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More than two hours and a half hours of abject terror, then help arrived.

One hundred and forty minutes. That’s the amount of time between when gunmen at the Bataclan theatre began rounding up survivors/hostages after their initial killing spree, and when police began their successful assault on the theater. All told, it was over 160 minutes from the first shots to when the first responders were able to reach those inside the venue: more than two and a half hours.

ISIS’s attacks in Paris offer an extreme example of a when even the best emergency personnel cannot reach the shooting victims having to wait until the threat has been neutralized. For a period of time that is very often going to be longer than it would take someone with a serious wound to bleed out, the victims are on their own.

This is an entirely foreign scenario for most people, which adds an extra element of terror. But it’s also a scenario at least one segment of the population should be uniquely prepared for: frontline security personnel.

In recent years, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has become convinced that the lessons learned in battles abroad could also be used to protect people at home: In mass shootings and terror attacks, perhaps even the victims could be their own first responders with a little knowledge about tactical first aid.

Learning tactical first aid begins with the renown BTEC First Person on Scene Intermediate training followed by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh very apt FPHC D13 Clinical Material for Police Officers in Specialist Roles (ideally suited for Security Specialist as well).

Perhaps then you will be ready to undergo training for Tactical Combat Casualty Care which involves not just medical techniques, but threat recognition and situational awareness.

Established TCCC guidelines divide care into three stages: 1) “care under fire”; 2) “tactical field care,” or “the care rendered by the medic or corpsman once he and the casualty are no longer under effective hostile fire” but have not yet been picked up for transportation to a medical center; and 3) “combat casualty evacuation care” once in a vehicle on-route to a medical center.

A less quantifiable benefit of learning tactical first aid is empowerment which if intuitive improves resilience in the community, and decreases psychological damage especially when ordinary people have a plan in case of emergency, and so don’t feel powerless in the face of unpredictable threats.

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