Range days have changed a lot since I first started shooting guns. When I was a kid we pretty much shot clay targets with shotguns, or plinked around with grandpas old 22lr. Everybody preached gun safety, but none of the adults had first aid supplies to deal with a traumatic injury on the range...
A modern "Range Day" now consists of drawing and shooting from holsters, shooting carbines and AR's and movement. Most now train with a purpose behind every round sent down range, the modern shooter is not just there to put holes in paper, but to actually better himself.
But when is the last time you incorporated medical training into your range day?
It can be just a quick 10 minute refresher to actually deploy your IFAK and run through the basics. Here are some easy medical drills you can do on the range with your trauma kit.
- Tourniquet Application Challenge: Tell your buddy he is hit in the...ok maybe not there..just pick a limb. Count out loud while he has to deploy his tourniquet from his trauma kit and apply it to the specified area. Goal For This Drill: Deploy and apply the tourniquet in Under 45 Seconds
- CPR/Choking Fire Drill: This is a great one that can help mimic the surprise of an emergency. At my house we have a stuffed bear that we use, but any stuffed animal or even a pillow can work. Bring that bear with you to the range, and when you guys are taking a water/snack break throw it at one of your buddies, saying something like "Choking 5 Year Old". Most people will freeze up...because even if they happen to be currently certified in CPR they probably haven't practiced since that training. Medical Skills Are Perishable! You can lay the bear on the ground and call out a scenario like: 50 Year old man having a heart attack and see how your group of bad ass range buddies reacts. Who is calling 911? Who is starting CPR? Who is looking for a defibrillator? Who has a CPR Face Mask for mouth to mouth?
- Wounded Man Scenarios: You and your buddies can each come up with a medical scenario and then ask the other to walk through your response. An Example Scenario: You come across a man with a gunshot wound to the chest and you only have your range trauma kit to deal with it. You can walk yourself through how you would react, actually deploy your trauma kit from where you keep it stored, don your gloves, and take out the items from your kit that you would use. You don't have to open up the sealed items and waste them, just pull them out and imagine, what will you find inside that pack of chest seals? Did you know that there is gauze included in them to wipe the wound free of blood and other muck? Should you be checking for an exit wound? What is the point of the vents on the chest seals for? What position should you lay somebody in when they have a penetrating chest injury?
- Skills Practice: Do you have some old gauze or an extra Israeli bandage, maybe even an old padded aluminum splint. With a few old or extra items you can get a lot of hands on training done, practice bandaging wounds, forming and securing splints and slings, making improvised chest seals using the wrappers from the other supplies, ect...This might be a $50 investment but most of this stuff can be re-used over and over again for your training sessions. It is so good to actually get your hands on the items in your IFAK, open them up, and work with them. Familiarity is a lifesaver in an emergency.
I hope that this little list of exercises motivates you to incorporate some medical training into your next range day or just into your week. Now get out there and Live The Creed, together we can help save lives.