Clear Air Force Station Emergency Responders save the day
By Clear Air Force Station, AK., 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 07, 2018
CLEAR AIR FORCE STATION, Alaska -- At the conclusion of Fire Prevention Week, first responders at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, were called to the test. Clear Air Force Station is a small remote community located in the center of interior Alaska, composed of three squadrons – 13th Space Warning Squadron, 213th Space Warning Squadron, and 268th Security Forces Squadron – where everyone works together day-in and day-out. This station is so remote that the closest grocery store and gas station is 40 miles away.
The emergency medical event that happened Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, is a prime example of Team Clear’s Total Force members working together to include active duty, Alaska Air National Guard, government civilians and contractors. At approximately 0010 hrs, Staff Sgt. William Crowder, while performing duties as the base defense operations controller, received an emergency phone call via 911 for an elderly woman at the Clear Sky Lodge who was being transported to Clear Air Force Station for having difficulty breathing. Crowder immediately notified Siddall Medical Services Clinic and the Clear Fire Department for response and dispatched patrols.
At approximately 12:18 a.m., the installation entry controllers, Staff Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez and Senior Airman Elijah Lockwood noticed a vehicle approaching the installation at a high rate of speed. They met the vehicle as it came to a sudden stop when the driver began yelling for help. Lockwood maintained security while Rodriguez assessed the situation. Once realizing the nature of the situation, without hesitation, Rodriguez and Lockwood took action removing the passenger from the vehicle. They called for Tech. Sgt. Baron Blige, who was located inside of the installation entry control facility.
Rodriguez began CPR on the woman, just as the other passenger in the vehicle identified himself as a first responder and at that point took over the compressions. Blige then repositioned the patient’s head and instructed them to continue compressions until the fire department and the Siddall medics arrived on the scene.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dube and Staff Sgt. Matthew Dunlap were called to assist with the situation. When the fire team and medical services arrived on scene, Dunlap and Dube expedited the response by removing equipment from the emergency medical service vehicle and illuminated the scene so that responding personnel were able to better assess the situation. Dunlap controlled both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, while Dube assisted Seamus Siddall and Brandi McKenzie from the Siddall Clinic with CPR and the AED pads. Siddall and McKenzie rendered additional medical care by attempting to start an unsuccessful IV, and then inserted an intraosseous device to allow the delivery of advanced medications. Remarkably, between the quality CPR, airway intervention and advanced meds, the patient’s pulse returned with some spontaneous respirations even though she remained in an unconscious state.
At 1:25 a.m., the patient was showing solid vital signs and transferred to Clear Air Strip, where LifeMed airlifted her 70 miles north to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Fire Chief Barry Corbin terminated the response. Blige and Crowder maintained command, control and communication of the situation. Blige maintained control on scene, while Crowder relayed information accurately, ensuring all individuals responding had the information they required.
The following night, the patient’s condition improved enough for her to be removed from her medically induced coma and off the respirator. She is able to breathe on her own and talk with family members. This may not have been possible without the quick reaction efforts of all the first responders of Team Clear.