Really glad I spend the $ and time to go through the tactical med class today that was expertly delivered by Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. While I’m by no means a qualified medical professional, I know a lot more and at least have a chance to do some good if I’m ever in the situation where I need to.
The class started with the protocol for care in a hostile environment, which is a different approach than the standard Airway, Breathing, Circulation that most of us learn in Red Cross first aid. The acronym used instead is MARCH, which is short for: Massive bleeding, Airway, Respiration, Circulation, Head injury / hypothermia. This acronym gives you the order that you need to address things in when faced with an injury caused by attack when people might have be shooting at you, or just got done shooting at you.
A significant portion of the class was then dedicated to diagnosis and care options for each of the major categories of injuries: how to look for massive bleeding and what to do about it, both if you have some basic gear with you as well as what to do with “found objects” – things that you’re likely to be able to find almost anywhere you go. The pattern was repeated for airway and respiration.
We then went on to discuss wound treatment and care and Greg made the point that while it may seem germane as compared to some of the more traumatic injury treatment we had just discussed, we were actually much more likely to use this knowledge day to day. After all, how many of us have ever been shot vs. cut? Wound cleaning and closure options were discussed and I had two big learnings here:
- Don’t use cleaning agents like Hydrogen Peroxide, Alcohol or Betadine, on wounds other than when you first clean them out and only after you have used soap and water. Last Summer I nearly cut the tip of my right trigger finger off on a mandolin slicer. I treated it in Hydrogen Peroxide almost daily…would have been much faster healing to just leave it alone.
- Steristrips rule. You can do 95% of what you can with sutures and the other 5% you can cover with staples. I sincerely hope that I never have to suture anyone up…but I can if I have to (at least if I have to suture up a chicken – that’s what we practiced on).
We ended the class with some photos of various injuries with a discussion about the diagnosis and what we should or shouldn’t do. It was a nice way to end since it made you think about everything you had learned and got you to think through the protocol to decide what to do first.
As I said in my post this morning, I recommend that everyone try to balance their investments between guns/ ammo, gear and training. Med training may not be for everyone (some of the pictures where pretty gory) but honestly I think I will be much more likely to have to use some of what I learned today than what I learned from my last tac-firearms course.