JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Three members from the 433rd Airlift Wing's Maintenance
Squadron took part in an annual fuel extraction exercise Dec. 17 here.
Airmen are graded on
extraction protocol, execution time, and safety. The scenario begins when a bull horn
simulates an Airman has been rendered incapacitated due to jet fuel inhalation
while inside the wing of C-5A Galaxy aircraft. Once the alarm is sounded, a
call is immediately placed to the dispatch office of the 502nd Air Base Wing
emergency services. As the call goes
out, the remaining two Airmen begin the extraction.
Senior Airman Joseph
Hargrave, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems technician, is hoisted through a
small hole beneath the aircraft's wing. Once inside, Hargrave makes contact
with the downed Airman - a manikin.
"Using an actual
person is not realistic because they will help themselves out of the tank so
it's not actually dead weight," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Rachwitz, 433rd MXS
aircraft fuel systems technician. " It's totally different with a dummy
because we have to actually maneuver the body around to get it out."
Waiting beneath the
wing is Senior Airmen Eric Garcia, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems technician,
it is his job to take hold of the patient and secure him to the gurney. Once
the patient is secured, both Airmen bring the awaiting hydraulic scissor lift
down to the ground to a waiting Rachwitz. From there, Garcia and Rachwitz carry
the litter outside the hanger door to wait for emergency services to arrive.
The Airmen completed
the exercise in a record time, of 3 minutes and 15 seconds. In a real-world
scenario, every second counts. All Aircraft Maintenance personnel are trained
to provide CPR and other basic life saving techniques.
of this training is life and death; people don't realize how dangerous this job
can be," said Master Sgt. Sandra Flores, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems
technician. "If somebody happens to go down in one of these tanks, we are
the first responders for each other, so there is a lot of training involved. We
do this training because we want our people to become proficient, and know what
to do in a real-world situation."