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NEWS | Oct. 22, 2013

Preserve life, limb and eyesight: Self-Aid and Buddy Care

By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Nagle 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

It was a normal afternoon as three U.S. Air Force Airmen drove toward the dormitories from the gym, until one Airman looked to his left and saw a man in trouble.
He was having a seizure.

The Airmen pulled over and rushed to the man's side, instantly providing aid.

Images of lifesaving methods and techniques from trainers passed through the Airmen's heads. Their Self-Aid and Buddy Care (SABC) training kicked in, which is used to prepare Airmen to handle life-threatening injuries.

One Airman called an ambulance, while the other two tended to the man. They did their initial check of the scene, scanning for blood, looking for objects that could further injure the man and secured the area.

"Scene clear," one Airman said.

They continued work on the seizing man who was foaming from the mouth.

They turned him on his side and held him there as he slowly came out of the seizure. The Airmen started asking him questions, testing his awareness.
The man was unresponsive, but still breathing.

Like these Airmen, Service members get their first taste of SABC while in Basic Military Training. After graduating, Airmen continue hands-on training on everything from applying a tourniquet to learning proper bandaging techniques. Part of the training while in BMT is to learn how to keep calm in an emergency situation. After initial training, Airmen are required to complete annual or pre-deployment training.

"I truly believe this training is helpful," said Airman 1st Class Kaitlynn Privett, 633rd Comptroller Squadron special action technician and SABC instructor. "Without it, we may not be able to respond properly to our wingman's medical needs."

"Help is on the way," said the Airman who called the ambulance.

All three continued to tend to the man, who had stopped convulsing, but remained unresponsive.

While many Airmen may not encounter a situation like this, there is always a chance something similar could happen, said Staff Sgt. Allison Friedley, 633rd Medical Group education and training division representative.

"[SABC training] is important because you may not always have a medic with you," said Friedley. "It could be the difference between saving or losing a life."

Shortly after the call, first-responders arrived on scene.

The first responders asked the Airmen for details, then thanked them for taking care of the man before they arrived.

"Without training, a simple injury can escalate to something worse," said Friedley.

After the Airmen gave their statements to the police officers, they drove back towards the dorms.

"What would we have done if we had not been trained?" one Airman asked after a short silence.

Luckily, those Airmen won't need to know that answer thanks to SABC.

"If the time comes you have to use the skills an SABC instructor has taught you, it will hopefully just come naturally," said Privett. "You could help save somebody's life."

The 633rd Medical Group Education and Training Center holds SABC classes at 2 p.m. every Friday .

For more information, call 764-6770 or ask your squadron's SABC instructor.