SAAF protectors complete combat lifesaver course


A pair of protectors from 500 Squadron of the SA Air Force (SAAF) has another skill set in their repertoire following successful completion of the combat lifesaver course.

Captain LD Albern and Corporal N Liphadzi of the Mobile Deployment Wing base (formerly Air Force Base Swartkop) unit are tasked with security services, including VIP protection. They, along with Special Forces operators, Pathfinders and SA Police Service (SAPS) Special Task Forces personnel, were part of a two-week course at the SA Military Service (SAMHS) emergency care health satellite in Bloemfontein.

For the air force junior officer and his non-commissioned unit colleague, the course was further preparation ahead of external deployment, Ad Astra editor Captain Tebogo August reports.

As per South African military doctrine, every deployed section (usually 10 strong) must have a qualified combat lifesaver in its ranks. They are first responders in emergency situations with the primary task of stabilising wounded or injured soldiers ahead of transport to an operations medical post. Training includes haemostatic dressing application and setting up intravenous lines.

Summing up the course’s importance, Liphadzi said: “We don’t wait for medical personnel, we make sure our fellow soldiers are stabilised until they can get proper medical attention. This precision ensures no one is left behind”.

Skills imparted on the course are based on the acronym MARCH. This covers treatment of Massive bleeding, opening Airways, assisting the Respiratory system, assessing Circulation and treating Head injuries.

The SAMHS Bloemfontein training satellite houses a simulation laboratory for basic and advanced life support training. This, Tebogo reports “allows healthcare professionals to better treat patients with emergency medical conditions”.