I signed up for S & S Training Solutions Care Under Fire Course because I teach a lot of firearms classes to some very novice students and I wanted to be better prepared in case I should ever have to deal with a gunshot wound. I had taken training with the Red Cross and my local ambulance district, but I was looking for something more in-depth, dealing specifically with trauma.
The class was primarily taught by Cole Sammons a combat infantryman and Kyle Wright a combat medic. While both of these men knew their material and had plenty of battlefield experience to back to boot, what I appreciated most was their gift as teachers. Although the students came from a variety of back grounds ranging from EMTs to guys with no experience, no matter what level of skill or knowledge a particular student had they were always seeking to bring him up to the next level.
As the Course name "Care Under-Fire" would indicate this class focused on the kind of care an infantryman might need to administer on the actual battlefield. That being said I should point out what this class is not. You won't be learning to set up a MASH unit and do direct blood transfusions, suture wounds or re-inflate collapsed lungs. This class focused on stabilizing the casualty and getting him either back into the fight or to a place where he could be safely evacuated. If you are interested in the higher level grid down "ditch medicine", I recommend you take this class first, once you see the level of manpower required in just the initial treatment and evacuation of a critically wounded person, you may rethink your grid down hospital fantasy.
The class was mostly hands on and used the crawl, walk, run teaching method. First we had a brief classroom session followed by hands on practice of the various techniques and procedures. Then we quickly moved to the obstacle course. A common fault of firearms/survival instructors is that they often water down the physical aspect of their subject matter. I am happy to say that is not the case at S&S we had to sprint in full kit 100 yards carrying two 5 gallon jugs of water, then low crawl 20 yards to our first casualty, while the op-for fired blanks and threw smoke grenades at us. There we had to assess the situation, rally any comrades who could still fight and neutralize the op-for, only after we had stopped the incoming fire and established security could we begin moving and treating the wounded.
So why the blanks, obstacles and pyro? Simple, it all creates stress, it is relatively easy to sit in a class room and apply a tourniquet without all the smoke, noise and confusion. Remember a human being can bleed to death in as little as 3 minutes; you want to be able to do this under any circumstances without fumbling. Which brings to mind another point, these guys are combat experienced, and some of what they teach is the exact opposite of what you will learn in the world of civilian first aid. Not saying one is right and the other wrong, it all depends on the situation.
After the obstacle course we moved on to fire team and squad sized operations. If you come to an S&S class be prepared to do infantry stuff. The emphasis of this class was medical, but we still got in some patrolling and reaction to ambush. Again this may seem out of place until you think about it, no one schedules an emergency, they happen when you are trying to get other things done, again more stress.
This doesn't even begin to cover the things we learned in this class, but I hope to give an idea what it was like to anyone who might be interested, be warned it's all about problem solving. Cole likes to throw you surprises and see how you deal with it. He even tossed in a couple moral and ethical dilemmas.
If you spend time around firearms and knives, or just like infantry stuff, I highly recommend this class. You will learn how to treat trauma wounds and what supplies you need to do it.
Blogs and Product reviews from the staff of S & S Training Solutions!