Saving your butt in a gunfight may come down to how quickly to can properly apply a tourniquet to a wounded limb. Yes, shooting the suspect and putting them down is a component of your survival, but if you’ve taken rounds your fight for life may have just started.
The United States military developed a system for trauma care in the field called TCCC: Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The system has a lot going for it, including it is based on what you can to to help yourself in the most common, survivable injuries experienced in combat. While most officers are not encountering IEDs or jumping from helos in a hot LZ, we do experience some of the same injuries that TCCC is designed for.
If you’ve been shot or stabbed, you better know how to control the bleeding. Lose too much blood and you will be dead in a few short minutes. You don’t have time to wait on EMS – you have to care for yourself. That’s where training comes in.
If you are fortunate enough to work at an agency that provides TCCC training, consider yourself lucky. I’ve been very happy that my own department began to incorporate this training into our regimen this year, and all uniformed officers have been issued tourniquets. It’s not a full jump kit, but it sure as hell is a step in the right direction.
If you are like most officers, and you have not received TCCC training, might I suggest you get some?
Suarez International offers a two-day course called Trauma Medicine for the CCW Operator. As the name suggests, this is a training class developed for the civilian market – not the military operator. However, the same kinds of likely injuries a lawfully armed citizen is likely to encounter are the same ones we are probably going to have to deal with. Neither the CCW holder nor the street cop are likely to deal with improvised explosives, mines or artillery rounds. (If you are likely to experience these things, move out of Detroit. I don’t think it is going to improve soon.)
The course uses lecture, live-fire and force-on-force exercises to teach the basic skills you need in the field to stop your attacker and keep yourself alive until EMS can evac you to a trauma center.
The course is taught by Dr. John Meade and Don Robison, both Suarez International instructors. I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting Robison, but I have exchanged e-mails with Meade and read his book. Meade is an experienced emergency medicine physician, a reserve police officer and a SWAT medic.
The next class is being taught near Orlando, FL on November 3 – 4. Tuition is $450. If you are able to get to the class, I highly suggest attending. TCCC skills are things that can literally make the difference in living and dying. I’m sure your friends and family would consider the tuition incredibly cheap should you ever need the skills.