Train or Die! Emergency Medical Training & Kit

Sheepdog with a Black Belt -

Train or Die! Emergency Medical Training & Kit

How Emergency Medical training can save your life! 

TLS has a definite demographic of those who take charge of their own destiny.  People who work their butts off to improve their skillsets so that in the event that they begin to act, they can do so skillfully and well. ‘Train’ incorporates fighting skills but it also means much more than that. It means reading and educating oneself about mindset and tactics. It means associating with other people who lift us up and make us better. It means Training in ALL areas of our lives that could make a difference.

Emergency medicine does not just mean "mass casualty"

People like to focus on something like dealing with a gunshot wound (GSW) but it also includes less critical problems like a twisted ankle if you are stuck halfway up a mountain with no cell service and you need to get help before the effects of exposure start to set in.

More and more people are coming to the realization that to have a complete protector package they need to include some form of Medical Emergency Training. This can be in the form of governing body certifications such as through the Red Cross or American Heart Association, which is often necessary for work etc. Alternatively it can be informal hosted events that give no actual certification but they do provide high quality useable training perfect for those who just want to improve their personal skill sets.

Training goes hand & hand with equipment

Any such training needs to include everything a Lay Person can do, being minimally invasive but ensuring maximum life saving ability.

So, for example, CPR training is a real life saver, legal and hard to do ‘wrong’ (it can be of course!). Your Tactical Tim friend who carries two chest decompression needles in his EDC (Every Day Carry) sounds cool as hell but unless he’s doing it on himself or under the authority of a Medical Director (such as working for an EMS company) sticking someone else in the chest and through to the lungs is practicing medicine without a license and can lead to a hefty lawsuit – regardless if it saved anyone’s life!

Those looking for such training should consider the following areas:

BASIC Physiology – not talking nursing school level here, just basics about how the human body is made and how things interact. Eg it helps to know stuff like generalized flank pain can be a symptom of dehydration and what different types of shock look like.

CPR – it’s basic but all the fancy drugs and electrical shock stuff EMS brings to the scene mean nothing if good quality CPR hasn’t been done on scene prior to their arrival.

Hemorrhage Control – remember I’m talking ‘oh s***’ stuff here not just a slip with a kitchen knife into a finger, no matter how alarming it seems. I mean a LOT of blood. Compression bandages work on 90% of cases but for those rare ACTUAL arterial bleeds how to PROPERLY apply a tourniquet is a must.

Penetrating Chest Trauma – GSW’s and knife / pointy things. Learn what a pneumothorax and hemothorax are and how to stop it getting worse (surprisingly easy until they get to the ER).

Exposure to the Elements – HyPO and HyPERthermia. Dehydration. Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke, What are the signs? How to help. Things NOT to do (that people still like to do because Hollywood and ‘that’s what you do’).

Envenomations – things to do and NOT do in the case of snake/spider bite or insect sting.

Allergic Reactions - including anaphylaxis. How to help if possible.

Splinting and Spinal Motion Control (SMR) – remember that scenario of being up on the mountain? Normally it’s better to leave someone in place but what if you have to move them. Can you do it?

There are various companies and organizations that offer some or all of these options. Krav Maga Universal offers programs like this above and beyond the martial arts curriculum. The best idea is to talk to whoever is running the training and see what training and experience they have and how it relates to your needs.

What's in your Every Day Carry Kit?

Ideally you want a package that will sell you an EDC Kit and train you how to use it. Our course has 2 levels which reflects the situation.

Personal EDC – this is carried routinely on you in say a pocket, handbag or backpack. Small, lightweight and not going to be an issue to have on you or close by at all times. It should have :

  • Gloves (c’mon yes you need them)
  • Compression bandage (for bleeding)
  • 2 occlusive dressings (for holes in the chest)
  • Tourniquet (for really bad bleeding)
  • 2 x Nasal Pharyngeals (for airway)
  • Shears

Sure you can add more but this is supposed to be something that isn’t a big effort to have close by all the time. Which is why you also have the :

Extended EDC – this could be carried in a vehicle or if off hiking in a backpack etc. I have one of these in all my motorcycles and 4 wheeled vehicles.

  • Additional supplies of everything in the Personal kit plus…
  • Oral Pharyngeals
  • SAM Splints (can also be used as a neck brace)
  • Kerlex rolls and 4x4 dressings.
  • Spacesheet

That’s really all you need. Along with the training how to use it!


Some of you reading this will be saying but what about X and why haven’t you mentioned Y? Well most of X and Y are popular due to use in the military but you are probably not deploying to Afghanistan, so you don’t need it. Here are a few examples and why you don’t need them…

Quikclot (or similar hemostatic agent) – Not necessary if you know how to properly pack a wound. Developed to work around body armor and equipment. Simply exposing the wound and packing it well makes it unnecessary. Early examples had an exothermic reaction too giving the surgeons a bad burn to deal with too. Typically not used by many EMS agencies so why do you think you need it?

Needle Cric / Decompression Needles / anything I poke into you – this is called ‘invasive’ and you need a medical license to do. Good luck in court if you decide to risk it.

EpiPen’s / Benadryl / any drug really – you can absolutely assist someone else administer their own medications… especially something life saving like a breathing treatment or EpiPen. But you can’t go around deciding to administer medications yourself as that falls into the ‘practicing without a medical license’ again. And court / fine / jail….

Don't be a Tactical Tim

So don’t be a Tactical Tim with all the gear and no idea… be an informed and educated member of society. A elite member of the TLS Movement and TRAIN to use your skills in crisis situations. When others lose their heads (remember these are oh s*** moments) you can keep yours and with a little know how and some basic kit you could save a life.

Now that’s a badass.

Paul Landreth-Smith

Author of ‘Sheepdog with a Black Belt’ detailing his experiences of reconciling martial arts training and real life fights.  This can be found here on

Paul is a Paramedic, EMS Instructor and Senior Field Training Officer for a large EMS Service in Texas. Formerly a Team Medic on London CT SWAT Team.  Now Director for Krav Maga Universal who offer training in combatives, tactics, shooting and Emergency Medicine.. 18 Years LE experience and Black Belts in Tae Kwon-Do, Kickboxing and Krav Maga. Blue belt in BJJ and trained in various other styles. Fought competitively in tournaments and match fights as had 100’s of real life ‘encounters’..


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