Friday, May 20, 2016

Combat Life Saver Recap

I recently attended a class by a friend and fellow patriot on combat first aid. This is the summary and review of that class.

The Instructor
Combat Medic - US Army

Topics covered include, but we're not limited to:
Basic triage
Casualty extraction
Overwhelming return fire
Fundamental diagnosis of wounds
Treatment of common combat wounds - gunshot, cuts, broken bones, etc.
Use of a tourniquet
Making a basic bandage
Making a basic splint
Clearing of airway - oral and nasal

At the end, we did a live simulation of a recon patrol being ambushed. Several team members were "injured" (kayfabe) according to design. Other team members had to provide cover fire and extract the casualties. Combat first aid was rendered.

Naturally, no live rounds were used, nor were participants actually shot at. Firecrackers and a smoke bomb were used to simulate the stressful environment, and a CS grenade was launched into the middle of the recon group to add realism to the scenario.

If you've never "sniffed" CS, you're really "missing out!" It sucks!

In SHTF situations, only.
If the enemy makes contact (shoots at you), and if someone on your team is shot, then the following guidelines apply:
1. Provide overwhelming firepower in return.
2. Analyze: if it's only a flesh wound, suck it up. Broken bones - chill. Arterial bleeding can kill, so take care of these, first and NOW. Apply a tourniquet. If a team member is not responsive and shows no pulse / breathing, go back to overwhelming firepower or the next casualty.
3. Nearest able-bodied team member needs to render aid. If possible, avoid using specialty role team members.
4. Using overwhelming return fire, move the victim to cover for more complete first aid.
5. After the threat has been eliminated, or when the team leader decides it is time to retreat, move the casualties to a safe location - preferably one with superior medical care.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, a course is made or broken with the instructor. This instructor is among a very few from whom I prefer to learn above all others. Some instructors are heavy on theory and / or knowledge, but have little or no practical experience... this instructor was NOT one of those. I'm not sure his detailed history, as it is impolite to ask, but 90 seconds in, you realize he was a combat medic and saw stuff that many civilians cannot imagine.

Great balance of practical knowledge instruction, and hands-on application. This instructor's mantra is "you don't get it after only practicing it 3 times." He's right. He throws timely reviews in place to keep attendees focused on the major topics instead of getting derailed on minor bunny-trails.

The buzz after the live exercise was electric. All at the same time, you had attendees who were ecstatic, depressed, amped, discouraged, and all of them were ready for more. Any negative feelings were there because of a participant being unhappy with his own performance. It was shocking, but at the same time, intoxicating. EVERYONE wanted a "round 2."

This was the second time I've had the honor of taking this class, and you'd better believe I'll be there the next time there is one available.

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