Airmen are trained to respond to emergency situations anytime and anywhere. On March 13, two Airmen put that training to use.
Senior Airman Keith Schultz, 56th Maintenance Squadron commander’s support staff airman, and Senior Airman Elizabeth Roman, 56th Communication Squadron infrastructure technician, were driving home after volunteering at the Phoenix International Raceway when they noticed a man lying on the side of the road next to his bicycle.
“We immediately turned around and pulled over to check on him,” Roman said. “At first, we thought he just had too much to drink, but once we got to him we saw he was seriously injured.”
The Airmen tried to communicate with the victim but he was in and out of consciousness.
“I asked if he was all right and he didn’t respond,” Shultz said. “We noticed his eyes were rolled back into his head and he was going into shock so Roman immediately called 9-1-1 and stayed by his side. I left to get help from the sheriffs back directing traffic at the raceway.”
While Shultz was gone, the man regained temporary consciousness and explained what happened.
“He told me a car hit him and then just drove away without checking on him,” Roman said. “We were the first to stop and see if he was okay.”
Every year Airmen renew their self-aid and buddy care certification. SABC teaches them basic life-support and limb-saving techniques to help wounded or injured personnel until medical responders arrive. Roman’s SABC training immediately kicked in and she was able to recognize the man’s symptoms and begin treatment.
“Initially, I wanted to treat him for shock, but I noticed he had a neck injury,” she said. “So, I stayed with him and followed the instructions from 9-1-1 personnel. I was able to keep his vitals intact until emergency responders arrived.”
Just as Schultz returned with the emergency responders, the victim’s shock symptoms started to get worse. The emergency responders quickly took over but Roman still worried for the man’s life.
“I was so scared for him,” she said. “I thought he might die. I also felt angry no one else stopped to help him.”
Thanks to Roman and Shultz’ initiative, the man made it to the hospital where he received treatment for his life-threatening injuries.
“The Air Force trained me for this situation,” said Roman. “I wouldn’t have known how to handle a neck injury or shock without SABC training and proper situational awareness. I’m just happy we were there to help him.”