colorado medical center 
By Army National Guard Sgt. Bethany Fehringer, Colorado National Guard 
hospital evacuation 

U.S. Army Soldiers from the Utah National Guard transport a mock patient to another hospital due to a notional post-tornado exercise at the North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton, Colo., July 24, 2013, as part of Exercise Vigilant Guard. The exercise is a week-long, multi-state event consisting of scenarios based on wildfires, tornadoes, aircraft accidents, hazardous material response, search and rescue, triage, medevac and other emergency response measures. The training and experience gained from this exercise will provide the Colorado National Guard and supporting government agencies an opportunity to improve cooperation and operational relationships with their local, state, private sector, non-governmental organizations and federal partners. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Bethany Fehringer/RELEASED)

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More Vigilant Guard videos, photos and print stories are available on DVIDS and Flickr.

THORNTON, Colo. — Soldiers from the Utah National Guard came to the aid of the North Suburban Medical Center when a notional tornado struck the medical campus at 2 a.m., July 24, creating the need to evacuate the patients inside.

The scenario is part of a week-long exercise Vigilant Guard, a multi-state, multi-agency, emergency response exercise aimed at training military and civilian organizations to responding to domestic emergencies and catastrophes.

The exercise includes roughly 2,300 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from eight different states, as well as hundreds of civilian medical personnel and first responders.

Utah’s National Guard sent a CERFP [(CBRN-Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Enhanced Response Force Package] to the exercise disaster scene to help search for and recover victims. The team can also provide care, ranging from basic first aid to critical care.  Once patients are stabilized for transportation, they are then evacuated by ambulance or helicopter to other medical facilities.

At this scenario, Guard personnel trained alongside the physicians and nurses of North Metro Medical Center. For many of the medical staff, the exercise is their first encounter with the military.

“I’m really impressed,” said Jordan Shuford, an intensive-care registered nurse. “This is fantastic -- the way it is all laid out, the smoothness and ease that it has worked has been great. I think the cooperation with the National Guard has been wonderful,”

Additionally, the Colorado National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation provided three UH-72 Lakota medevac helicopters transporting patients and emergency supplies.