Date: November 23rd and 24th 2013
Instructors: Lee Vernon and Brannon LeBouef
Location: Impact Zone Hempstead, TX
This class was a collaboration between Lee Vernon of Combative Weapon Solutions and Brannon LeBouef of NOLATAC. Lee who is a Austin, TX EMT of 20+ years taught the Critical Care portion of the class while Brannon taught the firearms portion. Both have a wealth of knowledge in both fields and worked well jumping in with each other while instructing and in discussions with the class. This was my first "trauma" class to take but after listening to respected friends and instructors I have come away with the view that in civilian life you will have a greater opportunity to use medical training than actually using a firearm in a lethal encounter. That said I'm not discounting firearms training and the fact that this was advanced handgun made it all the better. So the mindset I went into this class with was "if your going to know how to poke holes you better know how to plug them too."
The class started with a general why are you here and what are you looking to get from the class. There were short intros and it was off and running. The amount of information covered was considerable but the way the curriculum was presented made it easy to take it in. Be ready to take notes! There is no way you can absorb the information without them and be ready for smoke flying off your pen! All kidding aside I took extensive notes and Lee provided us with the PowerPoint so I've been able to go back and fill some holes putting the two together. So here is just a list of what was covered:
Ethics and legality
Psychology and Physiology under stress
Body Alarm Response
Safety and scene considerations
Basic Anatomy and Physiology and Assessment
Treatment of Systemic Injuries
Tourniquets, Bandages, Hemostatic Agents, Occlusive Devices, Nasal Airway
Sucking Chest Wound (all chest wounds suck!)
Cover Vs. Concealment
So you can see there was a ton covered in the classroom. The fact that Lee is a EMT and Brannon a LEO there was a priceless amount of life experience and application that went with all the above. The rest of the day was spent in hands on training. Wound packing was practiced on a cut of beef that had a 9mm and 40 gunshot wounds. Tourniquets were applied to patients and to yourself using CAT, SOFTT-W, and SWAT-T. Nasal airway and bandages were preformed on Resusci Anne. The class was fairly small so the hands on portion was extensive and with lots of one on one with Lee and Brannon. I found while working with the different tourniquets putting them on others and applying them to myself which ones worked well for me in both circumstances and what ones are now in my IFAK's.
The second day was on the range and started with the safety brief and covering the four life safety rules. We jumped right into shooting strong hand only and support hand only. This lead into manipulating your firearm with one hand. Can you reach the mag release or the slide release if you only have your support hand. What do you need to do if your slide doesn't lock back in a reload with one hand. Reloads with strong and support hand only. It was stressed that it's not about speed it's thinking through problem and solving it. One great thing about Lee and Brannon is there was no "you have to do it this way." Brannon stressed that you may have to go way outside the box to solve a problem but as long as you can do it safely make it work! So as if this wasn't enough tourniquets were introduced into the equation along with cover and concealment. So the evolution eventually was address the threat, find cover, address your injury, assess your firearm, and reassess the situation. We moved on into fighting from cover and concealment and shooting strong/support hand only and how to minimize your exposure to a threat. We broke for lunch and then the rain came, heavily. So heavily that the range was flooded and shooting wasn't going to happen. So it was back up fifteen yards and punt and Brannon and Lee incorporated some force on force training on a covered porch. Simunitions were used and this turned into a very intense training session. This is the way it unfolded. You were equipped with a Glock 17, 2 tourniquets, Israeli Bandage, and a chest seal. You were introduced to a scene where there could be one or multiple injuries. Patients may or may not be responsive, unknown subjects entering the scene, and unknown threats entering the scene. Needless to say it got chaotic, my first evolution I had one patient who was shot in the left leg, a little small hobbit looking guy wondering what was going on, a bad guy who returned to finish the job while I was treating the patient, and I got shot in the right arm! So this is where you had to put it all together. First neutralize the threat, get to cover/concealment, asses injuries (yours and theirs), reassess the situation. This by far put the whole class together for me. The class ended with a debrief where we were all asked for a positive and a negative on the class. I think this is great because it's a opportunity to tell Lee and Brannon what you liked and what you feel can be improved
I could go on for days on what I learned from this class and obviously this is a AAR and I don't want to drone on. Here it is. TAKE THIS CLASS!!!!! If you carry a gun you should be carrying a medical/IFAK kit of some kind. Who knows when/where/how you will use it. I'm a truck driver by trade and who knows when I will roll up on a accident where I can at least help someone till the professionals get there. It's all about mindset. If you are going to put all that effort into training put the same amount of effort into training that can save a person too! Just my two cents. If you are wondering if you get your money's worth, a thousand times yes. Lee and Brannon put on a exceptional class and I will be training with both of them again.