Combat advisors learn advanced lifesaving skills
July 13, 2010
FORT POLK, La. -- Combat advisor teams from the Army, Navy and Air Force learned lifesaving techniques for use on today's modern battlefield at the 6th Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment, 162nd Infantry Brigade's Tiger First Responder course, or TFR. The three-day class complies with Army Medical Department doctrine and training and is taught by instructors with various backgrounds and personal experiences.
The first two days of training are in the classroom and include hands-on training. The third day is a simulated training exercise that puts students under duress and requires them to use the steps and techniques taught during classroom instruction. Combat advisor class 101 was the most recent class to attend TFR. Class 101, with 40 students, was an average size class for the TFR instructors. Some of the larger classes have been more than 80 students.
TFR instructs combat advisors on proficiency and confidence in lifesaving medical interventions. Combat advisors walk away from the class with the ability to control most types of bleeding using equipment such as pressure dressings and tourniquets and are also taught to address basic airway problems with a head-tilt chin-lift, rescue breathing and airway-clearing procedures.
TFR also covers how to deal with penetrating chest trauma and sucking chest wounds with the use of needle chest decompressions, dressings and various chest seals. Combat advisors are able to prevent and treat shock with use of blankets and body positioning as well as initiating a saline lock, or IV. This course also teaches them to strategically evacuate casualties by explaining the best ways to move them using litters, buddy carries, casualty drags and transmitting a nine-line medical evacuation report.
In addition to the combat lifesaver standard course, TFR also instructs students on several additional medical skills and subjects including how to recognize a mild traumatic brain injury and the recognition and treatment of various degrees of burns. The class also covers the treatment of insect and animal bites and hot and cold weather injuries.
The most physically and mentally intense portion of TFR is the simulated training exercise conducted on the third and final day. The exercise is the culminating event in which students' skills and familiarization with nearly every aspect of the TFR course are put to the test. A real-time battlefield scenario complete with live roleplayers acting as casualties push students' minds and bodies in an authentic manner that better prepares them for the realities of medical emergencies on today's battlefields.
This realistic, intense, hands-on training prepares combat advisors for almost any eventuality, and gives them the skills not only to save the lives of their fellow advisors but to also help host-nation counterparts, providing the care needed to help ensure that they reach the next highest level of medical care.