SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
For those who have stared death in the face, survival
often came down to a single moment – and it’s frequently the skill of emergency
responders that made the difference.
Sheppard’s first responders honed these skills Aug. 3,
2016, the 82nd Medical Group and 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire department
trained together to increase interoperability and readiness for real world
emergencies. First responders from the Air Evac Lifeteam Base 34 in Wichita
Falls, Texas, participated as well by training with Airmen and giving a
familiarization tour of the aircraft to enhance their experience.
Air Evac teams respond to life threatening emergencies by
providing swift transportation and expert medical care - sustaining life, limb
and eyesight until they reach a medical facility.
“We can cut the travel time in half, going from ground
transport to air transport,” said Rick Mahan, Air Evac Lifeteam 34 flight
nurse. “It’s about getting the patients to a surgical center or the right
trauma facility within one hour from their accident.”
Chris Whitmus, an Air Evac Lifeteam 34 pilot who
administered the training, agreed saying, “We can get them faster than an
ambulance can … training like this is very important,” he said. “When we come
in to land, we want someone who knows what they’re doing. It makes everything
safer for everyone involved.”
This training is also special because Sheppard will host
its 75th anniversary celebration on Sept. 17-18, and teams will be in-place to
ensure everyone’s safety. In the event an accident should occur, this training
prepares Sheppard Airmen and the Wichita Falls Air Evac team to quickly and
safely transport patients to the hospital with ease.
“We’re all partners,” said David Mounsey, 82nd CES fire
chief. “Since we have a major air show coming up, we’ll have a lot of folks
here with a potential for injuries … this is just another avenue we can use to get
patients to the hospital quicker in the case of an emergency.”
The Air Evac Lifeteam Base 34 is currently the only group
in the local area with the capability to transport patients by aircraft. This
makes training extremely important for Sheppard Airmen and the Wichita Falls
Air Evac team to understand how each other operate during emergencies.
“These are skills
that we need, but skills we hope we don’t use either,” Mounsey added. “The
whole purpose for today’s training I can sum down to one word; preparation.”