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Monday, September 19, 2011

Combat, first-aid training prepare troops for tour in Afghanistan

In 2006 General Hillier ordered that all deploying soldiers in any area of operations would receive this type of first aid training.   It saves and has saved hundreds of lives.
The Medical Service was not happy and even stated publicly that not all soldiers should get this training and it should only be reserved for 'exceptional" soldiers.

Imagine how many lives would had been lost had the ego of the medical branch won out?

"However, reports in 2007 indicated that "the director of the military's health services branch, Col. Maureen Haberstock, has criticized the proposal, saying combat casualty care is training that should be reserved for 'exceptional' soldiers."

Lt.-Cmdr. Ian Torrie, a physician expert in combat casualty training, was further quoted as saying in an interview: "The people who are going to get this extra training, you really want your brightest person. You really don't want everybody to have it. Some of the skills taught, if performed unnecessarily or incorrectly can be harmful, or even fatal."

Canadian Forces members conduct training at CFB Edmonton in combat first aid training on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

EDMONTON — About a dozen soldiers, weapons at the ready, cautiously walk down a narrow gravel alley, between rows of nondescript modular buildings.
Suddenly a loud bang cuts through their hushed voices and a plume of smoke extends from a doorway.

The air is quickly filled with a flurry of loud, urgent instructions, and soldiers take off in every direction, securing the area as casualties are assessed.
A few soldiers apply immediate, life-saving care to the injured before they are moved to a safer location for a more thorough assessment.

“I need a stretcher. Get me a stretcher,” shouts one soldier.
Canadian Forces members deal with an injured soldier in a simulation of an urban Afghan setting at CFB Edmonton in combat first aid on Saturday, September 17, 2011.
Another soldier radios in a description of the injuries — an unconscious man with both his legs amputated in the blast and a second man with severe leg wounds. Both these people are carried to an open area where they’ll be flown away by a helicopter for treatment.
The incident was part of a combat first-aid training exercise Sunday for members of the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force at CFB Edmonton.
It’s a scenario soldiers could encounter at any moment while serving in Afghanistan, even in their new training role known as Operation Attention.

Everyone in the Canadian Forces, regardless of trade, occupation and rank, has to be taught combat first aid before they’re deployed.  “You have to be prepared for everything,” said Lt. Col. Ian Barnes of the Canadian Forces Signal Corps.

“First aid training is key. No one’s going to say they’ve had too much first aid training, whether it’s to help ... our own Canadian Forces or coalition members, or the local population.”

The two-day training program gives soldiers a day of lectures and practical skills in a classroom before they’re sent onto a training field at the base, designed to replicate an urban Afghanistan setting.

Over about eight hours, the soldiers are presented with six different simulations to prepare for everything from an insurgent attack to the aftermath of an improvised explosive device going off.

“It is quite realistic, within the training context. Your heart rate is increased. It’s time sensitive,” said Barnes, who has been with the Canadian Forces for 16 years and has done one tour in Afghanistan.

The instruction is part of the preparation for the NATO-led training mission in Afghanistan. Canada is one of 29 countries supporting the mission, which is comprised of about 2,600 advisers and trainers, and is set to stay in the country until March 2014.

While the simulations are designed to build upon soldiers’ basic first-aid knowledge, the Afghan setting presents unique challenges, said Sgt. Chris Gillis of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry 3rd Battalion.

“When you walk into an initial scenario, what we try to do is replicate a realistic training environment,” Gillis said. “And with that comes a little bit of induced stress to see how people perform under that kind of stress.”

Before soldiers can deliver first aid, the area around them has to be secure, Gillis said.
And although Canada’s role in Afghanistan has changed from combat to training, the threat from insurgent groups remains.

“The threat can come from anywhere. They can hide in the populace.”

That means maintaining a 360-degree “security bubble” before casualties are moved to a safer area and eventually transported to a field hospital, he said.

Because about 90 per cent of battlefield deaths are caused by bleeding, administering effective first aid at the scene is crucial, he added.

But those skills can also help treat everything from a gunshot wound to injuries sustained in a car crash.

The intention is to pass on this expertise to members of the Afghan National Army, in hopes of creating a fully trained, self-sustainable force by the end of the mission, Gillis said.
“We’re not there to tell them how to reinvent the wheel. We’re there to work with them.”

Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/canada-in-afghanistan/Combat+first+training+prepare+troops+tour+Afghanistan/5421954/story.html#ixzz1YT94eA17

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