Airmen with the 75th Medical Group here are staying mission ready by crewing Hill AFB’s ambulance service alongside firefighters from the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire and Emergency Services Flight.
While on ambulance duty, medics from the group serve a month working 72-hour shifts eating, sleeping, training and responding with Hill F&ES paramedics.
“All of our medical technicians are nationally registered emergency medical technicians and one of our readiness items is that we have to do 40 hours of emergency medicine or intensive care type stuff, but due the fact that we’re an outpatient clinic with no inpatient capabilities, it’s a really big gap in their readiness platform and in their upgrade training,” said Senior Master Sgt. Herndon, 75th Health Care Operations Squadron, senior enlisted leader.
By augmenting the ambulance crew, medics provide the hands-on emergency and pre-hospital care to patients they don’t regularly perform in a clinic environment. It also exposes them to situations they may encounter while deployed.
“We don’t want a young Airman’s first exposure to a critically injured, ill or dying person to be in a deployed environment where they may not have the resources like they do here to help them through it,” said Herndon.
Hill’s paramedics appreciate having additional qualified personnel to crew the ambulance and find the experience beneficial for them as well.
“Having these Airmen here is just as much a benefit for us as it for them because it kind of puts us back into a teaching mode where we are refreshing in our mind while reeducating or familiarizing them with what’s expected of them and doing their job,” said John Price, Hill F&ES paramedic
The program has been in place for four months and it is still being refined to maximize the training and experience value for the medics. For example, serving eight-hour shifts augmenting emergency service agencies in communities surrounding the base has been added to the rotation since its inception.
Organizers of the program are also looking to lengthen the rotation in order to identify and concentrate on training specific to each Airmen’s skills and confidence. Medics in the program have said they welcome a longer duty length.
“It’s great to do this and see all of our skills really come to fruition and see we actually are competent, and we actually do know what we’ve been trained to do.” said Senior Airman Jacob Tyner, 75th Medical Group.
“This program is awesome, and I would do it again. I hope it becomes a permanent duty.”
Hill’s ambulance service is the only on-base transport operated by firefighters in the Air Force. It is Defense Health approved and provides transport service for more than 25,000 workers and residents with response times of less than half the contracted time.