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USAF EC Airman’s SABC training saves child’s life

Staff Sgt. Emesh Fernando, Qualification Training Package Manager, Air Transportation Section, 423rd Mobility Training Squadron, poses for an official photo. On Sept. 10 he performed lifesaving actions to save am eight-year-old child from choking in Clementon, New Jersey. (Courtesy Photo)

Staff Sgt. Emesh Fernando, Qualification Training Package Manager, Air Transportation Section, 423rd Mobility Training Squadron, poses for an official photo. On Sept. 10 he performed lifesaving actions to save am eight-year-old child from choking in Clementon, N.J. (Courtesy Photo)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- A U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Airman performed lifesaving actions in Clementon on Sept. 10.

Staff Sgt. Emesh Fernando, Qualification Training Package Manager, Air Transportation Section, 423rd Mobility Training Squadron, was at a Mavis Discount Tire near his home when a woman came into the store screaming that her child was choking and could not breathe.

As he is the squadron’s Self-Aid Buddy Care instructor, Fernando relied on his training and quickly reacted to and accessed the situation.

SABC skills are extremely important, said Fernando. “One of the things I teach as part of the lesson is when you respond to a scene is to analyze the situation and not just to go into it and put yourself in harm’s way.”

As he was running towards the car, Fernando noted that he was replaying his lessons in his head while looking around scanning to make sure he was not running into danger.

Arriving at the scene it became apparent that the seat belt of the harness the eight-year-old child was placed in was obstructing the child’s airway.     

The first step Fernando took was to calm the child’s parents, who were panicking because the child’s face was already bluish in color and he had lost control of natural body functions.    

Once he had the parents calmed and ensured the scene was safe, Fernando was able to aid the father to quickly release the seat belt by using the emergency release latch while also ensuring someone called 911. 

After the child was out of the seat belt he lost consciousness. Immediately, Fernando began to prepare the boy for CPR; however, once he rolled the child on his side to ensure there was nothing obstructing his airway, the child regained consciousness. 

“Because I did the ABCs and I was looking at the airways, looking for breathing and checking the pulse for circulation, I knew that the child had oxygen and he was breathing, it was just labored,” said Fernando.

As the child regained his breath, Fernando remained on scene ensuring the child did not relapse until medical first responders arrived to take control of the scene.

Fernando, who did not do what he did for any recognition, does not consider himself a hero, but stated that he was just not an inactive bystander and did what he was trained to do.

“Staff Sgt Fernando epitomizes the term, ‘Airmanship,’” said Master Sgt. Arnold Ogle, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Air Transportation Section, 423 MTS. “He is consistently going out of his way to help members of his section, organization and community. Whenever there is an opportunity to help others, Emesh is the first to raise his hand while still being one of our top instructors. This type of selfless leadership is why Airmen flock to him for guidance and mentorship.”

Fernando is an instructor for multiple courses taught in the USAF Expeditionary Operations School at the USAF EC.

“I could not be prouder of Staff Sgt. Fernando,” said Maj. Gen. John Gordy, commander of the USAF EC. “He has continually proven himself to be a stellar noncommissioned officer and I’m not surprised one bit that he remained calm and level-headed … relying on his training and doing exactly what he trains other to do.  I have no doubt his selfless actions most likely saved this child’s life.”