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Jan
30

Dynamic First Aid – Lone Star Medics

It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve had any formal training in first aid. Probably 25 years? Think: Boy Scout First Aid merit badge. Knowing that a lot has changed in the medical community, and in my personal needs, I knew that it was time for some skill updates. When KR Training scheduled Lone Star Medic’s Dynamic First Aid course, I jumped on it!

Consider this to be a two part post – part class review, part soapbox for first aid training.

The Class

Dynamic First Aid is a one day crash course into emergency first aid. My friend (and developer of the Practice Deck iPhone App) John Daub attended the class on Saturday, January 28. He did an excellent write up on his experience at the class, and I had much the same experience (I recommend you read John’s write up – he did a much more thorough job on the particulars of the class than I’m going to squeeze out here). I missed the cutoff for the Saturday class, and attended the second class on January 29th. The class was popular enough that a second day had to be added, and there was a waiting list for both days!

LSM’s lead instructor, Caleb Causey flew solo on the class, and did a solid job keeping everyone moving and participating in the class. Caleb has a great sense of humor, and leverages that to keep his students paying attention. That’s important as a student, because he’s going to test you on skills, techniques, and thinking throughout the class.

The idea behind emergency first aid has always been to keep an injured person alive until more advanced/skilled care can take over. Depending on the situation, this might be 30 seconds, or… a lot longer. If you’re in the back woods, it could be days. Much more likely for most of us, though, is whatever the response time of EMS is to the local scene. That could be 4-6 minutes, or as long as 45 minutes, depending on where you’re at. The average response time across the US is 9-12 minutes, which could be catastrophically long in an emergency situation. In some ways, it’s parallel to why you need to be prepared to defend your own life vis a vis police response times.

The thing is, a lot has changed in the past 25 years in the thinking and theory around how and when to apply different first aid techniques. Technology has come to the rescue in a couple of cases, too.

The biggest change, for me, came in the form of triage and treatment order. Remember ABC? (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) That’s now CAB. Check circulation and bleeding first. If there’s no blood in the pipes, it really doesn’t matter if they’re breathing or not, cause they won’t be for long.

Another big change came in the form of the tourniquet. Remember when we used to be told to avoid them, as they could cause the victim to lose a limb later if improperly used? When we’re talking about severe bleeding, the choice is going to be “life or limb”, not “limb or a little more blood”. The modern tourniquet is a very slick and useful device, as well. The improvised tourniquets we were shown how to make in the Scouts quite likely will not work under pressure. You need to know how to correctly use one, though, as you definitely can cause harm if you don’t. As long as you can get your patient to advanced medical care within 6-8 hours, everything should be fine as long as you’ve taken care to use the tool properly. And, you might want to have two. Frequently, when you encounter an accident, or something, there’ll be more than one severe injury (we have four limbs, right?).

While a good portion of the class was spent on control of bleeding, Caleb also discussed a wide variety of other issues, spending a good amount of time on Airway and Breathing issues, a short nutshell version of the latest thinking on CPR, treatment of shock (thankfully, not much changed there!), thermal burns, managing broken bones, and seizures. All things that you might run into, and need to know how to handle appropriately, so as to avoid doing further injury to the already injured person.

Toward the end of the day, Caleb got on his soapbox about one of my own pet issues: dehydration, and the associated heat exhaustion and heat stroke. I have an article scheduled to discuss how dehydration affects performance, but that’s minor compared to how lethal dehydration can be in the field. The simple fact is, you need to be drinking water. All the time. A lot of it. Even if you’re just sitting around. If you’re out in the elements, you also need to be taking in some form of electrolyte along with that water (one suggested method is 2:1 water/gatorade, which I’ve used successfully in the past myself). A guy my size needs an absolute minimum of 115 ounces of water PER DAY just sitting on the couch. That’s a lot of water. The forumula is 1 oz per 2 pounds of body weight. Drink water, people. Not Red Bull. Not iced tea. Taurine and caffeine only serve to dehydrate you further and do other bad things to your system. Water. Water. Water. Water. Lots of it.

I also walked away with a much sharper idea of what I need to have in an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK – aka, the “blow out bag”) and a larger car type kit. A large part of the reason I haven’t had one put together, at this point, was paralysis by analysis – there are so many options out there, and no easy way for me to determine which ones are better/best. It can be quite confusing and daunting. None of the pre-made kits on the market have exactly the right combo in them, yet. Caleb gave us the chance to play with a large number of different pieces of gear, and made it clear what we really need to have in both types of kits. I feel like I can now shop with confidence.

In the end, I’m extremely happy that I took the course, and I feel like it was a day very well spent. It’s sparked a desire to take further training down this path, actually (the Medicine X class is highly intting on the couch. That’s a lot of water. The forumula is 1 oz per 2 pounds of body weight. Drink water, people. Not Red Bull. Not iced tea. Taurine and caffeine only serve to dehydrate you further and do other bad things to your system. Water. Water. Water. Water. Lots of it.

I also walked away with a much sharper idea of what I need to have in an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK – aka, the “blow out bag”) and a larger car type kit. A large part of the reason I haven’t had one put together, at this point, was paralysis by analysis – there are so many options out there, and no easy way for me to determine which ones are better/best. It can be quite confusing and daunting. None of the pre-made kits on the market have exactly the right combo in them, yet. Caleb gave us the chance to play with a large number of different pieces of gear, and made it clear what we really need to have in both types of kits. I feel like I can now shop with confidence.

In the end, I’m extremely happy that I took the course, and I feel like it was a day very well spent. It’s sparked a desire to take further training down this path, actually (the Medicine X class is highly interesting, for instance). I would definitely recommend this class from Lone Star Medics to anyone (literally, anyone).

Soapbox

As shooters, we spend a lot of time around small objects moving at extremely high rates of speed, and lots and lots of highly flammable (read: potentially explosive) materials. Much like any other activity that involves things moving quickly, there’s a possibility that things will go wrong, regardless of how good your gun handling and safety skills are, and whether or not you or someone around you makes a mistake or oversight. Like it or not, there’s always the possibility that “stuff happens”. Your ability to deal with “stuff” when it happens may likely be the difference between a bad experience and a tragedy.

Anyone reading this blog should strongly consider taking a course similar to the one described here (or, described better in John’s post linked above) if you haven’t already. You should also put together a simple kit of things for your range bag (tourniquet, pressure dressings, Kerlix, trauma shears, etc) and keep it in an easy to access location while you’re on the range (say, on the outside of the bag, clearly marked with a red cross). You want something small-ish (don’t bring the kitchen sink) so that it can be near you on the range, not 1/2 a mile away in the car.

The life ybjects moving at extremely high rates of speed, and lots and lots of highly flammable (read: potentially explosive) materials. Much like any other activity that involves things moving quickly, there’s a possibility that things will go wrong, regardless of how good your gun handling and safety skills are, and whether or not you or someone around you makes a mistake or oversight. Like it or not, there’s always the possibility that “stuff happens”. Your ability to deal with “stuff” when it happens may likely be the difference between a bad experience and a tragedy.

Anyone reading this blog should strongly consider taking a course similar to the one described here (or, described better in John’s post linked above) if you haven’t already. You should also put together a simple kit of things for your range bag (tourniquet, pressure dressings, Kerlix, trauma shears, etc) and keep it in an easy to access location while you’re on the range (say, on the outside of the bag, clearly marked with a red cross). You want something small-ish (don’t bring the kitchen

About the author

DaveRe

USPSA Grand Master, NRA Instructor, http://re-gun.com/about/

Permanent link to this article: http://re-gun.com/2012/01/dynamic-first-aid-lone-star-medics/