Recently I drove down to little Camden, Tennessee to take a few classes with Tactical Response: Fighting Pistol and Immediate Action Medical. For those of you who are not familiar with Tactical Response, it is a training company run by James Yeager: former civilian contractor, controversial YouTube user, and controversial human being for that matter.
I went to this class because, as you all know, I teach concealed carry classes and well as run the Bloomington IDPA. I am around firearms constantly and I want to be prepared in case the worst happened.
So let’s break it down to the Who? What? Where? When? and Why?:
Who needs to take this class?
Absolutely everyone. Even if you are not a “gun person” you need this class. Guns play a very small roll in this class, it is focused on rendering aid to yourself and others. These skills transfer to treating victims of car accidents, industrial accidents, and more!
If you are in a solo car-accident, and you are the only one who can render yourself aid, you will need this class.
It is often said that if you have the ability to induce trauma, you should have the ability to treat trauma. I cannot agree with this statement more!
Who are the type of people that took the class?
There was a range of students at the class. Most of the students were just regular people: architects, IT guys, corrections officers, college students, retirees, competitive shooters, some military, and more! Most were very nice and polite, great conversation was had, and I made a few friends.
There were a few “I’m more tactical than thou.” people in class, but you will get that anywhere. My advice is to not worry about what the “tacticool” guys think and just focus on what you are there to do, train to make yourself better and prepared.
My primary focus was on treating trauma that I am most likely to come across. As I teach my concealed carry classes and run the IDPA club, more than likely what I would face is a gun shot wound.
Who taught the class?
Unfortunately, throughout my 5 days in Camden, TN, I never did get to meet the man himself, James Yeager. He was out traveling. This does not mean that I received a lesser quality product from Tactical Response.
The class was taught by Calvin Lim, Jordan Winkler, and The Dave Biggers Experience. All of the instructors brought their own dynamic to the class: Calvin lead the class and was precise and firm in his instruction, Jordan was a bit more soft spoken, and The Dave Biggers Experience added comedy, but when the time came he could be very serious.
All of the instructors care deeply about the success of their students, and it shows! You may be called a bonehead or a dumb-ass, but when you correct whatever it was you were doing wrong, you are always met with a “good job” or a couple of pats on the shoulder.
What did you do to prepare for the class?
I had been wanting to build out a trauma kit for a very long time, and I debated building one before I went to the class so I cold practice with the kit i put together. In the end I realized it it was going to be more beneficial to wait until after class to build out the kit and here is why:
- I found out what I needed and what I didn’t need, and why.
- I learned what I liked and didn’t like, and why.
- I learned how to properly use the gear before I ordered it and it just sat idle.
My advice would be to take the class before ordering anything. As part of the class you do receive a Ventilated Operators Kit (VOK) to use in the class, more information on the VOK can be found here.
What did you do in class?
We started off by going over various legal and moral ramifications of giving aid. This included the good samaritan laws. We also covered the why and how to protect yourself first when rendering aid. After this we discussed the initial assessment of the patient, this included assessing current and potential future danger from bad guys and environmentals. Bad guys were the the number one focus. In a class about injuries that were induced from gun shots and knife wounds, this made a lot of sense!
We also covered all of the items that were in the VOK and how to use them:
- Tourniquets. The kit includes a TK4 tourniquet which we used repeatedly in class for several drills: blood loss, amputation, etc.
- H-Bandage. We used these repeatedly in class as well over several drills, we duct-taped the bandage because otherwise they would come apart for the drills.
- Gauze. The gauze that comes in the VOK is regular gauze, no quick-clot added. We also used this for several drills. How I simulated it was to make a fist over the “wound” and pack it into my fist. I was really surprised as to how much gauze you could pack into a wound.
- NPA. The NPA tube is inserted into the nasal passage to create an airway. We did have to use the NPA from the VOK. I had to use the included surgical lube to insert it into another student’s nose. It was not the most comfortable thing in the world, and if you are prone to easy nose bleed’s you may ask to sit this one out. There was one student in class who when he removed his tube, he had in instant stream of blood come out of his nose. He was fine.
- Needle. A 14 gauge needle is included in the VOK. This is for decompressing a tension pneumothorax. We used an already open needle on some pork ribs. We had to locate the third rib and insert the needle. Obviously it is easier to do on non-moving ribs. In the real world your patient is going to be gasping and moving.
- Occlusive Dressing. This is used for sealing off a chest, abdomen, or neck wound. It can be sealed with duct tape. Or you can use a commercial chest seal like the Halo chest seal. A commercial dressing is not included in the VOK, but you can use the packaging as an occlusive dressing.
- Also in the VOK was a pair of gloves, safety pins, duct tape, and alcohol wipes.
What did you think of the training?
The training was fantastic and worth every penny. I came out with much more knowledge than I went in with. If I had to rate the training: 5 stars, 10/10, 100%, A+. The instructors were great, provided individual attention, and ate dinner and lunch with the students. This gave us all an opportunity to meet and get to know each other and ask questions of the instructors. You will enjoy this training regardless of your previous training experience. I plan to, and have, practice the drills we did in class, in order to get those actions into my muscle memory.