Medical “Bag Bomb”

Again, as a young Reconnaissance Marine, I was taught early, always to sterilize my area before moving out, from these early lessons I have tried to teach young tactical medics to control their medical kits. Understanding mass casualty incident like an active shooter or explosive detonation, the on-scene medical providers will need to be able to move quickly from one patient to another controlling massive bleeding when operating in the direct threat care phase.
What I am talking about is medical providers packing their medical bag to allow for quick access during the three phases of care, followed by the TECC guidelines. Choosing a medical bag that will allow for a medic to open and not have all the contents fall out will also control the bag bomb. There are some very good commercial kits, but not every kit has been developed by a medical provider and limits the ability to pack and ensure control of your medical gear.
One eye-opening experience was when conducting operations aboard a ship, and the medical provider opened his kit inside the engine room and lost a percentage, that fell four levels below never to be retrieved.

As medical providers, we need to choose equipment wisely and continue to confirm the items carried are something that is needed, preferably has the ability for multiple uses. No sense in taking one bandage that is for one injury, when there are several out that can be multi-useful. Equipment selection will allow for our bags to not be so large we must dig to find the right item when time is critical.

Look for a medical bag capable of supporting multiple patients but not so big not user-friendly, we can pre-stage larger kits in a casualty collection point (CCP) designated in secure areas, remember the goal is to get the injured to higher medical care, not perform surgery on-site. Look also at using some form of fanny type pack, sounds funny but there are also some very good commercial search and rescue or tactical packs that when loaded properly can allow the tactical medic to do much of their treatments without having to get into a larger bag. Just thoughts as I teach another medical course and see the bag bombs explode as the providers get into them and all the left behind kit, as the medic moves out. Be safeā€¦

The over use of the word Tactical

When it comes to the use of the word “tactical” in the sense of speaking about medical providers, is it over used. Seems with the world events ever operational unit is tactical to include the medical providers who support them on operations. What is a tactical medic? Is it somebody who attends a couple day or week long course and now has been deemed a tactical operator, or somebody who has operated in an operation environment for several years?

Seems in order to validate a tactical team having support medics agencies are rushing medics through any form of course just to be able to add the word “tactical” into their name. This rush to get tactical medics onto teams can eventually lead to operational failure if the men and woman supporting tactical teams are not able to work independently in an operational environment without some form of law enforcement security. The goal of a tactical medic is to be able to work independently in a hot zone, without support all the while providing the same care as if on a routine call.


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