Want To Learn How To Survive A Combat Wound? Join The NRA.

The National Rifle Association started in 1871 as a training organization, and they have been supplying gun safety and shooting courses to the public ever since.  They claim to have more than 100,000 certified trainers (I happen to be one of them) who, in addition to providing training in all kinds of small arms, also serve as the organization’s ‘shock troops’ by promoting the aims, values and member benefits of the NRA.

medic             So I couldn’t help but notice an email I received today from the gang at Fairfax advertising two new training courses and one course in particular, Emergency Casualty Care Course, being offered three times next year.  The instructor, Gary Melton, is connected to an outfit called Paramount Tactical Solutions, located in the mountains about 50 miles northwest of DC, and their logo, ‘survival is paramount’ tells you all you really need to know. Melton says that he deployed four times to war zones as a Green Beret and then was a Senior Special Tactics Instructor with a ‘federal agency’ that he doesn’t name.  Okay, that’s fine.  A guy’s gotta earn a living, I have no issue with that.

But I do have an issue with the topics covered in the course, which teaches students how to “take action and save a life.” And what kind of action will you learn to take? Well, for beginners there’s non-trauma medical events like choking, diabetes stroke and cardiac arrest.  Then you go on to trauma care, in particular hemorrhage control through tourniquets and wound packing.  And then after you stop the bleeding you study something called drags and carries and learn how to make an improvised litter to get the body out to somewhere.

The course only costs $1,250 (transportation, lodging and meals are not included in the fee) and at the end you receive a ‘First Care Provider Certification’ even though it’s not clear exactly who is certifying what.  Oops, before I forget, there’s also a discussion about medical equipment, in particular what you should carry around every day and you also get a medical kit “stocked with professional-level equipment” for use when the need might arise.

And if there’s any doubt in your mind as to when or if this whole, cockamamie nonsense might actually be put to use, the entire course begins with a lecture on ‘Tactical Combat Casualty Care History,’ which is another way of saying that you’re going out to West Virginia to play soldier boy with some medical gear instead of a gun.

Now I thought the NRA was devoted to gun training but obviously I’m somewhat behind the times.  Because we all know that we live in a world where all sorts of bad things can happen on the spur of the moment and you have to be trained and ready to help ensure the survival of victims from all sorts of tactical combat attacks.

Want to get serious about what happens after a tactical attack? Take a look at the report issued by the State of Massachusetts that evaluated, among other things, the medical response to the marathon bombing that occurred on April 15, 2013.  Three people were more or less instantly killed when the device went off, but 60 critically-injured patients were triaged immediately and then sent off to different hospitals where they all survived their wounds.  And the reason that so many badly-injured men and women survived was because the Boston Marathon happens to be a favorite activity for young physicians, of whom many just happened to be standing around the finish line at the time the bomb went off.

You don’t learn how to stop bleeding because an army medic wraps a bandage around your arm.  You also don’t learn how to defend yourself with a gun by going out and firing a few rounds. But if the NRA is the last word on training about how to use guns, why shouldn’t they also be the last word about how to behave when someone gets shot with a gun?


6 thoughts on “Want To Learn How To Survive A Combat Wound? Join The NRA.

  1. Other than that, does anyone know if Paramount Tactical Solutions is a recognized first aid/EMT training provider? I would hate to take all that training and then get the bejeezus sued out of me first time I used it on someone.

    • I took the class when it was brand new. I had buddy care when deploying into Iraq and Afghanistan and this was better then what the Air Force offered me. If you have a family this is a good course to have. The instructor was an 18D, he knew his stuff. The certificate was not offered when I took it so can not speak to that.

  2. It’s a shooting range but this course isn’t connected to it. The course instructor is connected to it. Obviously if anyone gives first aid to a sick person they could conceivably end up in court. Layers do what lawyers do.

    • The question of “who is certifying what” does come to mind. Some of these sound like advanced techniques and I wonder if various states good samaritan laws would apply or if one would be run up for practicing advanced techniques without certification:


      “…Successful completion of a state-approved Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course that meets or exceeds the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards for the Emergency Medical Technician. “

  3. Famous big city marathons often have more people wanting to run than there is room for. Generally, there is an unspoken set of rules for letting people sign up. First priority goes to MDs – because they can be good to have around for obvious reasons. Next, overseas travelers – because they will spend money. Last on the list are locals without any prior finishes. The biggest impact of widespread low level emergency training is to reduce panic in the case of an event. Even MDs quickly forget what they are taught in an Advanced Cardiac Life Support class if they do not practice it regularly. (This has been studied to death.) As I have said, the real value to society of a well managed program for concealed handgun licenses is not the skills of the license holders but the improvement in honesty for all concerned and the lode of digital info that accrues to law enforcement.

  4. No one could be less informed before writing a blog posting. Did you call Gary at Paramount Tactical Solutions, and talk to him? He is not hard to find.

    I took the NRA carbine class last fall that Gary and his instructors presented, and found it very much worth the time and effort. It was good enough that I have enrolled in further training with Paramount Tactical Solutions. In the course of my enrollment, they have responded to numerous emails within 24 hours.

    One does not wrap a bandage around an arm to stop bleeding, and I doubt any Army medic would teach that. If it is life threatening bleeding, one uses a tourniquet or a pressure dressing. Sort of like the ones that are covered in the course.

    Where in the report from Mass. that you referenced does it say that the last thing needed at a mass casualty incident are first responders with training and equipment to render immediate life saving aid? The victims at the Boston Marathon bombing may have benefited from so many doctors in the vicinity, but not every marathon or public event has that resource available. Rather than criticize the NRA and Paramount Tactical Solutions for trying to expand the resource, you could promote it.

    You probably aren’t aware of it because you were too busy with your cockamamie nonsense, but there is a developing area of emergency medicine dealing with mass causalities caused by bombing or shooting incidents, vehicles driving into crowds, etc. Check them out at http://c-tecc.org/. They are the TCCC and TECC mentioned in the NRA ad.

    If you wish to be informed, rather than peddle your snark, read “First Responder Guide for Improving Survivability in Improvised Explosive Device and/or Active Shooter Incidents.” Note the definition on page 9, “The term “first responder” does not imply a formal credential, certification, limitation, or capacity. First responders may include bystanders, law enforcement, and EMS and fire personnel.” From page 6, “First responders should incorporate tourniquets and hemostatic agents as part of treatment for severe
    bleeding (if allowed by protocol). Tourniquets and hemostatic agents have been demonstrated to be quick and effective methods for preventing exsanguination from extremity wounds (tourniquets) and other severe external bleeding (hemostatic agents).” I bet if you talk to Gary, he would discuss that with you.

    I took an evening course on TECC presented by a local ER doctor. In short order, the class was able to apply a tourniquet that met his requirements to provide the victim the best chance to survive.

    I doubt that the NRA claims to be the last word on training about how to use guns. At least they haven’t in the 20+ years I have been an instructor. However, you might learn with modest effort that the NRA is trying to make available training about how to behave when someone gets shot with a gun. Or, injured in an automobile accident.

    Mike, another gun guy

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