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Preparing for the unexpected

While one airman simulated unconciousness, another fained responsiveness and first responders had to treat their symptoms.

First responders carry an airman simulating unconciousness Sept. 25, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. While one airman simulated unconciousness, another fained responsiveness and first responders had to treat their symptoms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

While one airman simulated unconciousness, another fained responsiveness and first responders had to treat their symptoms.

A first responder reads off a scenario card during a decompression sickness exercise Sept. 25, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. With how rare decompression sickness is, it can be even more important to train. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

While one airman simulated unconciousness, another fained responsiveness and first responders had to treat their symptoms.

Tech. Sgt. John Thorpe, 366th Medical Group aerospace physiology craftsman, hands a scenario card to a first responder during training Sept. 25, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The training is designed to allow responders to be ready for any situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

While one airman simulated unconciousness, another fained responsiveness and first responders had to treat their symptoms.

First responders pull out an airman simulating unconciousness Sept. 25, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The 366th Medical Group and fire fighters from the Civil Engineer Squadron practice their skills tending to decompression sickness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --

Airmen from the 366th Medical Group and Civil Engineer Squadron practiced their response capabilities here, Sept. 25, 2017.

The scenario focused on first responders abilities to extract and tend to pilots who simulated decompression sickness.

“This is actually the first decompression sickness exercise since my tenure at Mountain Home Air Force Base,” said Tech. Sgt. John Patrick Thorpe, 366th Medical Group aerospace physiology craftsman. “What makes this exercise important is it brings the fire department and the flight medicine team to respond to any physiological emergency at altitude.”

Thorpe explained the illness is a rare occurrence, which makes training as imperative as any other to ensure first responders are capable to handle this type of emergency.

“Training is a very important part of being an airman,” said Col. Joseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander. “The Air Force never puts airmen into a situation they’re not prepared for. (Gunfighters) are well trained and we’ll continue to be well trained.”

The end result of any training scenario is to ensure airmen can perform their duties no matter the situation.

“I think the training is very important. Not just for the people being trained, but also for other personnel to understand that they are in the proper care of the individuals taking care of them,” said Staff Sgt. Alecia Hudson, 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, aerospace medical technician. “The training I saw was exemplary.”

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