East Hawaii News

North Hawaii Community Hospital Participating in RIMPAC

July 9, 2014, 4:48 PM HST
* Updated July 10, 10:31 AM
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North Hawaii Community Hospital has been selected to participate in Rim of the Pacific, officials from the Waimea facility said today.

The hospital will work with other agencies and hospitals to test communication and coordination of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts as part of RIMPAC exercises, Jennifer Rabalais, NHCH’s assistant emergency management coordinator, said in a statement.

Four hospital employees were also chosen to play the role of victims in a training simulation of a hurricane striking the fictitious island nation of Griffon.

The employees selected by lottery will be flown to Honolulu where they will be moulaged, the art of applying mock injuries.

The “injured patients” will pass through a simulated triage process before being transported by military Blackhawk helicopters back to North Hawaii Community Hospital.

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“Participating in RIMPAC will provide us with an opportunity to test the hospital’s ability to handle the simultaneous arrival of multiple trauma casualties,” Rabalais said.

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Officials said this is only the second time in RIMPAC history that US hospitals have taken part.

According to a press release from the Third Fleet, the purpose of the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise is to cultivate greater interaction and cooperation between military and civilian interests.

RIMPAC personnel planning humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises. US Navy photo.

RIMPAC personnel planning humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises. US Navy photo.

“What we are trying to do is bring together a coalition so disaster relief efforts are better coordinated,” said Cmdr. Eddie Yandoc, a planner with the Third Fleet. “The goal is to have a better understanding of what assets are available and how best to employ them.”

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Described as the world’s largest international maritime military exercise, Rim of the Pacific runs from June 26 to Aug. 1.

This is the 24th edition of RIMPAC which has been held biennially since 1971.

Twenty-two nations are taking part in the current event which involves 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.

“The relationships that are forged at RIMPAC span oceans and years,” Vice Admiral Kenneth E. Floyd, commander of the US Third Fleet, said in the statement.

“Ask any veteran of RIMPACs past, and they will tell you that what stands out most in their memory is the chance to work alongside sailors of different navies and ships of different nations, improving their skills and building trust so that when we are called upon to respond to a crisis or disaster, we are ready to respond as a team,” Floyd said.

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