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NEWS | June 9, 2006

Emergency: No time to lose your head

By Senior Airman Heidi Davis 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

A trip to the emergency room and a visit by the fire department were the highlights of my Memorial Day weekend. 

In the midst of a home project, my stepfather cut his hand with his pocketknife. I instantly applied Self Aid, Buddy Care training I had received just a few months ago, as the steps to caring for open wounds echoed in my head. 

I wrapped his hand a dish towel to stop the bleeding, and then applied pressure to the area and held his arm in the air to keep it above his heart. 

Quick thinking prevented my stepfather from losing a large amount of blood and prevented infection from entering the open area. Four stitches and a tetanus shot later, my stepfather is recovering nicely. 

Just when I thought my weekend could not get more exciting … I learned updated safety equipment (and knowing how to use it) could mean the difference between a controlled fire and family panic. 

During a family barbecue, the hose on my grandfather’s extremely old grill came loose sending flames in every direction. 

My grandmother found a fire extinguisher, but it was dust-covered, uncharged and missing the pin. My grandfather found another one in the garage, but because he did not know how to use it properly, he put it back without telling anyone and went for the garden hose. 

While my grandfather kept a continuous spray of water on the fire, my sister called the fire department. 

This was an eye-opening experience for my family and me. I knew what I needed to do to control the fire, but could not, and my family knew they needed a refresher course in fire safety. 

In my four years in the Air Force, the importance of yearly safety training has not meant more than it did this Memorial Day weekend. Now, I understand why the need to train others is so important.