We’d like to welcome a Guest Blogger: Article written by WillG, a CF Medic with multiple deployments.
When it comes to Junior Medics setting up their rig, one of the things that I see regularly is emulation of the infantry or gunfighters that they are teamed with. Weapon magazines, comms gear and illumination systems are important to all in tactical environments. Modern modular fighting rigs are to be tailored to the mission and to the soldier’s role. Our primary role as tactical medical operators is treatment of casualties, friendly or enemy.
There are a few principles that I adhere to as when setting up my fighting gear, be it chest rig, plate carrier or belt kit.
- Two is one, one is none: Critical equipment, such as lights, strobes, and gear cutters, requires redundancy. A flashlight with built in IR strobe functions can fulfill two roles thus allowing necessary redundancy while saving space and weight.
- If it is important, it gets a string: This is a principle from mountaineering that has crossed over into tactical gear. No longer do we need to use 550 or paracord. High quality gear retractors and military lanyards are commonplace now.
- Thirty Second Rule: If you do not need it within thirty seconds to save your life, a fireteam partner’s or a casualty life, it doesn’t belong in a fighting rig. This goes from primary ammo to first aid supplies to IFF systems. Reaching into a pouch during contact pulling out a Twinkie when you need a primary magazine or tourniquet could be deadly. A properly selected modular aid bag can have pouches or divisions set up for mission critical gear such as food, water and batteries. The CTOMS™ External Module for the CTOMS™ 2nd Line™ Bag can be set up for long term missions and still satisfying the thirty second principle.
- The Diver’s Triangle: A technique from SCUBA diving. The diver’s triangle is the area between the shoulders to the belt buckle. Gear stored in this region can be accessed quickly and easily. One critical piece of kit that must be stored in the diver’s triangle is your personal tourniquet. It should be stored ready for one handed application in a tourniquet pouch that protects the tourniquet from the elements, UV degradation and dirt.
- A Dedicated Treatment Kit: This is the core of a tactical medic’s gear. This can be a sub load of the medic’s belt or vest mounted. It is fastened to the platform, not tear away like an IFAK. From experience in training, instructing and combat, what goes on the ground; stays on the ground. I have a preference for vest mounted treatment kits and belt mounted IFAKs. This way personal medical equipment is on my person at all times in a tactical environment. Also, it keeps my legs clear of gear which is important in vehicles and building entries. The CTOMS™ FrontLine™ pouch is my current treatment pouch. With its three magazine capacity and modular MARS™ system, I can carry enough medical supplies for use in a Tactical Field Care Bubble without getting into my med bag. This way I can make tactical movement or engagement quickly, should the bubble get popped.
This is not a definitive article on medical fighting rig setup. It is merely the observations and guidance that I follow and mentor Junior Medical Operators when they set up their gear. A final point, before your deployment, train with gear you are planning to deploy with. Run it hard before you go. I am pretty sure the initial setup will change as you gain experience.
Do no Harm; Do Know Harm.