Austere, Survival and Disaster Medicine
The tactical medic’s role not only pertains to the battlefield or swat environment, they should be prepared to treat and extract patients in wilderness, swift water, Haz-mat, disaster and wild land fire operations in extreme weather from frigid cold to blistering heat and geographical obstacles. Tactical considerations should always be in the operator’s mind as soon as they are deployed. These environments require special attention due to elevated hazardous conditions that require specialized gear and equipment such as Haz-mat suits, breathing apparatus, flotation gear and body armor to mention a few. Specialized air monitoring equipment, stretchers/ litters, rope rigging, webbing, carabineers and PPE for the patient must be carried by the operator(s) as well. Once the operator(s) makes patient contact, they have to stabilize immediate life threats, don PPE on the patient, rig up extraction devices and safely move their team and patient to decon then on to the CCP (casualty collection point) while maintaining patient stability. Given the AO (area of operation) the extraction may be a few yards or a several kilometers - we must be trained and prepared to do what is necessary to complete the mission.
Tactical considerations should include the operator’s PPE, medical equipment, extraction equipment, patient’s PPE, egress, extraction points and contingency plans. These decisions will be based upon time, terrain, weather, geography, patients and resources available. True tactical medics are leaders; we create solutions and become a force multiplier.