210th Fires Bde. pushes for more CLS Certifications
January 3, 2013
The training is an intensive one-week course designed to provide nonmedical personnel with advanced combat lifesaving skills, including hemorrhage control, prevention and treatment of shock, treating burns and evacuation of casualties, said Staff Sgt. Gregory White, from Wimberley, Texas, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th Fires Bde. White is the brigade's senior combat lifesaver instructor.
Many Soldiers remember CLS training for one infamous reason -- administering an IV to a fellow Soldier. However, White said, intravenous training was removed in 2009 in order to emphasize other skills like tactical casualty movement.
According to the brigade medics, the program works.
"With the way the Army has revamped the training and focused on these lifesaving skills, we can save 70 to 90 percent of casualties on the battlefield," said combat medic Pfc. Tristan Alexander, from Colorado Springs, Colo., assigned to HHB, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Bde.
The Army requires 20 percent of personnel in each unit to be combat lifesaver certified, said White. However, the brigade's plan is to certify everyone.
The training provides Soldiers or civilians who aren't trained medics the common knowledge to treat casualties in peacetime or combat situations, according to Alexander.
Instructors train their students through a combination of classroom and practical application exercises.
"CLS training opens their eyes to real-world situations," said Spc. Christopher Laboy, from Cleveland, Ohio, and currently serving as a combat medic assigned to 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Bde.
According to Laboy, Soldiers who have received the training prior to being deployed in combat environments have more confidence in themselves to perform medical care.
Soldiers certified as lifesavers also fill various peacetime needs when medical personnel cannot.
"Today, I had an officer come up to me and request a medic to go out to a range with his unit -- and we medics aren't available since we have training going on," said Spc. John Munnelly, from Elk River, Minn., and a combat medic assigned to HHB, 6th Bn., 37th FA Regt. "So I asked him, 'Do you have any CLS certified guys? They can be out there and you can still perform your training as scheduled.'"
Although combat lifesavers do not replace medics, they fill a very important niche.
"It's nice to know if something were to happen to me [the medic] on the field of battle, there is someone there to perform my job on me if I cannot," said Laboy.