Tuesday, May 6, 2014

You revert to the level of your training

It is a long-held maxim among the capable that in a moment of true need, you do not rise to the occasion, but instead that you revert to the level of your training. This past week, that point was very uncomfortably driven home.

We were preparing for a shooting event, 20 miles into the boonies, when one of the staffers collapsed. He was about 200 yards from the rest of us, at the bottom of a large hill.

It took less than a minute to get to him, but it was the longest minute I can remember. On scene were a former Ski Patroller, a Marine, and myself. Looking back on the event, our training shows through - the marine was immediately on the radio calling for help, I sent my wife for the first aid kit as I headed down the hill, and the ski patroller went immediately into securing and treating the patient.

As we assessed our patient, it was startling to me the things that I remembered, and the things which, in hindsight, I realized I had forgotten.

We were exceptionally lucky in this instance:  Help was reasonably close; our patient regained consciousness on the hill and was unhurt and readily recovered;  the hospital found nothing wrong with him and he was at dinner that night with us.

Morals of the story:

Get training. I know I need more training, likely an advanced first aid class or a wilderness first responder class.

Evaluate your gear. My first aid kit was woefully ill-equipped for this particular incident. I will of course detail the changes as they happen. Any incident, however, presents a chance for reflection and evaluation.

Practice, practice, practice. The things that I remembered and that immediately came back to me were skills that were drilled extensively in school. Know your gear, know how it works, and drill your skills until they're instinctive.


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