Soldiers assigned to the 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion, from Fort Stewart, Georgia, provided a first aid training class to Liberian law enforcement personnel at the National Police Training Academy here, Tuesday, that could help protect them from diseases such as the Ebola virus.
The 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion is part of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas.
"They can use this class in field conditions," said Spc. Michael Miller, a Bullhead, Arizona, native and an instructor. "We have the tactical instructors from National Police Training Academy and the medical providers for the police department, so they can have a little bit of a dialogue and cross communication between the two jobs."
The Liberian police were taught different techniques to perform first-aid.
"We've been teaching the police better procedures and proper use of [personal protective gear], isolation and safe habits when dealing with the population," said Miller. "We also teach them how to identify personnel that could be infected with the Ebola virus."
Proper training keeps everyone safe.
"This, hopefully, will not only keep themselves safe, but also anyone they come in contact with," said Miller.
This class also mitigates the spread of other bacterial and viral threats to first responders.
"Human Immune Virus, hepatitis and other infectious diseases can be prevented and a low-threat if proper precautions is present during first-aid," said Miller.
First aid is important for law enforcement personnel because they are typically first-responders.
"Just like back in the United States, the police are usually the first one on the scene," said Miller. "That's the same over here. A lot of time when someone suffers an injury, there are body fluids involved, so then there's potential to get and spread diseases. So, we show them how to isolate themselves from these fluids and other things and administer first aid. That way they can possibly save the life of a person safely."
Officials at the National Police Training Academy requested this training to take advantage of the Service members' expertise while they're in Liberia, said Miller. Within the ranks 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion, there are paramedics and Soldiers with other medical qualifications, such as the Army's combat lifesaver course.
The Liberian police officers who received the training will go on to teach others in their ranks, said Miller.
This particular training is volunteer work.
"The training is without any government materials, medical supplies, or actual Army credential classes," said Miller. "Since we are licensed paramedics, we are only showing them and telling them technician-level, improvised methods on first aid. All we are doing is giving them our time to help improve their first-aid procedures."
Miller is happy to have a motivated group.
"They Liberians were very engaged during the training," said Miller. "This was new information for a lot of them. They asked various types of questions as well as alternative scenarios. We spoke with their assistant commandant. He said within the first hour, several of the students came to him and said they love the class and want to continue it."
Because of the Ebola crisis, Francis Williams, a tactical instructor with the National Police Training Academy, appreciated the class.
"The class is very important, and we should take every precaution to protect ourselves and others," said Williams. "I'm grateful to have such knowledge now to pass on to the officers in the field."
The training concluded Dec. 12, 2014.
See more photos here.