BACKGROUND: Members of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams routinely work in high-risk tactical situations. Awareness of the benefit of Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) is increasing but not uniformly emphasized.
OBJECTIVES: To characterize the current regional state of tactical medicine and identify potential barriers to more widespread implementation.
METHODS: A multiple-choice survey was administered to SWAT team leaders of 22 regional agencies in northern and central California. Questions focused on individual officer self-aid and buddy care training, the use and content of individual first aid kits (IFAKs), and the operational inclusion of a dedicated TEMS provider.
RESULTS: Respondents included city police (54%), local county sheriff (36%), state law enforcement (5%), and federal law enforcement (5%). RESULTS showed that 100% of respondents thought it was ?Very Important? for SWAT officers to understand the basics of self-aid and buddy care and to carry an IFAK, while only 71% of respondents indicated that team members actually carried an IFAK. In addition, 67% indicated that tourniquets were part of the IFAK, and 91% of surveyed team leaders thought it was ?Very Important? for teams to have a trained medic available onsite at callouts or high-risk warrant searches. Also, 59% of teams used an organic TEMS element.
CONCLUSION: The majority of SWAT team leaders recognize the benefit of basic Operator medical training and the importance of a TEMS program. Despite near 100% endorsement by unit-level leadership, a significant proportion of teams are lacking one of the key components including Operator IFAKs and/or tourniquets. Tactical team leaders, administrators, and providers should continue to promote adequate Operator training and equipment as well as formal TEMS support.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of special operations medicine : a peer reviewed journal for SOF medical professionals|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2013|
ASJC Scopus subject areas