This was my first class teaching this package, and some learning curve was involved, as always happens when one makes a new training package. I had taught all of the material previously on numerous occasions, but not together as an 8 hour package.
The class was held at my friend Buck Peddicord’s excellent training facility at Defense Midwest. Unfortunately weather was a factor almost the entire day, due to the clouds leaving, copious sun, and the heat index running from 133 to 177 degrees according to the NOAA website weather history. We almost had two students go down fro the heat, but fortunately we caught things before they got too bad.
The weather, and thus sweat, conditions tested some of the student’s gear and carry mode. It’s always better to make these equipment discoveries at the range instead of in a fight.
One of the students in class was an extremely well trained and experienced combat veteran, and he was gracious enough to type up his thoughts on range medical emergency plans. This is something I see on military ranges and pre mission briefs rather often, but is a point of failure that is common in the civilian world of firearms training and also in the world of LE operations, including the vast majority of SWAT jobs that I have been around.
I include this as food for thought for other firearms instructors to think about when they conduct training;
The 1ST Aid/medical response portion. I know you had the aid bag slung on the post and available, but perhaps these might be some points to consider for any future class, regardless of content. I base these observations on getting absolutely grilled for my MEDEVAC/CASEVAC plan during OEF. The MedHead’s session that day really sunk in.
1. The aid bag is a must, but have at least 2 TQs out and prepped for use.
2. Combat Gauze (NOT QuickClot) packages prepped for use, but not out of the packaging. Preferably 2 as well.
3. Designated CASEVAC vehicle ready to roll during the duration of shooting hours of class. Can be used for something else during lunch for example. This is crucial. It can be your truck, a buddy’s car or some students ride. But it should be staged nearest the firing line, facing the direction of the exit/entrance, and have enough space to facilitate a potential patient, a chaperone/guy who is working on him, and the driver of course. Keys should be with the ride and all doors unlocked. If the class is in a fast response by EMS, then a more viable option should be to create and identify a designated space which will be used by the ambulance, IE not having the students park in such a manner that would hinder access by EMS.
4. Clearly designate people at the range who WILL call 911 FIRST. My experiences in OEF as well as an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor have shown that this is the most important step in the process, yet often times gets overlooked. This is because of the human instinct to want to “tangibly” help on scene, instead of notifying a higher medical authority of the emergency. That call is crucial to survivability of a patient.
5. Ask for and identify the students about their medical response background. CPR, AED, CLS, TCCC, EMT, brain surgeon, you get the picture. I’m sure you’re tracking, But stay aware that in a group setting of various backgrounds like that, some people will get TinyDickSyndrome and claim they are TCCC/EMT/whatever, when in fact they are not. The second part in this is to not rely on the medical experiences of the students (what if it’s the heart surgeon who NDs into his own chest? Or has a stroke? Or? Or? Or?), but use them as a supplement.
6. Have a designated person meet the EMS, if that’s the plan, at the entrance/gate to the range, in order to guide them to the exact location. You could also forward stage the patient at a central location on the range complex if that makes it easier. If the range is private, IE a locked gate, then the person must have the ability to unlock and open that gate. So a key or badge or passcode or whatever.
7. Hold a thorough “dirt dive” of the medical equipment, the aid bag, the transport car, the phone call, and so on. Length: up to you. Until you feel comfortable that the students are all on the same page. Those 10-15 minutes could mean the difference in a successful CASEVAC, or something less stellar. No student in their mind would view that a waste of time. End the Dirt Dive with a back brief from the students. It helps sink in the points of the plan, and will expose any flaws, or those who did not pay enough attention. This is the money maker.
8. Securing the scene of the incident. This will be clutch for helping any follow on investigation. You’re obviously the SME in this regard from your vault of LEO experience as an OIS investigator.
9. View all the above through the prism of PACE- Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency.
10. Tweak as needed and tailor as you like. METT-TC rules the roost. A no shit check list is absolutely necessary to hit all these points during a class. Measure twice, cut once.
The above is not meant in any way to imply that you haven’t thought of this, or that you are not versed in it. It’s just my stream of consciousness in this regards. Hard lessons learned and techniques validated here and over there. Please do not hesitate to get with me if you have any feedback, comments or questions for me. Hopefully this helps, and works for you.
Overall the class went well, considering the weather conditions and the need for very frequent water and cooling breaks. The students ranged in experience from former special operations, to experienced LE firearms trainers, to people new to CCW and the shooting world. Students were motivated and attentive, “That Guy” was conspicuously absent.
All but one of the students used a Glock 9mm for the class, several G19s and 34s were on the line. One student used a S&W Shield for the first half of the day, then switched to his G19 for the rest of the class. Due to the use of quality handguns, and for the most part quality ammo, gun issues were non existent for the day. The only stoppages I noted were one fail-to-fire with reloaded “seconds” ammo from the Shield, and those induced as part of the training using dummy rounds.
Lessons learned in the class include that clothing choices matter when one carries CCW, and clothing can not be picked willy-nilly, it must be tested for draw stroke compatibility beforehand. Several clothing malfunctions occurred during the class, lessons were learned, and adjustments made.
One student found that riding the reset as is taught by Glock and several other trainers and schools may not be a good idea as it can induced “trigger freeze” while trying to run the gun under stress. I am a strong advocate for “reset during recoil” and getting back to “slack out” instead of riding the reset, and for this very reason.