How the Vermont Guard prepares for the worst

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A mass casualty disaster could happen overseas or at home. Our Tyler Dumont takes us along with the National Guard preparing for how they would respond.

The scenarios are all too real. Today's simulation: a vehicle IED that exploded in a marketplace.

"We're going to have patients laid out across the field and you're going to see the aircrafts come in. The medics are going to get out, do a triage," said Sgt. Michael Trombly, an aviation crew chief with the U.S. Army.

It's preparation for a mass casualty incident when more than two people are hurt and a grounded medic feels overwhelmed. They call in Blackhawk medevac helicopters for help.

Reporter Tyler Dumont: In what real-life situation would this occur?
Sgt. Michael Trombly: It could really occur anywhere. We could get called stateside or anywhere overseas.

"If another Irene came in, or something of that nature, it could easily happen here," said Sgt. Derek Laferriere of the U.S. Army National Guard.

Guardsmen who participate in the Camp Ethan Allen training are tasked with taking on an acting role of someone seriously hurt. The goal is to make their injuries look real-- smearing fake blood for wounds, applying crushed up banana to look like burns and cut up uniforms to imply lost limbs.

"This is very important, especially for the medics in the back of the helicopter to actually get the experience of treating patients in the scenario where they would treat them if they were to be deployed overseas," Laferriere said.

Everything has to happen quickly. In real life situations, a fast medevac is key and could be the difference between life and death. But working in midair is a challenge, unlike what many of these soldiers face in their civilian lives, including some who are paramedics.