Monday, June 30, 2008

Marines learn skills to save lives

Cpl. Jessica Aranda

AL ASAD, Iraq (June 14, 2008) – Marines deployed with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) recently became certified lifesavers after completing a class hosted by Navy corpsman here June 13.

The combat lifesaver skills course is designed to train non-medical personnel the basics of emergency care, enabling them to step in and provide assistance to patients and corpsman in a combat environment.

“While conducting combat operations, there could only be one corpsman assigned to an entire unit of Marines,” explained Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Rodrick Jones, the course instructor and corpsman with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3, 3rd MAW (Fwd.) “So when an emergency arises, these combat lifesavers become integral to stabilizing patients and assisting the corpsman.”

During the 40-hour course, instructors teach students enhanced first aid, such as clearing an airway and maintaining breathing and circulation. With hands-on activities, Marines learned how to stop bleeding, start an IV, stabilize patients with spinal injuries and treat heat casualties.

“This course gave me the confidence to help my buddies should any emergency situation arise,” said Cpl. Fabian Reynolds, a communications and navigations radar technician with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4. “I now have a better chance of saving their lives instead of running around frantically wondering what I need to do.” explained Reynolds, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

At the conclusion of the course, Marines had the opportunity to apply all the procedures they learned during a mock-casualty drill. During the drill, students arrived on scene to find simulated patients with unknown injuries. With assistance from instructors, students had to assess injuries and decide how to treat victims based on the care methods they learned during class.

“I am hoping that each student takes away a general knowledge of how to treat injuries,” explained Jones, a native of Gaston, Ala. “Not just emergencies that could happen in Iraq, but emergencies that could occur in the home or in a traffic accident they may happen to arrive at. If they apply what they learned in this course, they could make the difference between life and death for a patient.”

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