I always get mixed responses. Those that attend enjoy and are able to take something back to use daily. There are others that say that Tactical Medic training is for cowboys. If you look at news you will find that we are finding ourselves in the stink more frequently. I am an advocate for Tactical Medicine.
Tactical medic training is not for when we "find ourselves in the stink." It is for medics whose job includes providing direct support to law enforcement special operations units. I advocate for more of both kinds of training - TEMS training of greater quality and quantity for those who support SWAT, and personal defensive training for line medics who are likely, as Paul notes, find themselves in difficult (read "violent") situations on a more frequent basis.
We have to start taking this "violence against medics" stuff more seriously, but I can't even get folks to talk about it (on my thread in these forums, in the "featured topics" list).
Tactical Medicine at its purest form is very crude medicine. TCCC is designed to stop someone from dyeing in a combat situation with methods that would not be appropriate for everyday use. Throwing a tourniquet on or performing a needle cric in order to drag someone away to a safer area is not considered good medicine when you are not in the streets of Iraq or taking heavy small arms fire in a SWAT situation. Do not get me wrong it is very good training and has its place. A true Tactical Medic will be proficient in their basic medical skills and be trained to excel in tactical operations, read excellent marksman and part of the team when it comes to making an entry. If a medic cannot step up and tactically lead a mission they have no buisiness being in the situation. Those skills are what keep the medics and corpsmen alive in combat and the skills that make a SWAT medic valuable, without those skills the medic will end up a hindrance and just another casualty in time. A military medic is trained as a combat soldier first and a medic later. A tactical medic that is not trained like that is someone who stands at the perimeter thinking they look good in a bunch of unnecessary equipment.
Now that I pissed off about 50% of the tactical medics, not my true intentions, there is no need for Paramedics as tactical medics, BLS skills save lives in a tactical situation. An EMT with a pouch full of Combat Action Tourniquets, Israeli Combat Dressings, OPAs, and a couple of 14ga for needle decompressions and crics is all you need for tactical medicine. I was a medic in the Army prior to becoming a Paramedic and there is a huge difference in the mindset between the two. The focus is on making sure the blood does not leak out and the air continues to go in and out until you can move a casualty to an area with good cover.
We have some great discussions. I agree Skip and Shady . I always say that Tactical Medic training (I don't like using the term " TEMS " Because there are different forms of Tactical medic Training ) I would like to have more awareness and training to all Medic just in case you are handed a patient from a Tac team there will no lag in care. Shady I always say that TEMS, TOMS, TCCC is just a school and being a Tactical Medic is a way of life. I consult for a group that lives the way of life. Cypress Creek Advanced Tactical Team support all the Alphabet agencies in Texas and around the US and the one thing that makes them different is that they are paramedics, peace officers who have progressive protocols and train with SWAT daily. Skip I am going over to your thread right now .
Shady, there is more to TEMS than care under fire (which you describe accurately). But a good TEMS course, such as CONTOMS, teaches much more than that. Note that I said a GOOD TEMS course - if it's all gunshot trauma and shooting, it is not a GOOD course.
CONTOMS included work in much more commonly used functions, including medical intelligence/medical threat assessment/incident pre-planning, "medicine across the barricade" (sort of a combination of EMD and hostage negotiation), chemical and other less-lethal devices and their injuries, EMS elements of dignitary protection, long-term care in the field (flashbacks to Hospital Corps School and Field Medical School - foot care was my favorite!), and of course care for all of the orthopedic injuries that semi-full-time SWAT operators seem to get when they train at the edge of their physical capabilities.
Taking care of "the team" in the training environment was 90% of the action during my TEMS assignments - the rest was subjects sprayed, stunned, shot with LL kinetic batons, etc. "TEMS" is just an acronym for tactical emergency medical SUPPORT - what tactical medics provide to their teams. I use it 'cause I think it's accurate. If I wasn't too old and too beat up, I'd still be doing it. Taking care of Oregon State Police SWAT troopers was one of the most enjoyable aspects of my career.
Cannulator - who takes care of your coppers when they are "in the stink"? Or don't you have the armed, barricaided, hostage taking dopers that need heavily armed, specially trained police to put the bracelets on them? Do they have their own?
Seriously - I don't know how that works down under. I do know that some of your medics ride very nice motorcycles.....
The Cannulator said:
Id like to, for the experience- and the challenge- we don't have it iN AUS. I do though somewhat agree with Slim Shady's comments though and wholeheartedly support those of Skip.
Right about that! Our men in black want black ambulances along their men in black.....
as a lowly ambulance driver for the local county 911 service and not having previous .mil background, i found the course to be EXTREMELY enjoyable and definitely helped to sharpen my rapid trauma assessments....of course, gun fire and smoke grenades will make any training scenario THAT much harder, i would recommend this to EVERY 911 service provider!