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Battlefield Casualty Drill Aide Memoire & Tactical Medicine

There have been a lot of advancements in Tactical Medicine for the Police and Law Enforcement Medic and a lot of it has come from the Military.

Battlefield medicine, also called field surgery and later (Tactical Medicine) and combat casualty care, is the treatment of wounded combatants and non-combatants in or near an area of combat such as a war theater or en route to such a hot zone. [1]

"Tactical combat casualty care is best described as caring for the injured from the point of injury to arrival at an appropriate facility."

As I say, there is now much cross over for the Law Enforcement community with many lessons learned from the Military engagements and medical advancements and experience. In fact the Military have also taught civilian medicine a lot about casualty care and treatment too.

In a civilian capacity, although it can be very different at the threat delivery stage it's also not too dissimilar to some Disaster Medicine in the field, in the sense that the environment is austere and unstable one should make it as stable and reduce the risk and hazards before attempting any treatment or evacuation. However, time is of the essence and you will be miles and many minutes or hours possibly from definitive care in an unsecure environment so therefore you will require the protection of the wounded (and medics) before proper treatment can usually be started. So usually the protocols change slightly compared to regular "Civilian ABCs" of Medic and First Responder First Aid.

In the case of the environment's instability as far as the threat persists we need to win the firefight and consider the CUF (Care Under Fire) options. These days with Law Enforcement and Military you can view the medical training and tactical training options you have. Many units will train in the SWAT, Tactical, ETF (Emergency Task Force), ERT (Emergency Response Team), Single or multiple Active Shooter response, MACTAC (Multi-Assault Counter-Terrorism Action Capabilities), etc. for such scenarios etc.

Medically speaking you also have many Tactical Medic programs available. Many of these are using specially developed kits (with many different names doing similar things like “IFAKS” (or Improved / Individual First Aid kits) and they take into consideration the many essentials such as explosives, bomb blasts, IED threats to Active Shooter Scenarios, wound ballistics, stabbings, and so on. Usually the kits and protocols reflect the probability of treating trauma and exsanguination rather than traditional 'sudden cardiac arrest' / heart attacks of the city EMS.

The Medic will have specialist training that does with the use of these kits and treatment responses to match the operators capability profile which is usually quite above basic first aider but even first aid trained officers can be taught essential life-saving skills in a tactical environment. EMTs and Paramedics also have Tac Medic, CP Medic, TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care), Tactical Emergency Medical and Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) available out there and there are many others.

Years ago we gave out these hand little aid memoires for treatment of Battlefield Casualties. They address some usual decision tress and how you can process a situation to result using established treatment protocols.

With so many threats out there like this (... even as I write another tragic Active Shooter scenario is playing out) we will regularly address LEO Medicine and Tactical Medical Directives to help those who put themselves in harms way to protect others, increase their chances of survival and come home safely.



By Gary Foo

[1] Wikipedia

[Picture Credit]

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