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Self Aid Buddy Care classes continue during COVID

Airman stuffs a fake wound with gauze.

Senior Airman Solomon Cook, 375th Air Mobility Wing, learns how to stop a wound from bleeding during a Self Aid Buddy Care course at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Sept. 21, 2020. During SABC, Airmen learn how to use life-saving equipment such as tourniquets, emergency bandages and nasopharyngeal tubes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Mahoney)

Airmen learn how to use tourniquets.

Airman 1st Class Kendra Zollicoffer and Airman 1st Class Jeanie Rivera, 375th Comptroller Squadron, learn how to use a tourniquet during a Self Aid Buddy Care course at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Sept. 21, 2020. Tourniquets are used to apply pressure to a limb in order to control bleeding. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Mahoney)

Airmen learn how to use a nasopharyngeal tube.

Airmen learn how to use a nasopharyngeal tube during a Self Aid Buddy Care course at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Sept. 21, 2020. A nasopharyngeal tube is used when a person’s airway is blocked and they are unable to breathe on their own. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Mahoney)

Instructor teaches a SABC course.

Master Sgt. Robert Radford, 375th Air Mobility Wing safety superintendent, teaches a Self Aid Buddy Care course at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Sept. 21, 2020. During SABC, students learn airway management, bleeding control, how to handle chest wounds and eye injuries, patient transport and documentation of patient care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Mahoney)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – “Is it safe for you to move them? Are they breathing? How do you stop the bleeding?” asks Master Sgt. Robert Radford, the Self Aid Buddy Care instructor during the installation’s most recent class.

At his cue, several Airman who, working through COVID restrictions, jumped into action to implement the skills they learned just moments before.

Because military members can be deployed to hostile environments or respond to humanitarian missions, they need to be equipped with the skills to perform basic medical care in the field because it may save a life or limb.

They may also use those skills in their everyday lives, and that’s why Radford said it’s part of the reason he wanted to teach SABC.  Earlier in his career, he knew of two other Airman who witnessed a horrible motorcycle accident and used their training to save the lives of the three people involved. 

Now, as a 375th Air Mobility Wing safety superintendent, he said he takes pride in teaching these life-saving techniques.

“The purpose of SABC is to teach our members how they can either perform first aid on themselves or their buddy to preserve eyesight, limbs or life,” said Radford.

Students learn airway management, bleeding control, how to handle chest wounds and eye injuries, patient transport and documentation of patient care. 

“Most of the time when we are put in those types of situations, it is like a light switch,” he said. “So, you think you may have forgotten it, but it’s locked away and becomes available when needed because you trained for that.”

Although COVID-19 operating procedures have impacted the way the course is conducted, Airmen are still able to practice using the life-saving materials, such as tourniquets, emergency bandages and nasopharyngeal tubes, on themselves and an airway management trainer mannequin.

Airman 1st Class Kendra Zollicoffer, 375th Comptroller Squadron, said she was glad to understand the basics of SABC so she could respond appropriately if she needed to use the training while deployed.

“The small part that we do hands-on is still important because, COVID or not, we are still deploying, and we still have to be ready to fill those spots,” Radford added.