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

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Nagle
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
It's a normal afternoon as three Airmen drive toward the dormitories from the gym, until one Airman looks to their left and sees a man in trouble.

He is having a seizure.

The Airmen pull over and rush to the man's side, instantly going into lifesaving mode.

Images of lifesaving methods and techniques from trainers pass through their heads. Their U.S. Air Force Self-Aid and Buddy Care (SABC) training kicks in, which is used to prepare Airmen to handle minor to life-threatening injuries that could mean the difference between life and death.

One Airman calls an ambulance, while the other two tend to the man. They do their initial check of the scene, scanning for blood, looking for objects that could further injure the man and securing the area.

"Scene clear."

They continue work on the seizing man who is now foaming from the mouth.

They turn him on his side and hold him there as he slowly comes out of the seizure. The Airmen start asking him questions, trying to get him to respond.

The man was unresponsive, but still breathing.

Like these Airmen, Service members get their first taste of SABC while still 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 the situation. After initial training, Airmen are required to complete annual or pre-deployment training.

"I truly believe that 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."

As the Airman who called the ambulance gets off the phone he informs one of the other Airmen, "Help is on the way." All three continue to tend to the man, who has then stopped convulsing, but remains unresponsive.

While many Airmen may not ever 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.

"[The 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 as many details as they could get, 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.
After a short silence, one Airman asked, "What would we have done if we had not been trained?"

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

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

For more information, contact your local SABC instructor and/or Medical Group for class dates and times.