SABC: Not just another Air Force acronym

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Self aid and buddy care is a life-saving skill taught to all Airmen and is a requirement that begins in Basic Military Training. Throughout their careers Airmen will receive refresher training in this important class approximately every two years.

Most of the Airmen at Goodfellow AFB receive the SABC training at Global War on Terror training. A few others may receive the training upon notification of a short-notice deployment or an overseas assignment. Regardless of where or how they get these life-saving skills, the information they receive is critical and has the ability to save lives either in combat or on a day-to-day basis.

Self-aid and buddy care is used to provide initial life-saving treatment, and can extend the time an injured person can survive before being seen by medical personnel. SABC techniques can be used to properly treat abdominal wounds, bleeding, fractures, weather-related injuries such as dehydration and frostbite, and eye, head and neck injuries.

In the field, medical supplies may be limited, but there are several everyday items which can be used to help treat injuries. Towels, sheets, shirts, socks and flight caps can all be used as bandages and dressings. Tree limbs and sticks can be used as splints, and belts can be used to make tourniquets, which are a last resort to save a life.

Airmen should look for signs of shock during and after treatment of the primary injury. Symptoms include confusion, clammy skin, shallow breathing and weak and rapid pulse.
The basic lifesaving steps an Airman uses to treat injuries are known as the ABCs of SABC--airway, breathing, circulation, disability and exposure.
Hopefully most Airmen will never have to put these skills into practice...but if they do, the training they receive form the Air Force will assure them they have the tools necessary to do just that.