Ambulance Services brings life-saving skills to the fight

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Melissa Lerch and Juan Vazquez, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technicians, review a base map to ensure they know the exact location of buildings on base to provide quick response, Feb. 23, 2010. The Ambulance Services flight operates on a 24 hours on, 48 hours off shift, supplying services to emergency calls as needed on and off-base. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Melissa Lerch and Juan Vazquez, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technicians, review a base map to ensure they know the exact location of buildings on base to provide quick response, Feb. 23, 2010. The Ambulance Services flight operates on a 24 hours on, 48 hours off shift, supplying services to emergency calls as needed on and off-base. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron, aerospace medical technician, inspects oxygen bottle levels at the beginning of her shift, Feb. 23. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron, aerospace medical technician, inspects oxygen bottle levels at the beginning of her shift, Feb. 23. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inspects the LIFEPAX, which is used to monitor vitals of a patient in need, Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inspects the LIFEPAX, which is used to monitor vitals of a patient in need, Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inventories medical supplies aboard the ambulance Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inventories medical supplies aboard the ambulance Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inventories medical supplies aboard the ambulance Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inventories medical supplies aboard the ambulance Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inventories medical supplies aboard the ambulance Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center.  (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airman Melissa Lerch, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, inventories medical supplies aboard the ambulance Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Melissa Lerch and Juan Vazquez, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technicians, respond to an emergency call, Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Melissa Lerch and Juan Vazquez, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technicians, respond to an emergency call, Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Melissa Lerch and Juan Vazquez, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technicians, respond to an emergency call, Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Senior Airmen Melissa Lerch and Juan Vazquez, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technicians, respond to an emergency call, Feb. 23, 2010. Ambulance Services are on-call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to anything from an emergency landing on the airfield, to a sprained ankle at the fitness center. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Carlin Leslie)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- When an accident or life-threatening situation occurs, the 509th Medical Group Ambulance Services flight is prepared to provide immediate emergency services and, if needed, transportation to the nearest medical facility.

With 10 Airmen on alternating 24-hour shifts, Ambulance Services is responsible for medical protection to the Whiteman AFB populace when they are threatened by fire, hazardous materials, accidents, disasters or other medical emergencies.

"Our days are very sporadic," said Staff Sgt. Lorilee Chesonis, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician. "Some days we'll have one call after another and sometimes we can go a whole week without a call"

When not on a call or training, Ambulance Services Airmen process paperwork and assist with other 509th MDG flight programs, Sergeant Chesonis said.

"Sometimes we get called in to help out with procedures like starting IVs if a certified person is unavailable," said Senior Airman Michael Shamp, 509th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician.

In addition to emergency calls, the Airmen of the 509th MDG Ambulance Services flight also provide other services during base events.

"We provide coverage for the events like wing retiree appreciation days," Sergeant Chesonis said. "It's fun to listen to their war stories while we take their blood pressure."

Ambulance Services also stands by during special events like the Wings Over Whiteman Airshow, Airman Shamp said.

All Ambulance Services members are qualified EMT-basics, which is the entry-level of pre-hospital emergency medical provider in the U.S.

Even on the most hectic days, the Airmen of Ambulance Services are positive of their work.

"I really enjoy when we are out on a call," Airman Shamp said. "It's fast paced, but my training kicks in and our procedures are automatic."

Training plays an essential role for Ambulance Services members.

"We are a well-trained and well-equipped department that works closely with Whiteman's Fire Department and Security Forces Squadron," said Master Sgt. Shane Lacaillade, 509th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of ambulance services. "We are responsive to the needs and desires of the Whiteman community."

Training for the Ambulance Services Airmen ranges from studying books to practical applications on each other.

"During each shift, these Airmen are constantly training when not out on calls," Sergeant Lacaillade said.

Training requirements include reviewing regulations and casualty response plans, practicing emergency medical technician skills, equipment familiarization and exercises with the Whiteman Fire Department and SFS.

"All of our Airmen attend an arduous list of training in order to be fully qualified Ambulance Service Technicians," Sergeant Lacaillade said. "Some of the specialized training and courses they attend are EMT training, advanced cardiac life-support training and pre-hospital life support training."

Ambulance Services also provides assistance to local emergency services when needed.

"If there is an incident close by and a local unit isn't available we usually get a call for assistance and we respond," Airman Shamp said.

"I am very proud of the job each of these Airmen does," Sergeant Lacaillade said. "Each one of them provides an essential, life-saving service to the Whiteman and local community."