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NHANG medics, Salvadorans exchange patient extraction best practices

Nelson Alexander Rivas Bueno (right) applies a neck brace as Tech. Sgt. SHawn Theberge instructs a scenario of extracting a patient from a vehicle during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities as Tech. Sgt.Michael Dame looks on June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

Nelson Alexander Rivas Bueno (right) applies a neck brace as Tech. Sgt. SHawn Theberge instructs a scenario of extracting a patient from a vehicle during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities as Tech. Sgt.Michael Dame looks on June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

Nelson Alexander Rivas Bueno, a volunteer member of the Green Cross, demonstarates his best practice to Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

Nelson Alexander Rivas Bueno, a volunteer member of the Green Cross, demonstarates his best practice to Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

N.H. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge offers his experiences as a first responder during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

N.H. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge offers his experiences as a first responder during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

Members of Green Cross, a volunteer civil organization in El Salvador, listen as Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge offers his expereinces as a first responder during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

Members of Green Cross, a volunteer civil organization in El Salvador, listen as Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge offers his expereinces as a first responder during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

N.H. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge exchanges his experiences in extracting a patient who was injured in a vehicle incident during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

N.H. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge exchanges his experiences in extracting a patient who was injured in a vehicle incident during a subject matter expert exchange with members of the Salvadoran Army and other local civil authorities June 27, 2012. Members of the 157th Medical Group are in El Salvador for the exchange as part of the New Hampshire and El Salvador state partnership program. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/RELEASED)

SAN JUAN OPICO, El Salvador -- New Hampshire Air National Guard medics continued its three-day exchange with local civil authorities here by providing hands on demonstrations of equipment critical to the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) mission June 27.

More than twenty members of the Center of Training Peace Operations (CEOPAZ), an El Salvador Army unit responsible for search and rescue operations attended with members of Green Cross, an all-volunteer civil organization, local firefighters and Commandos De Salvamento.

Led by Capt. Rex Rubin, a search and extraction operations manager for CERFP, as well as team members Master Sgt. Sandy Roberts, Tech. Sgt. Shawn Theberge, Tech. Sgt. Michael Dame and Senior Airman Alexa Schimmel, the team exchanged experiences and best practices during a patient extraction environment.

Theberge began the second day with a detailed hands-on explanation of first responder responsibilities in assessing patients upon arrival to an incident.

"It was a dynamic exchange of experiences between how we treat patients in the United States upon reaching an incident scene and how emergency personnel here approach patients in El Salvador," said Theberge. "Many of the more experienced first responders here asked several questions based on their experiences that were outstanding."

Tech. Sgt. Michael Dame presented on use of the Kendrick Extrication Device (KED) in an environment when a patient is sitting upright during an incident, as can be the case during an automobile accident.

"There are varying levels of experience here and to share them with each other has resulted in a terrific learning experience for everyone involved," said Dame.

Many Salvadoran first responders have shared their personal experiences and lessons learned in a collaborative exchange of ideas.

"I'm finding it very useful even though I have been trained extensively as an emergency medical technician," said Nelson Alexander Rivas Bueno, a Green Cross volunteer first responder.

The day concluded with several hands on demonstrations practicing extracting patients and working together overcoming communication barriers and experience levels.

For the team lead, the day was an outstanding exchange of information by everyone.

"Today we were able to share collective experiences with our counterparts in El Salvador," said Rubin. "These exercises included closed space car extractions, unresponsive victims of violent acts and casualty extraction from simulated debris piles."

Rubin was impressed by the level of attention paid during previous sessions of training by the host nation.

"They really stepped up to the plate and used the techniques we'd taught the previous day," continued Rubin. "Some of the techniques we discussed were Rapid Triage Assessment, wound immobilization and proper c-spine precautions to safely treat patients. I think all the members from the NH CERFP team were pleased to see how eager the El Salvadoran Army grasped this new material and put it to good use."

During the final day, the group will head to a simulated collapsed structure to put all their ideas and training to use.
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