While the title of this post alludes to the misguided reason that some people want to place restrictions on firearms, that is not the purpose of this post. What I am going to describe could actually save lives, and isn’t just a feel good, useless measure to mistakenly substitute complacency for safety. This should be something that everyone can get behind, regardless of how you feel about firearms, and that I hope everyone does. I also think that people of most ages should have this skill, even high school and junior high school aged children. Out of all the protesting, and town halls, and media interviews, and marches and political campaigning going on, my wife and I thought it would be wise to do something that might actually do some good.
This past weekend my wife and I took a class on treating traumatic injuries. Basically how to use a tourniquet and how to pack a wound, and when to use each. The class lasted about two hours, and didn’t cost anything, as part of the “National Stop The Bleed Day” movement. While shootings are all the rage in the media now, the chances of needing the skills that my wife and I learned are much more likely, as they can be used after a shooting, of course, but can also be used to treat any traumatic injury, from car accidents, to workplace incidents, to something as benign as a little league game or even cooking dinner. Accidents happen. Injuries happen. Being able to treat them effectively is crucial to saving lives.
The class we took was presented by an E.M.T., who also happened to be a Police Officer, as well as a firefighter, so it wasn’t put on by some hack, but someone with experience who had used the techniques he was about to train us in successfully to save lives.
The first thing we learned is how to use a CAT, or a Combat Application Tourniquet. We learned how to use one on ourselves, as well as how to use one on another person. Also discussed was the other tourniquets available, and how to make sure that the tourniquet used was a quality one that could be used. The two that were recommended were the C.A.T. that we trained with, and the SOF-T. We did not train in how to use the SOF-T as it is more complicated than the C.A.T. Any other tourniquet, such as a RAT, or an improvised one from a belt or piece of cloth were not recommended. Ultimately we were proficient enough that we could effectively apply a tourniquet to ourselves or to someone else in less than twenty seconds, and this skill did not take long to achieve.
The next thing that was discussed was how to properly pack a wound, and where this could be done on an injured person. Some of the items discussed were the proper type of bandages to use, and what could be improvised if necessary.
The main lesson was that if someone could be treated in time, and you are able to keep the person alive long enough for the next level of care to arrive, such as a licensed first responder, or EMT, then the chances of the injured person surviving are near 100%. Imagine that. If you can get to a person in time, and treat them in time, then chances are more likely than not that they will survive.
My wife and I both have a kit that we carry, and I am looking for a way to carry it on my person at all times that is less bulky. Our kits do have a few more items that what was trained on, but these are also simple to use, such as a pair of chest seals. (We asked after the class about these and the instructor basically stated that there is not really any additional training needed on how to use these other than make sure the area is clean, peel and stick.)
Here are links to some kits that can be used, and many are cheap enough that purchasing one shouldn’t cause any undue financial burden.
and just as an FYI, this is the type of kit that both my wife and I have.
So if any of you have ever used the excuse “if it only saves one life” as a reason to implement some type of further restriction on firearms, it’s time to put up or shut up and learn how to actually save a life.