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Building Police skills helps save lives

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In an effort to build a sustainable medical program among the Afghan police, US Army advisers are teaching police medics to become basic combat medical trainers.

The train the trainer program was taught by the U.S. Security Force Assistance Team at the Afghan Police Headquarters on Jan. 2.

“Instead of training a large number of policemen on basic medical tasks, what we tried to do was train a few very competent officers who could then turn around and pass that knowledge along to others Afghans,” US Army medic, Spc. Oscar Lagunas, said.

For four hours, Lagunas and his team trained six Afghan Uniform Police officers on how to apply tourniquets, assess combat casualties and utilize the tools found in Afghan First Aid Kits.

The six officers were selected by Afghan Police 2nd Lt. Gran Agha based on their competency and literacy skills. The training included classroom instruction, as well as practical exercises designed to allow the policemen to correctly apply tourniquets in a combat environment, assess combat casualty consciousness level, gain airway access and checking casualty pulse.

The block of instruction is based on the US Army’s combat lifesaver course, which prepares soldiers to perform Tactical Combat Casualty care. The difference with this instruction is that the program was focused on training trainers.

“As we (Coalition forces) withdraw from Afghanistan, the real challenge is to pass knowledge along to the Afghan National Security Forces in such a way that it is sustainable,” Capt. Sean Kemp, the SFAT intelligence officer said. “The train the trainer concept allows six patrolmen to train hundreds of others over the course of their careers as opposed to us training 20 or 30 here and there.”

During the training’s practical exercise portion, the Afghan students performed head-to-toe body sweeps designed to check for casualty bleeding. The students were also instructed on the use of equipment in the first aid kits to treat sucking chest wounds and non-arterial lacerations.

At the conclusion of the course, students were tested on the instruction received from their advisor.

“We wanted the students to absorb the information and practical exercises in such a way that they would be able to turn around and give the same training,” Lagunas said. “By the time the testing portion of the training was conducted, the students were regurgitating the information step-by-step, and doing it very well.”

Article by 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division