Three dozen Humboldt County fire, emergency medical, and law enforcement personnel this week completed an intensive tactical combat critical care training.
The three-day training was jointly sponsored by the Fortuna Police Department and Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and was held at the Fire Hall in Fortuna.
Representatives of the Fortuna Police and Fire Departments, City Ambulance, Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department, Humboldt Bay Fire, Cal Fire, Arcata Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Veteran’s Administration, and Humboldt State University Police Department participated in the training.
Those involved were briefed through lectures, demonstrations, and videos of actual casualty lifesaving techniques, the same taught to front line military combat medics and hospital corpsmen.
“This level of training is rare outside of the military, and when it is available, is very expensive,” said Enoch Ibarra, Crime Prevention Specialist with the Fortuna Police Department.
Ibarra said there were two reasons this training opportunity was brought to Humboldt County: “(One) is to keep our agencies from having to travel outside of the county to gain these skills, and the other is to help our people gain some advanced skills that may help save a life.”
This course was modified to include various types of emergency responders who would realistically be at the scene of a major incident and the majority of the hands-on training involved scenarios where each of the techniques were put into practice on another person or on dummies specially designed to simulate actual casualties. The scenarios were those that might be actually encountered in the field, and which all of the lifesaving techniques taught in the training could be put into practice.
Specific skills taught included the proper use of tourniquets, field dressings, and effective treatment of penetrating wounds to various parts of the body, as well as field treatment of head, limb, chest, junctional and abdominal injuries while under fire. In addition to teaching these techniques, the participants were taught how to safely and effectively evacuate an injured person in an immediately dangerous situation.
Course instructors were representatives of the U.S. Army Combat Medics and U.S. Air Force PJs (pararescue medical personnel).
“We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Army and Air Force for making this training available to us at no cost,” Ibarra said, “and for sending us the high caliber of instructors to train us.”