This is not your standard first aid class. This is a class for dealing with traumatic injury. Heart attacks, drowning, choking, and even head injuries were not specifically addressed. I took this class to address the potential for gunshot and explosive injury at Boomershoot. The lessons learned are also applicable to automobile and industrial accidents.
There were some very interesting points made in class. Here are the ones that stuck in my mind:
- One sentence summary of the class, “This is how you properly apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding until expert help takes over.”
- Poor tourniquets or ones applied incorrectly actually increase the bleeding.
- Most bullet wounds are survivable. This includes some head and heart shots.
- If you can survive most bullet wounds and keep fighting so can the bad guy.
- Ballistic gelatin gives you a good idea how deep a bullet will penetrate a large muscle.
- The tensile strength of Jell-O is not comparable to most tissues and hence the temporary stretch cavity observed in gelatin is meaningless when applied to the wounding of flesh.
- If the victim will be in the hospital within two (and perhaps as long as six) hours the limb will not suffer permanent damage from the tourniquet.
- Keep the victim very warm. Cold blood doesn’t clot well.
- Don’t get hurt yourself. If someone has been deliberately injured (stabbed, shot, explosive injury, it doesn’t matter) you first job is to not get hurt yourself. Consider not giving aid or at least neutralizing the threat before giving aid and putting yourself at risk.
- Direct pressure on an artery high on the limb can completely stop bleeding of an arm but not an adult leg.
- Children are soft and squishy* and it is relatively easy to stop extremity bleeding.
- Learn how carry and/or drag someone with and without help.
- The Gabby Gifford shooting could have gone much worse due to misguided response by the police (details in private, not on the blog).
- We got very, very lucky with the Boston Bombing (details available in private, not on the blog).
- Use this tourniquet and this bandage after you get training.
*This was mentioned several times and I kept expecting to hear, “and tasty with ketchup.” I was disappointed but didn’t want to be known for contributing that to the conversation.