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Face of Defense: Airman saves Civilian at Gym

For one airman, a routine workout at the field house here turned into an opportunity to put his life-saving skills to the test. Air Force Airman 1st Class David Robb, a security specialist and emergency medical technician with the 55th Security Forces Squadron, was starting his warm-up lap during his daily workout Nov. 15, when he saw enlisted and civilian gym workers sprinting past him.“I know that usually when they do that it means something is going on, and by the way they were running, it was something serious,” Robb said. “I picked up my pace and ran to the other side of the gym where I noticed there was a man lying on his back with an automatic defibrillator, or AED, attached to him and someone was in the process of doing chest compressions on him.”After Robb identified himself as an emergency medical technician, he asked the person assisting the patient to temporarily stop chest compressions, then assessed the situation and found that the man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing.

‘Step Back … Analyzing’ “I took over chest compressions and had the other gentleman maintain an open airway,” Robb said. “After about 45 seconds of chest compressions the AED said, ‘Step back from patient, analyzing.’”The AED advised a shock.“I continued with chest compressions for 5 to 10 seconds and once the AED was charged we stood back, pressed the button and the AED shocked the man,” Robb said. “I continued to do chest compressions after that for an additional two minutes.”The AED analyzed the patient again and this time no shock was advised.“At that point we did a quick assessment of the patient because he doesn’t need chest compressions anymore,” Robb said. “We checked his wrist for a pulse and he had a good strong pulse. He also started breathing again.”In just a few minutes, Robb helped save a life -- something he had prepared for in his extensive CPR and EMT training.In addition to the CPR training Robb is required to have as a security forces airman, he earned his national EMT certification in January 2015. The certification included specialized training in adult and infant CPR and use of an AED.“I’m coming to the end of my enlistment,” Robb explained. “I’m going to be separating soon and my ultimate goal is to become a firefighter. In order to become a firefighter you have to be a certified EMT.”Robb’s father was a paramedic firefighter in Mesa, Arizona, and like his father, he always desired to help people.

Everyone Should Learn CPR. Robb said that when he’s on duty, he anticipates that things like this event could happen, but to him, rescuing someone during his off-duty time seemed “completely out of the blue.”Robb also noticed something that concerned him.“I noticed there was a large group of people, even when I went over to start doing compressions,” Robb said. “Nobody was really doing anything except for one guy. I don’t know if those people knew CPR, but I also find that people are afraid to do it; they’re afraid to get involved. To me, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; if a person is in cardiac arrest you can’t do any more harm.” He also explained why he thinks people should learn CPR.“The reason it’s so important to me is because you never know when situations like this happen,” Robb said. “They say that the average person in a non-rescue-type profession will at least one time in their life be put in a situation where someone will be required to perform CPR. The last thing I would want is to be in that situation and think, ‘Man, I had the opportunity to take the training, but now I can’t do anything.’ To me that is a scary feeling.”

Air Force Airman 1st Class David Robb, a 55th Security Forces Squadron security specialist and emergency medical technician, was recognized as part of U.S. Strategic Command’s Helping Everyone Recognize Others program at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Nov. 17, 2017. Robb was recognized for performing CPR on a civilian who was in cardiac arrest at the base gym. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Julie R. Matyascik

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