A couple weeks back I had the pleasure of taking a Dark Angel Medical Class at Fairweather Farms in Monroe, GA. The rigorous 2 day course taught by a former Navy Corpsman was extremely insightful, and invaluable information. The course itself, at the onset, we were told should be 3 days – since there is so much information. There were even people in attendance that took it before, and when we did the round robin introductions, a few people said they were here before, and came back for a refresher a couple years later.
After 16 hours of rigorous textbook, Powerpoint, and practical instruction, I’d tend to agree. Don’t get me wrong, the information is accessible to all, and although I found myself a bit more well versed in biological systems, ballistics, and battlefield medical concepts, the people who were brand new were given great attention by the instructor Ross. He was both entertaining and informative, but didn’t stray from stressing the importance of first response hallmarks like assessing scene safety, or showing us a brutal video on how fast you can die if you take a hit to the femoral artery. Ross went over everything over the two days that a civilian or LEO would encounter – in fact we had a couple officers in the class.
I went into it thinking I knew my stuff. Three hours later, I realized I only knew the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The first day in itself was highly informative, and really hammered home concepts, and dispelled old wives tales about everything from tourniquets to snake bites.
I took the class because I wanted to know how to help people, especially in the ever changing world climate we live in where you might be the only help on the scene for minutes to hours if the unthinkable happens, from a horrible car accident to an active shooter to helping a friend or hiker in the woods. Many other people in the class displayed the same concerns – some even talking about how their kid or loved one hurt themselves really bad, and they didn’t know how to deal with it. They were there to fight helplessness and preserve life. I liked to hear so many people taking their own well being into their hands.
From gunshot wounds to stab wounds to anaphylaxis, I learned how to assess and deal with them all – I would say mainly because of Dark Angel’s trademarked moniker – Simplicity Under Stress. They also sell medical kits – pictured – which are relatively cheap, but have medical grade gear in them from HALO seals to tourniquets to EMT Shears that can cut a penny. And the bonus, you learn how to use all of it. I thought my medkit was pretty solid. After this class, I reassessed.
The 2 day class culminates with a practical application for the 2nd half of the 2nd day – where the instructor will tell you to go in another room, and then instruct another member on what symptoms to portray, and talk you through the scenario. It really hammers home their Simplicity Under Stress approach, and how you need to stay cool and remember the basics. Throughout the course (which you will have to take to learn) we learned several simply phonetic devices and steps to assess, functionally breaking down a stressful situation into manageable parts. You leave not thinking “Holy shit – I have someone bleeding out and there is a foot over there,” you actually think rationally and go through your steps – remember to stop the bleeding, start the breathing, and treat for shock no matter what. We ran through varying scenarios individually, and critiqued each other. The scenarios ranged from you’re on the range hear a gunshot after cease fire is announced, and someone is on the floor bleeding heavily with no distal pulse; to coming up on someone with a branch sticking out of their abdomen. Don’t know how you’d handle these scenarios? Take the class for two days and you would.
Overall, I can’t speak highly enough of the class, the instructor, the content and the med kit itself – I ordered one shortly after leaving. It’d compact but packed to the gills with the kit you need to stop a massive bleed, sucking chest wound, and many other traumatic injuries in between. In fact, I’m signing up my wife the next time they are in my area. And that’s the other bonus, they travel – check out their site, and see when they’re around. The training is worth easily triple what they charge, and is another veteran owned business (Kerry “Pocket Doc” Davis is former USAF, and he and his wife run the company) – We at SGPT highly recommend them to everyone from civilians to LEO to military. You will get real world, applicable skills that work in life or death situations when seconds count.