Cadets learn how to save lives


Cadets and senior members of the ACE Basin Composite Squadron learned vital first aid skills in March when Rachel Idol, who serves as an assistant cadet programs officer in the unit, attended in the role of Berkeley County emergency management technician.

“Stop The Bleed” is a nationwide initiative designed to give ordinary citizens the skills they need to be engaged during an emergency. For many people, there will never be a major incident in their lives when they have to play the role of first responder. For others, a car accident, an incident in a school or other public setting could thrust them into making a decision about whether to be a bystander or an engaged citizen until health arrives. Training people through “Stop The Bleed” to have basic first aid skills is life-saving and gives them skills to be of help until help arrives.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes; therefore, it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Those nearest to someone with life threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care.”

Because one of the missions of Civil Air Patrol is to train its senior members and cadets in emergency services, which can include searching for downed aircraft or personal location beacons which are activated, this “Stop the Bleed” class was a perfect blend of professional service and volunteer service for 2dLt. Rachel Idol.

“When I first took the class to become a [Stop the Bleed] instructor, there was a comment by another instructor which has stuck with me,” said Lt Idol. “The only thing more tragic than a death is a death that could have been prevented.”

She continued, “I am committed to teaching these skills to anyone who wants to learn — you can indeed save a life, no matter how old you are.”

Her passion for emergency services was evident during the class. During the emergency services meeting for the month of March, cadets and senior members learned five vital skills: scene safety, self-protection, looking at the bigger picture of blood loss, how to stop the bleed and how to reassure a patient. Cadets were educated on eye shields, gloves, and masks — and why exposure to patho-gens could harm them. Members learned to assess the situation and the patient.

“It is important to keep your head on a swivel and be aware of the possible dangers,” said Idol. “But it is also important to look at the big picture when you see a victim. Focusing on a laceration on the hand might be fatal if you miss a bigger bleed on the back of the patient.”

Cadets practiced applying pressure to the arm of another cadet to simulate stopping a profuse bleeding injury. They also worked to identify pulse points and how to feel for a pulse on a victim. They also learned about applying appropriate pressure, packing a wound and using a tourniquet as a last measure.

The ACE Basin Composite Squadron, along with all of Civil Air Patrol, is currently in stand down mode, with no in-person meetings and rare exceptions for training or performing its emergency services mission right now. However, those who are interested in joining the squadron should email Capt Rachael J. Mercer, CAP, at for information about meeting virtually with other members.

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