Friday, January 31, 2014

Training – First Aid / Combat Trauma


First Aid Kits – FAKs, “Blow Out Kits” – BOKs, and any number of alternate acronyms reflecting kits used to respond quickly in the case of an injury from as simple as a slide pinch to a round through the femoral artery have been written about, pondered over, “invented” over and over and over. I’m no slouch here – I’ve done my part as well . . .

Just the Basics – Your Boo Boo Kit

Survival – Your Blow-Out Kit (BOK)

These posts detail what I carry in my own personal kits. During the day they are each clipped to the headrest behind my seat in the Jeep. When I go to the range, they’re clipped to my range bag – ALWAYS, EVERY TIME, WITHOUT FAIL.

That said, you can have all the “cool kid” toys, Quick Clot gauze, Ace bandages, blister kits, band aids, tourniquets, and a whole host of other gear, disposables and nifty crap . . . but if you have no idea how to employ those items to help the person in need . . . why have a kit at all??

One of the things you MUST have on your training list is sound first aid training from an experienced professional. And there are a broad range of resources available to provide such training.

Combat Lifesaving Training

War, conflict, combat has done more to develop lifesaving, immediate response first aid than any other stimulus. And our success rate has skyrocketed. If you view battle field KIA statistics from the civil war, through WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and finally our current GWOT – our death toll has been steadily declining. I realize that much has to do with up-armored equipment (heck, my UP ARMOR was a couple sandbags or a cast-off flack vest to sit on). But, many potential KIA have been converted to survivors through the immediate use of field proven BOKs and men/women trained to use them. While to name count on the Vietnam memorial numbers over 55,000, after nearly 13 years of war, the KIA count for all allied forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan are under 8,000 as of the date of this article. This says a lot about today’s technology and the medical training of our troops in the field.

This has lead a broad range of companies offering you, the shooter the same type of training our military in the field receive as part of their training in the military. A Google search for “tactical trauma courses” will provide you with a good starting point in your search for training in and around your area.

The pricing for this course work will run from the low $200s to the high $300s. Their value . . . they can give you another day with your family or allow you to save one of your family members or friends.

American Red Cross Courses

While I view these courses are great for the shooter, the reality is that you may well want to train for a broader range of First Aid incidents. There is another resource I would like you to consider as a starting point – the American Red Cross.

Their First Aid/CPR/AED course should be a must for every family member. Time will vary based on the number of components you take, but the entire course can usually be completed in a single day or a couple of evening sessions. Costs vary from spot to spot but I would expect it to be less than $100. You are provided with a certification certificate and are granted access to on-line recertification when yours expires at no additional charge.

Their more advanced First Aid course is a multi-day Wilderness First Aid. This gives you a broad range of training on everything from hyperthermia to handling a compound fracture to setting a tourniquet in the event of a damaged artery. It is this course that I see a lot of cross over with the tactical trauma courses and, in many cases, it provides a broader range of training as well. Costs here are typically under $200 for the two day course.

Both of these courses require on-going training to keep the certifications and it is well worth your time to do so.


Self-study in the arena of First Aid is the same as in any other . . . fully dependent on the individuals drive, discipline and desire to learn and be proficient in that particular skill set.

It takes work. It takes effort. It takes time.

It can save your life, you child’s life, your spouse’s life or your best friend’s life.

The following are a couple of links to downloadable PDF materials that should be on your computer and on your smartphones.

Combat Lifesaver Course: Student Self Study

This is the entire Combat Lifesaver Course complete with tests and answers to the questions. THIS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR A FACE-TO-FACE TRAINING COURSE. But, it is a darn good refresher and a darn good supplement to course work listed above.

US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook

723 pages of medical practices, procedures and first aid provided to our Special Forces troops who are, many times, far out of reach of immediate medical assistance. Again, this is NOT A REPLACEMENT for face time, but it is a great supplemental self-study material. (Click the PDF link to the left and then save it to your computer)

Survival and Austere Medicine

Written and Edited by The Remote, Austere, Wilderness and Third World Medicine Discussion Board Moderators

There are a broad array of professionals who spend time in Third World Countries. I’ve made a fair number of trips to Haiti over the years and traveled to some of their more remote villages. While communications is much better (a SAT phone once allowed me to connect with my own doctor to help a young woman out), the availability of immediate care is oft times found by looking in the mirror. This particular manual provides everything from equipment and medicines list to emergency procedures. It is well worth your effort to spend some of your Self-Study time with this manual.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care

Our Military provides on-going training in the arena of Combat Casualty Care. This on-line resource provides a broad range of material, power points and downloadable videos giving you the latest thoughts on casualty care in today’s military.

There are many more resources out there for Self-Study; these simply represent those I have chosen to spend time with. The whole idea of this post is to reinforce a couple of points.

  • Build your kits – and CARRY THEM WITH YOU, EVERY DAMN DAY
  • Finally – DON’T STOP LEARNING!!

That last one is on YOU! If you’ve taken the development of your firearms training and your defensive use of firearms training seriously, it should simply be common sense that you also learn to survive the wounds that may very well occur during a fight for your life.

It would be a real bitch to successfully repel a home invasion only to watch your wife/husband/child bleed out on the bedroom floor simply because you didn’t know how to stop the bleeding.


  1. One thing I learned long ago as a street paramedic: All bleeding stops...eventually.

  2. Thanks for the reminder, I DO need to go brush up... And thanks for the links too!

  3. I really like this post regarding First Aid Training .All these points i will keep in mind.This blog is dedicated to helping businesses undergo training in first aid.Our training team's expertise speaks for itself.Keep it up.