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Tactical Care Training Improves Survivability

Tactical Combat Casualty Care, which implements the best medical practices in battlefield trauma care, is now replacing Self-Aid Buddy Care techniques for providing basic care to wounded airmen before they get to a medical facility.

Comparisons to previous versions of pre-hospital care show massive hemorrhages are the leading cause of preventable death across the Defense Department. Because of this, TCCC trainers use the acronym "MARCH" to help service members remember which order to provide care to increase a wounded service member's chances of survival.

A service member stands at a podium to address other service members.
Casualty Care
Air Force Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, 325th Fighter Wing safety technician, teaches a Tactical Combat Casualty Care at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., July 21, 2022. The technique implements the most recent medical practices in battlefield trauma care.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Lewis
VIRIN: 220721-F-JE952-1100C

 
"The five skills associated with TCCC are 'M' for massive bleeding, 'A' for airway and resuscitation, 'R' for respiration, 'C' for circulation and 'H' for hypothermia," Vicks added. "Because people can die from massive bleeding and hemorrhages at a faster rate, that needs to be addressed first. There's no point in treating hypothermia if someone dies from blood loss."
 
TCCC was created by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, which is composed of 42 voting members across the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. These members use research data and real-world expertise to develop the best practices for medical response.
 
"The committee sits down and looks at what is and isn't working," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Madry, 325th Medical Group noncommissioned officer in charge of education and training. "They do research and compare it to [previous wartimes]. After evaluating the numbers, TCCC is shown to save more lives."
 
The actions of first responders or a fellow wingman often make the difference between life or death after an airman is injured on the battlefield.
 
"Switching to TCCC gives us a wider variety of skills that can be utilized on the battlefield," said Air Force Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, 325th Fighter Wing safety technician. "It's not just because this can be better used in real-world scenarios, but because there may not always be medics available. This allows the average airman the ability to provide a basic level of life-saving care."

One service member examines the hand of another service member.
Combat Casualty Care
Air Force Staff Sgt. Alan Garcia, right, a 325th Fighter Wing command post emergency management controller, checks to see if Air Force Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, the wing’s safety technician, has feeling in his hand after applying a pressure bandage at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., July 21, 2022. Applying pressure bandages is one of the skills taught in Tactical Combat Casualty Care, a pre-hospital medical care technique implemented to reduce the number of battlefield deaths.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Lewis
VIRIN: 220721-F-JE952-1132C

 
Another change associated with the switch to TCCC is the teaching style. Aside from some instructional videos, TCCC is primarily taught hands-on.
 
"My favorite part of training [service members in] TCCC is the hands-on skills training," Vicks continued. "Personally, I think you learn more from a hands-on environment versus written training. I will work with you until you pass and have the necessary skills."
 
Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric Dowell, the 325th Medical Group's noncommissioned officer in charge of education and training, compared the new combat casualty care as being SABC "on steroids."

Since the development of TCCC, the U.S. military now has the best casualty survival rate recorded in history and is now the accepted pre-hospital care across DOD.

By August 2023, 100% of active-duty members are slated to be trained on TCCC with a goal of having no preventable deaths.

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