ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Tech. Sgt. Scott Brakefield and his wife had recently moved to Middle Georgia from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, when a leisurely shopping trip turned into a life-saving event.
Brakefield, who joined the 78th Security Forces Squadron in early January, had both hands full of shopping bags when he heard a woman calling out for help for her husband who had sustained an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound while in the bathroom of the local department store.
Equipped with years of self-aid and buddy care training through the Air Force, the technical sergeant quickly jumped into action, checking for an exit wound, assessing any additional bleeding that needed to be addressed, treating for shock, securing and clearing the weapon, and assuring the 911 dispatcher that the situation was under control until the medics would arrive.
Airmen must take a computer-based training course in SABC, followed by a hands-on course, consisting of situation assessment, airway check, checking for bleeding, and other vital steps involved in stabilizing a patient until help arrives.
SABC instructors, trained through the 78th Medical Group, are located in each unit at Robins.
Tech. Sgt. Crissy Sharpe, a physical medicine technician in the 78th Medical Group’s Healthcare Operations Squadron, who is the 78th Air Base Wing Self-Aid and Buddy Care advisor, said SABC is about saving someone’s life and limb until the person can get medical help.
“SABC is where you assess the situation,” she said. “You make sure the scene is safe for yourself, as well as for the patient. You assess their airway, check for bleeding and any other injuries the person may have.”
All Airmen are required to receive SABC training every three years. Additionally, Airmen must complete an SABC course before deploying.
Sharpe said it’s important to commit the SABC steps to memory so that when an emergency arises, the person can properly respond to save a life.
“Sergeant Brakefield’s actions are a prime example of why self-aid and buddy care is important,” she said. “He was able to take action and help this man in need without hesitation.”
Maj. Gen. John C. Flournoy Jr., deputy commander of the Air Force Reserve Command at Robins, presented Brakefield with a coin Feb. 8, for his life-saving actions taken that January day.
“I feel great that I was able to help,” Brakefield said. “I’m happy that I was there because if I wasn’t, it could have gone very differently. It also shows the local community that we are, in fact, well trained, capable of handling stressful situations and always ready to serve.”