The 144th Sharpens Search and Extraction Skills
By Chief Master Sgt Chris Drudge, 144th Medical Detachement
/ Published September 28, 2021
FRESNO AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. -- In order to maintain required skills and to improve skill sets these trainings are critical. They ensure personnel and equipment are ready to respond to emergencies as they arise, as part of their Defense Support to Civil Authorities mission set.
The Fire Department and Medical Detachment’s search and extraction teams support very similar missions, so the shared training was more cost effective, it gave the teams a more realistic and interoperable experience, and it allowed them to share best practices.
Safety was the number one priority whether it was during the ropes exercises or the concrete breaching scenarios. During the entire exercise, everyone was on guard for any situation that could present dangers outside the norm.
Fire department fire fighters completed numerous exercises to maintain currency and certifications of their skill sets. While polishing those skill, the medical detachment’s search and extraction team received instruction on the proper techniques for each planned scenario of the exercise. The exercises ranged from rappelling down a 60 foot building to using the Jaws of Life to extricate a victim from a crushed car.
“The training was invaluable for our S&E team,” said Staff Sgt. Matt Gibbs, 144th Medical Detachment 1 medic. “Being able to share my knowledge with the other Airmen gives me a sense of satisfaction, knowing what has been learned will save lives when the time comes.”
The exercise was six days long, and it incorporated numerous critical search and extraction skills through varied realistic scenarios. The medical detachment plans to coordinate additional training exercises and scenarios with the fire department to ensure the latest tactics and techniques are used, to improve interoperability, and to conduct cost-effective and efficient trainings with a scope and depth to benefit the Air National Guard emergency responders.