By Dr. Ulana N. Suprun, MD, Patriot Defence Instructor
Edited by Voices of Ukraine
“Every day we get reports from the front line that the training provided through CLS and the IFAKs are saving soldiers’ lives.”
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) project, Patriot Defence, was initiated in mid-May of 2014 in response to the urgent need for training in first aid on the battlefield, and providing individual first aid kits for Ukrainian soldiers. The soldiers had either no first aid kits at all, or were given an old Soviet rubber tourniquet and a bandage as their “kit.” Little if any medical training had been provided to them during their preparation for deployment. UWC began working with local Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) instructors from the Red Cross and the Ukrainian Center for Special Training, providing courses for Ukrainian soldiers in TCCC. However, the courses were geared more towards civilians and Law Enforcement, so we decided to bring in professional instructors to provide Combat Lifesaver courses for the soldiers, as well as to further train the local TCCC instructors.
Combat Lifesaver (CLS) is a course taught to US and NATO soldiers in which they learn to treat the three main killers on the battlefield–catastrophic bleeding, blockage of the airway, and tension pneumothorax. CLS training takes into account the unique conditions of the battlefield and the primary responsibility of the soldier to first and foremost complete his combat mission. The Improved First Aid Kit (IFAK) given to each soldier provides the tools with which they can save their own (self-aid) and their fellow soldiers’ (buddy-aid) lives. UWC began providing this kind of training and IFAKs to Ukrainian soldiers beginning in June of 2014.
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