MTO: Stop the Bleed Training

MTO: Stop the Bleed Training

It's pretty well without saying that training is useful in advance of an emergency. I've been carrying TQ's around for a couple years now after consensus has started coming out that these devices save lives. Fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the time the first person on the scene is a civilian like myself. I've watch YouTube videos on how these things work, but in reality, I needed the training. For one, legal liability. My state has Good Samaritan laws, but you certainly don't want to cause more harm to the person you're attempting to treat. Plus if you have formal training, you don't have to stand up before a judge and say "but I watched some YouTube videos on it!"

Now, for the record, I am remarkably squeamish talking about anything medical. Less so when I'm actually doing something medical (weird, I know), but I was concerned I'd just pass out or at least squirm like like a hungover junkie during class.

Turns out this was an unfounded fear. The class itself was descriptive without being just straight up graphic images of horrible accidents. And the fake blood didn't phase me. But be aware of that if you do take one of these classes, i.e. wear old clothes. I tried to be clean and I still got it on me.

Anyways, the class itself we went over the situations where you'd want to use a TQ, an Israeli bandage, gauze, Quikclot, etc and when you'd want to use each.  Then we went through exercises using each.

One of the first exercises was actually TQ'ing ourselves. A word for those who haven't done it, it hurts if you do it right. I had bruises afterwards from the TQ. We also TQ'd our legs and went for a walk. Very challenging but possible to walk with. Our instructor recommended using a training TQ while doing our firing drills too. Probably a very wise idea.

Wound packing was also pretty exciting. Definitely effective, but you're going to have someone screaming at you. A 9mm bullethole looks more like a .22 bullethole in someone's skin because the skin closes around it somewhat. And you have to dig your finger into that to pack gauze into the wound.

We had an RN in my class as well. In his words, he took the class because while he knew how to remove the TQ's, he didn't know that much about actually applying them. His insight was great to have in the class though.

All in all, I did have a lot of fun in the class (not the key point but always a morale boost), and learned a lot.  Now I feel confident to step forward should (God forbid) I have to use these skills. I pray to God I just have to go in every few years for a refresher on these skills, and that's all I ever use them, but if you're training to protect yourself and potentially take a life in the process, why wouldn't you also want to know how to save a life?

For my next steps, I'll probably wait a year or so, then go for a more advanced version of the class.  The class I took was 4 hours, but Dark Angel Medical has a 2 day long version of the class called Direct Action Response Training that covers not only B-CON doing so during an active shooter situation (cover, concealment, etc), breathing control, etc.  That'll likely be my next target.  Also CPR/AED use (which I had intended to take before the Stop the Bleed class but ended up not being able to attend).

It's worth noting that these classes are meant for situations in or near a city where the ambulance and paramedics aren't too far away. For wilderness and off-the-grid situations, these classes are not sufficient. Some day I may work on that too. One bucket list item is NOLS' Alaskan Backcountry Hiking Trip.  Two weeks in the back country of Alaska learning survival skills. Maybe once my kids are older...

To bring this to a close, my recommendation to you dear reader, is to get started with something. I started off with just the 4 hour version of this class, but I'm already rearing to go on the next steps. And do think about gearing up more. I believe more concealed carriers in the country will help reverse the increasing violent crimes sweeping our nation. I also believe more civilians carrying TQ's and trauma kits will save more lives as we, the first on the scene, can help our fellow man just long enough for the professionals to get there.

Remember, when seconds count (femoral artery trauma is 30 seconds to bleed-out), help is only minutes away.