Transport exercise in high bio-containment

(To Marina Militare)
21/04/20

In the context of maintaining the operational capabilities of the Naval Squad, the frigates Alpine e Martinengo they carried out a training activity in the Ionian Sea. The activity is preparatory to a forthcoming employment to guarantee our national interests, which must also be protected at this time, in which almost everything has stopped due to the emergency in progress.

On Friday 10 April, during the activity, with the naval units off the eastern coast of Sicily, an activation exercise was carried out to activate the integrated device of the Italian Navy and the Military Corps of the Italian Red Cross for the transport of patients in bio -containment, located at the Helicopter Station of the Navy of Catania. This device, kept constantly ready for 2 hours to meet the specific transport needs of patients with infectious pathologies, consists of a fixed bio-containment chamber for the treatment of the patient on the ground, a SH-101A helicopter of the 3rd Helicopters Group, normally employed as a maritime patrol boat and for this purpose equipped with an ISOARK N-36 stretcher, flight crews and medical teams equipped and highly specialized for this activity.

At 09.00 the alarm goes off on board the ship Martinengo sailing off the eastern coast of Sicily following the worsening health conditions of a soldier with suspected viral pathology. After a quick medical consultation between the on-board doctor and the Head of the Naval Squad Head of Health (CINCNAV), the rapid medical evacuation of the military was decided. Through the COMFORAER MACA (Maritime Air Control Authority) the scramble arrives at the COCAb (Base Aircraft Control Operations Center) of Catania and the complex organizational machine is activated which involves more than 40 soldiers from the Helicopter Station and the Flight Group. After about 1 hour and 50 minutes from the request, the SH-101A helicopter takes off to reach Nave Martinengo where it lands after about 30 minutes of flight.

On board the ship, the health teams cooperate to arrange the military to be evacuated inside the ISOARK stretcher respecting a rigorous safety protocol to avoid possible contamination of the environment and people. At the end of the procedure, the helicopter retrieves the stretcher to return to Catania where the exercise ends with the simulation of the military's medical treatment inside the fixed bio-containment chamber of the Italian Red Cross Military Corps and the contextual decontamination of the helicopter and the teams that carried out the evacuation operation.

The activity made it possible to verify the predispositions, procedures and reaction times, in a maritime scenario involving Ship Martinengo, of a device of high operational value which recently, in relation to the national emergency, has been made available for Civil Protection in support of the Health Service.

The flexibility of the air component of the Navy, together with the possibility of operating on board naval units equipped with a flight deck, the training of flight crews, the characteristics of the aircraft supplied and the arrangement of naval and air bases on the national territory of the Navy, unique capabilities in the panorama of national defense, allow our Helicopters to be able to intervene on the high seas, along the coast of the Peninsula or wherever there is a need in the country for the protection of human life in all conditions of use.