By 2nd Lt. Marie Denson
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Schriever Security Forces member’s knowledge of first aid and a willingness to help others became critical on Nov. 15 when they encountered a gun-shot victim.
Airmen Tyler Chason and Emmanuel Valenzuela were dropping a friend off at an apartment complex in Colorado Springs when they heard gun-shots. Airman Chason immediately called 911. While he was on the phone with the dispatcher he saw two men run past him, jump into a waiting car and drive off. Seconds later, the Airmen saw a man stumbling down the street.
“We immediately went over to him,” said Airman Chason. “He told us he’d been shot. My first thought was — let’s get him some help.”
Airman Valenzuela introduced himself to the wounded man and informed him that they were in the military and they wanted to help. The man, a Fort Carson Soldier, said he had just come back from Iraq.
“He was obviously in shock, so I was trying to calm him down,” said Airman Valenzuela. “I didn’t want to turn my head and leave him until the police got there. We’ve been training for this kind of thing; we might as well take advantage of it.”
Calling on their self aid buddy care skills, the Airmen began applying pressure to the wounds on the soldier’s leg and rib cage to control the bleeding. They continued to treat the victim until emergency medical technicians arrived. Once EMTs were on scene they took over and transported the victim to a medical facility while Airmen Chason and Valenzuela spoke with police.
According to local news reports the victim is in stable condition and is expected to live.
Airman Valenzuela figures he acted on pure instinct, but only because his training allowed him to do so.
SABC is used to provide basic life and limb-saving training, enabling wounded or injured persons to survive until medical personnel are available to continue care. It is taught initially when you enter active duty and typically refresher training is every 24 months.
“This confirmed that I can handle this (type of situation),” Airman Valenzuela said. “(Faced with a similar scenario in the future), I know my subconscious will take over and my training will kick in.”
Airman Chason agreed.
“When I was taught to do SABC, I never thought I would have to use that training off duty,” he said. “You think that you would use it in the worst case scenario while you were deployed. Self aid buddy care is as useful here as it is anywhere else. I’m not a paramedic but I couldn’t let someone be in pain and I knew what to do.”
Both Airmen are slotted to deploy in 2011. They feel this experience showed them their training has paid off and will help them during their deployments.
“People need to realize that SABC training could help save someone’s life outside of combat. It’s not just for when you deploy,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Johnson, 50th Space Wing Self Aid Buddy Care instructor.
“It’s good to know basic life saving skills,” added Airman Chason. “It’s something everyone should learn because you never know — the unexpected happens.”