Saving officers’ lives: The value of tactical medical training and IFAKs

Recent mass emergency response events have emphasized the importance of equipping police with proper first aid training and equipment


By Andrew Cannito, Founder of the Homeland Security Network at American Military University

During the United States’ engagement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, soldiers were dying from what was considered preventable battlefield wounds. In order to save more lives, the United States Department of Defense began conducting research into the causes and subsequent solutions to these battlefield deaths. Its findings showed that hemorrhaging (massive arterial bleeding) was the leading cause of preventable battlefield casualties, followed closely by compromised airways.

In response to this research, the military underwent a massive revamping of its first responder program, improving training for non-medical military personnel and issuing the first modern Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) to personnel. IFAK’s were first used during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and more widely used during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The program also developed a new standard of tactical medical training for all troops called Tactical Combat Casualty Care or TCCC (pronounced “TC3”). TCCC found a place in both the Combat Life Saver program (for non-medical personnel) and in each of the branch’s medical corps training curriculums.

An officer performing CPR. (Photo/In Public Safety)
An officer performing CPR. (Photo/In Public Safety)

These improvements to first responder protocol proved to be highly successful for the military and have saved countless lives on the battlefield.

Read more: Saving Officers’ Lives: The Value of Tactical Medical Training and IFAKs

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