By Tisha Entwistle, Munson Army Health CenterJune 17, 2011
Tisha Entwistle | Munson Army Health Center
Three Medical Department Activity Soldiers spent the day teaching a group of 33 civilian law enforcement officers a version of the Combat Life Saver course June 10 in Kansas City, Mo.
The students were a mix of city, county and federal law enforcement officers, as well as a few emergency medical technicians from the eight counties included in the Kansas City metropolitan area, said Platte County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Randall Pittman.
This was the third iteration of the First Aid-Tactical Combat Care course, a collaboration between Munson Army Health Center and the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.
The idea for the class came from a review of an article in a law enforcement trade magazine about a shooting incident in which officers had responded to a call and took gunfire when they arrived, Pittman said. One of the officers had recently returned from a military deployment and was CLS trained.
“Because the scene wasn’t secure, first responders could not help,” Pittman said. “The officer recognized his partner had been hit fatally and was able to save his life.”
Pittman said he and his colleagues decided they needed the same kind of training the military was receiving.
“We wanted real world experience,” Pittman said. “The first call we made was to Munson.”
The test course was in 2009. Pittman said they are now trying to have the course twice a year, and it still isn’t enough. Pittman said each of the three classes filled up quickly, this last one in just a few hours.
“There are never enough slots,” Pittman said. “The class is immensely popular.”
Sgt. Carl Treen, a combat medic with MEDDAC, said the class was basically a version of CLS adapted to what civilian law enforcement might see.
The class began with a slide show and some hands-on training with the Improved First Aid Kit. The IFAK is a pouch with expendable medical items like a tourniquet, bandages, gloves, dressing and adhesive tape.
After becoming familiar with all the parts of the IFAK, the students learned how to do a complete trauma rapid assessment, Treen said. In the afternoon the instructors including Treen, Sgt. Jeremy Adkins and Spc. Jared Pollard, all combat medics, began running scenarios.
“Pop, pop, pop,” Adkins said as he pointed his fingers at officers sitting down for a break. “You and your buddies were all shot while taking a break " what do you do?”
The officers responded with their IFAKs, calming their wounded comrades and shouting instructions to each other.
Treen said this was the first time he has taught the class, and he thinks it was a great experience for everyone.
“The police force is kind of like the infantry unit I was in (deployed with) they are all a group of brothers and sisters that have to go out and help each other while they are attempting to secure a local populace,” Treen said. “They do get injured, they do get shot at, they do get stabbed " but they don’t have a medic alongside them and they need to be able to treat themselves.”
Treen and Pittman said they have both received a lot of positive feedback from the students in the class.
“They kept coming up to us and saying they were getting a lot out of it and they usually don’t get this level of training,” Treen said. “It is peace of mind for them to be able to help each other as opposed to just watching their buddy bleed out and die.”
Pittman said the class wouldn’t be possible without the support from MAHC.
“We find the instructors very engaging,” Pittman said. “The credentials for the instructors are very solid.”
The class is completely voluntary and, except for the cost of the IFAK, free to the departments. Many of the participants said they haven’t heard of anyone else doing anything quite like this, Treen said.
“I don’t think anyone else is doing this anywhere,” Pittman said. “We just wanted to train with current principles and current equipment.”
Treen said he will be spearheading the next class and hopes to have that one in the fall.
“It is an awesome program,” Treen said. “I really enjoyed being able to share that knowledge.”