by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Master Sgt. Brian Baker, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron deployed medical team leader, pressed his knee into the common femoral artery – upper thigh — of an Airman.
Sergeant Baker used his left hand to put pressure on the Airman’s right arm and the other hand to open the Airman’s airway. He demonstrated this life-saving technique for a group of 21st Space Wing Airmen Feb. 3 at The Club on Peterson Air Force Base, during a Self Aid Buddy Care refresher course.
“This information is the key to saving a life,” Sergeant Baker told the group.
About 350 Airmen attended a Self Aid Buddy Care course that zeroed in on airway management, bleeding control and patient transportation. Those areas were identified in recent 21st Space Wing Condor Crest exercises as areas for improvement, said Tech. Sgt. Helder Raposo, 21st SW SABC advisor.
The refresher course also focused on new SABC techniques, Sergeant Raposo said. For example, he taught Airmen a new bleeding control technique using combat gauze. In the past, Airmen used a quick clot powder to pour into the wound to stop bleeding. However, the new recommended way is to pack gauze into an open wound, Sergeant Raposo said. Airmen practiced on folded towels.
SABC skills will be among the many capabilities examined during an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection Feb. 27 to March 21. During an ORI, Air Force Space Command inspectors will evaluate the 21st SW’s ability to perform wartime or contingency missions. For example, inspectors will grade initial response, employment, mission support and ability to survive and operate in crisis conditions. The wing was last inspected in April 2009 and earned a “satisfactory” grade.
“If everybody performs like they did today (Feb. 3) we shouldn’t have a problem passing the Self Aid Buddy Care portion of the ORI,” said Sergeant Raposo, who called the group of Airmen enthusiastic and ready to learn.
Typically, there is one medic for every 40 to 50 deployed personnel, Sergeant Baker said. It makes the SABC training important and means that every Airman, no matter what his or her career field, becomes a first responder.
SABC trains Airmen on basic life-support and limb-saving techniques to help wounded or injured Airmen. In the annual SABC course, Airmen learn to recognize and control bleeding, bandaging and splinting. Sergeant Baker teaches some other fast-acting techniques, like using a belt to apply pressure on a limb if there are no tourniquets available.
During a recent deployment downrange, Sergeant Baker’s forward operating base came under attack, he said. Nine U.S. military personnel were shot, he said. Fortunately, because of the fast-acting Airmen, who used their Self Aid Buddy Care techniques of applying pressure and bandaging to wounds, no one died.
“This stuff works,” he told his group.
“I have a beautiful wife and kids at home,” Sergeant Baker said. “If you deploy with me, you better make sure I get home.”