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 July 09, 2010

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Combat Lifesaver course emphasizes controlling bleeding

Controlling bleeding is the most important skill taught in the Combat Lifesaver (CLS) course to mobilizing Soldiers at Fort McCoy.
PHOTO: Airmen transport a casualty on a stretcher during a Combat Lifesaver class for Joint Sourcing Training Oversight Airmen preparing to deploy to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Photo by Tom Michele
Airmen transport a casualty on a stretcher during a Combat Lifesaver class for Joint Sourcing Training Oversight Airmen preparing to deploy to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Photo by Tom Michele

Staff Sgt. Marco Torres, a combat medic and a CLS instructor with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 181st Infantry Brigade, said the three primary interventions of CLS instruction also include airway control and tension-pnemothorax (chest wound, collapsed lung).

“Bleeding is the number one preventable cause of death,” Torres said. “Everything else the CLS Soldier, Airman and Sailor does depends first on controlling the bleeding.”

Mobilized Airmen and Sailors in the Joint Sourcing Training Oversight (JSTO) classes at Fort McCoy, preparing to deploy to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, go through the same CLS classes as their Soldier counterparts.

The Army’s goal is to have all Soldiers CLS qualified, Torres said.

PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Peter Sobotta, 181st Infantry Brigade instructor, explains casualty care to a Combat Lifesaver class for Joint Sourcing Training Oversight Airmen preparing to deploy to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Photo by Tom Michele
Staff Sgt. Peter Sobotta, 181st Infantry Brigade instructor, explains casualty care to a Combat Lifesaver class for Joint Sourcing Training Oversight Airmen preparing to deploy to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The 181st handles mobilization training at Fort McCoy.
Photo by Tom Michele

“Understanding the symptoms of an injury, then treatment, then evacuation of the injured warrior is the basic flow of the course,” Torres said. CLS classes average four full days.

Instruction includes providing care while under fire, applying tourniquets, moving the wounded warrior to safety — using stretchers as necessary, bandaging wounds with chemically treated emergency trauma gauze, and tucking that bandage into wounds.

The CLS emphasis on controlling bleeding is a change from the previous emphasis on intravenous (IV) placement and fluid administration. IV duties are the responsibility of combat medics. Combat medics are sent on as many missions as possible, particularly platoon-sized elements or larger, to help ensure proper care, Torres said.

“Current instruction focuses on providing the right intervention at the right time,” Torres said. “It is to provide the proper care and treatment at the point of the wound. It all leads to the importance of CLS that is to save lives. Our mission at Fort McCoy is to ensure every Soldier, Airman and Sailor who is deploying are CLS qualified.”

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