SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Airmen from the 726th Air Mobility Squadron and the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron conducted a fall protection training exercise, on January 23, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
Exercises like these are important to provide Airmen the skills needed to prevent life threatening injuries, should an Airman fall from an aircraft wing.
“The guys do not do these all the time,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eric Justice, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft hydraulics technician. “For them to be able to actively perform the procedures when required, it helps when the time comes that they are confident in what they are about to do and hopefully save someone who might be unconscious because they slipped and fell. Invaluable training.”
In the event a member has been suspended from his harness there is something that can occur called orthostatic intolerance, otherwise known as suspension trauma.
“The longer a member is suspended from their harness, the more that puts them into a risk factor of life threatening emergency called suspension trauma in about five to six minutes, which restricts the blood flow to the extremities,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Omar Salih, 726th Air Mobility Squadron occupational safety NCOIC.
Exercise organizers were pleased with how quickly the Airmen completed the exercise and noted that the exercise highlighted the importance of being prepared, particularly having aircraft maintenance stands on-site, lifts used by Airmen to access various parts of the aircraft.
“I think the team today did very well, three minutes and 28 seconds, almost cut the time in half,” Justice said. “I can speak from experience, when we are out there, and we have people ready, stands are ready. We do not let anyone up on the wing before we have a stand there.”
In addition to the practical exercise part of the training, the Airmen had other learning requirements included in the training to ensure comprehensive readiness.
“This is training we have to do every 12 months,” Justice said. “There is a computer based training and you have to go over the harness. You have to know all the key points, we try to teach them as often as we can.”
Facilitators organized the training to provide a realistic training environment to ensure Airmen are ready to act in the event of an emergency.
“Although we will be using a dummy, we want our Airmen to have that same intensity and importance of rescuing an Airman if they were to fall off an aircraft,” Salih said. “The most important part is getting our Airmen the realistic training aspect. To provide their wingman the necessary support they would need in the event of an emergency.”