MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Family Advocacy Program staff aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, participated in an Improvised Sudden Attack First Emergency Response (IMSAFER) course, Dec. 14.
The IMSAFER training is a three-hours long course that instructs personnel on how to respond to a violent threat in a work environment. Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Skaggs, an aeromedical safety corpsman with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and a Pensacola, Florida native, created the course after an active shooter incident in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July, 2015, where an active shooter opened fire at multiple recruiting offices.
“I was watching the news and just wishing there was something I could have done to help them,” he said. “I started thinking there’s other people I can help … people who don’t have a large medical background or no medical background. This [course] gives them a baseline of basic first aid.”
Skaggs included instruction on how to stop life-threatening bleeding, perform basic patient care and administer CPR and proper use of automated external defibrillators. According to Skaggs, once he finished the curriculum for the course and began offering it, emails requesting IMSAFER flooded his inbox. He received even more messages following the events in San Bernardino, California, earlier this month.
“In the times that we’re living in now, the reality of the situation is that it is very possible something can happen,” said Paula Flaisz, a victim advocate, prevention and education coordinator with the base Family Advocacy Program and a Toronto native. “In the line of work that [family advocates are] in, it’s also very important to be vigilant and know our surroundings. This course plays into that.”
This training is important for potential soft targets such as the base Family Advocacy Program, according to Skaggs. IMSAFER provides knowledge and training that can potentially save lives during the time it takes for first responders to arrive to the scene of an attack, said Skaggs.
“We work in a facility that is high-risk … I think it’s important to know the information that we received,” said Gloria Federico, an education coordinator with the base Family Advocacy Program and an Oceanside, California native. “I would recommend it for everybody.”
For more information about IMSAFER training, contact Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Skaggs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (760)-763-8339.