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Air Force medics train host nation on emergency response

by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/12/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Airmen deployed to the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group joined with fellow healthcare professionals from the host nation air force for patient transport training Jan. 11.

The doctors, nurses and medical technicians from both countries instructed each other on how to load their different litters and gurneys into their respective emergency vehicles. This was the third time both teams gathered for a group training opportunity.

As partners collocated at the same installation, it's important for both medical teams to understand each other's procedures and equipment, said the chief of flight medicine for the host nation air force.

"We have to exercise and train together because if we ever faced a real life situation, we would respond together," he said. "We can't afford to say 'this is your patient, this is my patient' if there is ever a mass disaster. So, it's very reassuring for both sides to know they have extra help next door."

Both teams of medics brought different styles of ambulances for the training event. The Airmen brought their standard ambulance as well as their new am-bus, a bus retrofitted to hold eight stretchers and seats for other patients should there ever be the need to move several people at once. The host nation airmen showed off their newest ambulance as well as their retrofitted Humvee capable of transporting four patients on litters.

Tech. Sgt. Shane Doxzon, the NCO in charge of medical services, explained the importance of giving preparatory and execution commands when moving people on stretchers.

"As an instructor, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing people you're teaching start applying what they've learned," said the Omaha, Neb., native deployed from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Doxzon and the other Airmen also learned about different pieces of the host nation's equipment, such as a rail system for loading and unloading patients.

"I can absolutely see how that might come in handy," Doxzon said. "I also really liked their gurney, which was something I hadn't seen before. The mechanics of it are different than what we're used to. I'm glad we had the chance to show them our way and learn about how they do business."

As a nurse with the 380th EMDG, Maj. Jackie Killian said the training event was important for both sides so they're able to partner together more efficiently.

"Training takes away a lot of the confusion in a real-world situation," said the Key West, Fla., native deployed from Nellis AFB, Nev. "In the event that we need to respond to a crisis, we want working together to be as seamless as possible. Training gives us confidence in each other, and that's important for fostering relationships. After all, lives are on the line."

The host nation doctor agreed with the major and said he hopes there will be further training opportunities in the future.

"I hope to have more integrated cooperation as we go forward," he said. "The more we work together, the better we'll understand each other. So we have to train together more; it's of primary importance for both our countries."



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