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Instructor: Follow Combat Lifesaver standards to save lives

By Sgt. Nahjier Williams | 184th Sustainment Command | April 22, 2019

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CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Spc. Jonathan Saffle doesn’t take training lightly. An instructor for the 300th Sustainment Brigade-led Combat Lifesaver course at Camp Arifjan, he stresses the importance of standards throughout the week-long course.

"We taught them the steps we need to follow, that way we make sure we hit all the key points: major bleeding, airway, respiration, circulation," said Saffle. “Today we are putting all of it together and doing a test on it, making sure that when the time comes for them to take care of a casualty, they can do it, and do it to the standard.”

“The importance of this is it makes every Soldier invaluable. Every Soldier is already invaluable, but when it comes to a combat situation, there are only so many medics you can have,” Saffle said. ”Instead of having to call for a medic one of your buddies might know how to put a tourniquet on or apply a chest needle decompression. Instead of waiting for 10 to 20 minutes before a medic can get to them, they’ll be getting aid as soon as possible.”

Saffle inspected multiple tourniquets throughout the testing, ensuring Soldiers could demonstrate proper application of the device used to control significant bleeding from limbs.

“The leading cause of death is hemorrhaging,” said Saffle, emphasizing the use of tourniquets.

A 2012 study published by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research revealed a 67% decrease in total fatalities during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as compared to combat deaths not using tourniquets during the Vietnam War.

When training as you fight, training should mirror conditions expected in battle, including temperatures, equipment, hostile patients, and enemy fires, but Soldiers must train in order to remain focused during real-world emergencies.

“I know it seems like we’re being extremely hard, but when it comes down to it you don’t want someone to forget a step," he said, referring to the strict standards enforced during training.

“Checking for an exit wound is a big one that I’ve been hard on today, if (they) don’t check on an exit wound that could potentially end someone's life,” he said.

“I just think that everybody should take this class, as much as they can, as often as they can, so we can limit that loss on the battlefield."