U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Firefighters from across the Air Force travelled to the Air Force Academy recently to enhance their Emergency Medical Services skills.
Eighteen students are participating in an accelerated Emergency Medical Technician course, which will qualify them to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians test.
“The purpose of this training is to get consistent, quality EMS throughout the Air Force by certifying members as Emergency Medical Technicians and training our providers on a variety of [more advanced] skills,” said Shawn Ragsdale, EMS program coordinator here.
The training supports an Air Force-wide initiative to ensure all its firefighters are EMT-trained. Most firefighters were trained as Emergency Medical Responders and focused primarily on basic lifesaving skills like CPR; this course builds on that foundation by training on skills like medical terminology, medications and patient extrication.
The Academy was selected as training spot due to its instructor knowledge, superior training facilities, and strong ties to local healthcare providers, Ragsdale said. Students in the course will be required to complete 20 clinical hours in off-base healthcare settings.
During a hands-on training session, students like Staff Sgt. George Emery practiced patient extrication in a simulated vehicle accident scenario.
Emery, currently a firefighter at the Academy, said in a vehicle accident firefighters must account for several unknowns. For example, varying vehicle makes and sizes impact the extrication and how the vehicle is fueled requires different mitigation techniques to reduce risks to the accident victims and themselves. Improper extrication could cause unnecessary discomfort or exacerbate spinal injuries sustained in a crash.
“This course has expanded my ability to treat our customers on the scene by giving me a better understanding not just on how to perform skills properly but the different stages of life and how that affects our bodies,” he said. An entire section of the training focuses on serving the elderly and handling infants.
The next hands-on session will test the students’ ability to effectively respond to a mass casualty by triaging multiple patients from a simulated bus crash.