Always on the job

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Imagine standing in line at an airport, on your way to a flight, when the unexpected happens. A man collapses, and stops breathing. How would you react?

While waiting in the passport verification line recently at Frankfurt Airport before departing on a mission, a group of Airmen experienced the unthinkable—a civilian collapsed and began to turn blue. The Airmen--Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Klaus, 86th SFS security flight chief; Tech. Sgt. Timothy Leaman, 86th SFS assistant flight chief; Senior Airman Jamal Nasir, 86th SFS patrolman; and Airman 1st Class Cody Harmel, 86th SFS patrolman—sprung into action.

“We immediately assessed the situation and jumped into action,” said Klaus. “I put my hand on his chest and felt his heart stop. I began compressions, Nasir began assisting with respiration, Harmel performed crowd control, and Leaman monitored vitals.”

“It’s hard to understand how effective training is until a scenario like this happens,” said Leaman. “Once you start reacting, your mind goes back to the training and you don’t have to think.”

After the Airmen started to provide life-saving support, German police brought an automated-external defibrillator and contacted emergency responders.

“The individual regained consciousness a number of times, gasped and then lost consciousness again,” said Klaus. “We continued to support for about 30 minutes before medical personnel arrived.”

Upon arrival of emergency responders, the security forces team was expedited through the airport to their flight and continued on with their mission.

“It was extremely rewarding to have had the opportunity to help someone,” said Nasir. “Later on we were notified that the individual was alive and at a hospital.”

The reward is a testament to the success training has on improving Airmen’s abilities, and how much work the defenders put into ensuring they are ready for anything.

“We have to complete 216 hours a year for emergency responder training to include CPR, self-aid buddy care, tactical combat casualty care and more,” said Leaman. “It’s hard to understand how effective training is until a scenario like this happens. Once you start reacting, your mind goes back to the training and you don’t have to think.”
For defenders, being prepared for emergencies is a 24/7 job.

“This is our job as first responders,” said Capt. Anthony Langdon, 86th SFS operations officer. “If we are the first on scene we provide the support people need. We train for these scenarios all the time and instill in our defenders that this is not a nine-to-five job, this is a 24/7, 365.”