Over the weekend 248Shooter was invited to Jackson Michigan to train with Patriot Defense Training. The subject of the class was very different from the usual handgun, carbine or shotgun training that they traditionally offer. The subject for the 2 day course was Emergency Casualty Care Class which is marketed as EC3. The focus of the class was on identifying the common causes of preventable death and learning how to stabilize a victim until trained medical professionals can arrive.
Who is This Class For?
The EC3 class is designed with the LEO’s, Range Officers, NRA Instructors and CPL holders in mind. The class was split evenly between LEO’s/Contractors and everyday Joe’s like myself. If you teach Firearms safety or spend large amounts of time either at the range or carrying a concealed weapon you need to take this class or one like it. After having sat through and learned how little I actually know about Trauma care it is safe to say everyone on this planet would be better off after taking this class.
While the emphasis was on gun and knife wounds with examples from the military world, the applications of the knowledge are certainly not limited to those arenas. Defensive wounds on the street and a slip in the kitchen with a knife can produce similar wounds.
Gun shots can produce massive bleeding holes in the body, but so can slipping off the roof and landing on a tool in your garden. As a Husband and father of 2 I shoulder the responsibility to take care of my family. I have trained countless hours with my home defense gun as well as my EDC concealed pistol. I have done this training hoping to never ever need it, but knowing that I need to be ready either way. Adding medical training to my skill set was a no brainer. If we take the logic that we train with a pistol because police are not always just seconds away why would we not take the same approach to being prepared to act as an EMT? Major bleeding can cause death in under 2 minutes which is less time than it would take just to call the ambulance.
When I was a boy there are several stupid things I did that should have ended with me being dead or paralyzed. As a father now of 2 children who seem to have my same inability to recognize danger, I cringe in fear as they head out the door. While this class has not stopped the fear of them being hurt, it has instilled a level of confidence in me to be able to handle many of the more dangerous situations they may end up in. While we can not prevent accidents we can prepare for them.
As a person who is undergoing NRA training to become a certified instructor, this classes has huge advantages. Having sat in on several classes I have had the ability to watch some great instructors. These instructors spend hours discussing gun handling before letting any student touch a weapon. I have yet to see a class however when some new naive student does not sweep the instructor or in one case the entire class with a loaded pistol. Being trained in the basics of what the EC3 class will work to both reduce your liability and further increase the survivability of yourself or a student in the event of a ND.
From a LEO standpoint, a class like this should be mandatory. I was shocked when speaking to SWAT, Sheriff and Patrol officers about how training like this is not usually covered past the academy, even then it is far more limited in scope. LEO’s take their lives and their partner’s life in their hands every single day. If your job involves you running to the sound of gunfire instead of away from it you sure as hell better know how to patch some holes.
We do not have the time here to go into everything that was taught. The class was 2 full days and close to 20 hours of training. The topics covered included but were not limited to:
- Hemorrhaging of appendages including tourniquet use.
- Hemorrhaging of the pelvic area
- Chest wounds including sucking chest wounds
- Head trauma
- NPA trumpet insertion
- Blood pressure and pulse monitoring
- Broken bones, splitting
- Internal bleeding
- Cold related injuries like hypothermia and more
- Heat related injuries like heat stroke and more
- Tactical training related to safety of care givers and victims in active shooting
- Safe removal of a victim from the line of fire
Trauma and Active Shooters
Walking away from this class was different from the CPR or other basic medical training classes I have taken. Because the class is aimed at CPL holders and LEO primarily. Extra attention is placed on the danger for caring for a person in an active shooter situation. Not only did we learn how to handle trauma, instruction was given to when and where to perform that care on a victim.
The hands on simulations often involved not only caring for the wounded person but scanning and dealing with the threat that created the wound in the first place. In combat tunnel vision and concern for your teammate will often cause caregivers to focus only on the injured person. However in a real life situation if we as the caregiver are shot or injured it greatly impairs our ability to do good. Classes like this help to instill the training needed to override those instincts and instead provide a safer level of care for the victim allowing us to be more useful in the field.
Trauma Kits Are Not Created Equal
Going into this class I had received basic wound care and CPR Instruction. Many years ago I was a lifeguard, we had a bit more training on this than the average Joe. Thinking that I might encounter trauma at the range or when hiking with the cub scouts I went and purchased a “Trauma Kit” from a well-known LEO online supplier. The kit was billed as a true “Trauma Kit” that included a tourniquet for blood loss. It was around $30 and I knew it did not have quick clot in it. My goal was to buy the kit then add the quick clot. It did come in a nice bag with good zippers and MOLLE webbing so it fit well on my range bag.
When I was told the cost of the PDT class would be $300 for the class and $150 for the med kit I was a bit surprised but certainly not shocked. With 2 instructors for a 20 hour class the $300 certainly was reasonable. A quick clot and tourniquet based IFAK is not a cheap tool. Companies like Dark Angel Medical make kits starting at $170 and go up from there. However in my infinite wisdom I thought I had them beat. $30 for my kit, $40 more for some quick clot and maybe a bit more for a few incidentals and I could get out of the class spending under $100 on my kit.
Reality set in fast when I opened my PDT kit.
When comparing the tourniquet in my first med kit to the PDT SOFTT tourniquet I was flabbergasted. I pulled Will one of the instructors aside and asked him to look at what I had. It was revealed then that the item I thought was a tourniquet was indeed the elastic band used to start an IV. This item would break quickly under the pressure needed to stop a femoral artery bleed or fail to produce the required pressure.
While the kit I had used was a good kit for basic medical needs, it contained none of the advanced trauma items included in the PDT kit.
- Halo Seals for Chest Wounds
- Nitride Gloves for Latex Allergies
- NPA Trumpet
- Israeli Bandage
- SOFTT Tourniquet
- Combat Gauze
- HD Scissors
There are other items like gauze and such but the above items are were the real investment is made. Even if you do not get the opportunity to take the class I highly recommend the purchase of the above items for your EDC or range bag. I will be keeping one kit on my EDC bag, another in my car with my get home bag. Brad at PDT is even looking at trying to trim it down further to make a kit small enough to fit in a pocket. This is great for those mall trips or errands you may not bring your EDC bag to.
Trauma Training Basics
Hemorrhaging is the number one cause of preventable death. Be it from an accident, gunshot wound, knife or other injury. The body will not survive long with major blood loss. The good news is that with advancements in training and knowledge from our conflicts in the middle east the average citizen has never been better equipped to stop bleeding and potentially save a life.
EC3 goes into great detail on the various tools available an average citizen in the war on blood loss. Be it from the very well thought out and compact medical kit included with the training, or from household available items a citizen armed with this training can greatly increase a victim’s survivability. The name of the game is down and dirty steps that will extend the time a person can go before getting professional medical help. Like in a self-defense situation seconds and minutes are the difference between scars and death or recovery time vs coma.
The class expanded into airway restrictions and the importance of preserving the ability for the body to get oxygen. The human body is a complicated network of systems and the failure of any of these bring the entire machine to a halt. Our job is to make sure that fluid stays in the body and that it remains properly oxygenated and flowing.
Value VS Cost
The class itself is $300 and another $150 for the medkit. As outlined above that med kit is priced better than typical market pricing. The class is 2 days and close to 20 hours. With the cost of the space and instructors it is hard to see how this is a money-maker for PDT. It is my guess the price will go up and soon.
As for the value it really depends on you. If you’re a parent then you know that there is no value on your childs safety. Knowing that in the event of a shooting or accident I am prepared to care for my family until help can arrive is better than any alarm system or insurance I have ever bought.
I took a CPL course, $100 then paid to register for the cpl with the state $100, then the cost of my gun $500 (it’s really a lot more but that is an average price), PP ammo for the gun $50, other training few hundred bucks as well as practice range time and ammo to that which is more like $600-$700 annually. All to train for a situation I hope to never encounter and likely never will.When you compare that to $450 for training and the kit to prepare me for a situation I am far more likely to need it becomes a no brainer.
The above is from a CPL holder stand point. If I was an operator, security, LEO, or even an instructor there is no discussion. How anyone in those fields could carry every day and knowingly face the risk of serious trauma without the knowledge to handle it is mind-blowing. In many cases the class can be a tax write off based on your job. Even if it is not $450 is a small price to pay if the day comes you ever need the kit and instruction to fix yourself, partner or loved one.
Finding 2 days and $450 to take the class can be a difficult thing especially for Michigan families who have been such a turbulent economy. You have to make the decision for yourself but if given the opportunity to do it again I would take the class a second time just to keep fresh. The value is so much more important to me then the cost or time it takes to learn these skills.