Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii --
Unless you are deployed to a hostile environment, some required training may seem like just another requisite that you'll never use...until you actually have to use it.
Two Hawaii Air National Guard Airmen recently employed their cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training when an off-base lunch with co-workers turned into an emergency, medical situation.
"It was so random." said Staff Sgt. Sandra Magsino. "You just never know when CPR skills are going to be put to use."
Magsino, a health systems technician with the 154th Medical Group, was eating lunch at an off-base location when she heard a woman repetitively yelling out a name.
"I could tell by her tone that something was wrong. I asked her if everything was okay and she indicated that her sister-in-law was in distress," said Magsino.
Jumping into action, Magsino quickly assessed the victim. She learned that the victim had just received a dialysis treatment and had become unresponsive. Magsino checked the woman's carotid artery and felt no pulse so she knew that she needed to immediately begin CPR.
"I yelled out to the restaurant staff to call 911 and asked if they had an AED [automated external defibrillator] and breathing mask." Emergency responders were summoned but the eating establishment did not have an AED or mask on hand.
While CPR is not a required skill of all Airmen some duties and career fields require the certification. Ironically, Staff Sgt. Magsino is a training site CPR faculty manager and the lead instructor for fifteen CPR instructors in the 154th Wing.
"I had just recently taught a CPR class and I remembered that I had a breathing mask in my purse," said Magsino.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Sabog, her lunchtime companion and a health systems technician with the 154th Wing, was also there. Quickly after grabbing the mask from her purse, Magsino and Sabog got the woman positioned onto the floor and started to preform CPR.
"I stayed back while Staff Sgt. Magsino got all of the medical history and assessed the victim," said Sabog, who assisted with the chest compressions while Magsino worked with the breathing mask.
"Certification in CPR is a requirement in our drill status Aerospace Medical Technician career field," said Sabog. "This was the first time that I used the skill outside of a hospital setting. While in technical school at Travis Air Force Base I performed CPR on a cardiac arrest victim in the intensive care unit. Like that incident, everything happened so quickly and I just reacted to do what I could to help."
The ambulance arrived quickly and EMT took over for the two Airmen. The woman was taken to an area hospital and Sergeants Sabog and Magsino calmed the family member down before she left the restaurant to make her way to the hospital.
The final condition of the victim is unknown.
"You don't think that you're going to be doing a life-saving skill when you head out to grab a bite to eat. You just never know." said Magsino.
Both Airmen agreed that having the training gave them the ability to act in such an unexpected situation.
The 154th Wing recently purchased 14 AEDs that will be available at high-risk work areas and geographically separated units according to 2nd Lt. Curtis Palmer, 154th medical administration officer. "Our Wing CPR program is always looking for additional instructors," said Palmer. "We are proud of Sergeants Magsino and Sabog for their quick reactions and willingness to use their National Guard skills to help out in the community."