Ready for Casualties

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I think pretty much every person in the country is tired of hearing about mass shootings. We’ve definitely had more than our share of them and the media takes every opportunity to politicize these events, in order to push the gun control narrative. But what we never seem to hear is how the police have adapted to these situations, allowing them to save lives.

Some time back, I had the opportunity to sit in on a seminar given by the trainer for our local sheriff’s office, where he was talking about changes in how law-enforcement has been training to react to active shooter situations. In this seminar, he traced the strategies of police forces over the last decade. Specifically, he talked about how that training applied to reducing deaths. I’ll have to say, I was totally surprised.

When we think of responding to an active shooter situation, what we normally think about is shooting back. That’s what I was thinking he was going to talk about; the new tactics that police are using to overcome the bad guys. In other words, shooting back. However, the most surprising thing he talked about was taking care of the wounded, not shooting the bad guys.

According to this trainer, police are now being trained to grab one victim, stabilize them and transport them immediately to the hospital, leaving the others for other first responders to take care of. This single tactic is saving lives, by reducing the number of casualties who bleed out before getting care.

Granted, someone still needs to take care of the shooter. That’s not being ignored. The big difference here is that the wounded aren’t being left for the ambulance crews to get there. Each casualty the police render first-aid to and transport to the hospital is one less the ambulance crews have to take care of, as well as one more patient who is getting to receive medical care sooner. That’s the difference.

So, with this in mind, I want to ask you – Are you prepared to deal with casualties?

If we are carrying firearms with the idea of being able to deal with armed criminals, doesn’t it make sense for us to also be prepared to deal with the results of their actions? Doesn’t it make sense for us to have the necessary knowledge and be carrying the necessary supplies to treat a gunshot wound?

When I say treat the casualties, that includes the shooter themselves. Your goal shouldn’t be to kill that shooter, any more than that should be the goal of the police. Rather, your goal is to stop them. If you can save their life afterwards, that’s to the good. Not only will it help keep you from the difficulty of defending your actions, it will also keep you from dealing with the grief process that comes after shooting someone. They can have their day in court and get sentenced to life imprisonment.

Gunshot Treatment Kit

Ok, so if we’re going to be prepared for treatment of these gunshot victims, what do we need to have on hand? There’s really not much:

  • Tourniquet – The CAT (combat application tourniquet) or SOF Tactical Tourniquet
  • Israeli bandage – A one-piece, complete pressure bandage, with blood clotting agent
  • Chest decompression needle – For relieving tension pneumethorax (air in the lung cavity)
  • Chest seal – To keep the chest cavity from filling with air, in the case of a chest wound
  • Space blanket – To keep the patient warm and help prevent shock
  • Nasal Pharyngeal Airway (NPA) – To open up the airway for people who can’t control it and breathe
  • One roll of sterile gauze – For packing wounds

That’s it. All of that will fit into a packet about the size of a thick paperback book. It’s something you can carry in a fanny pack, a belt pouch, a coat pocket or a purse. But you can deal with most gunshot wounds with that short list of items.

Of course, having those items, if you don’t know when and how to use them isn’t going to work. You have to learn how to use them too. Many hospitals offer classes on wound care. I’ve been to a couple of them. They will teach you the basics of what to do, in order to treat a gunshot wound. If there’s something in that list which isn’t covered in the class, then look online for a video that shows how to use it properly.

Anything you can’t deal with, using those supplies, will probably be serious enough that you can’t save the patient’s life. It will require much more equipment and knowledge than you are likely to have. Therefore, it’s best to leave those patients to the paramedics and treat someone who you can treat effectively.

The goal here is to save a life; whatever life you can. That includes the life of the shooter. Don’t think you have to be a hero and save the person with the worst wounds. Save who you can. Saving just one life is a big deal; and like I already said, it’s one less life for the experts to have to deal with when they get there. So, in addition to keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand, might I recommend having a basic trauma kit with you, so that you can treat those wounds?

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