AAR: “You’re the First Responder, Whether You Know It or Not!”

One rapidly growing trend in the firearms and self-defense industry is an increased focus on first aid and medical care, to the point that the IFAK nightstand pocket dump photo is becoming as ubiquitous as the EDC pocket dump. Alongside John Q. Instagram Influencer’s photo of his personal gat and knife, is usually a micro trauma kit and a tourniquet.

And likewise, training has proliferated. Choices range from Caleb Causey’s excellent classes to the Shooter Self Care courses EMS Artifact and I have done, to the current iterations by Kevin Reiter at Wilderness Safety Institute, to tactical medic cosplay courses covering skills and techniques with little application for civilians, you can find a first aid class to suit you.

So when I walked into one of the NRA seminars entitled “You’re the First Responder: Whether You Know It or Not!”, I was prepared to hear some myth, bullshit, and hyperbole.

I was pleasantly surprised to find none, other than the statement, “Los Angeles has the best fire, EMS and law enforcement in the world.”

I suppose there’s nothing wrong with pride in one’s community, but you won’t often hear Los Angeles mentioned among the nation’s premier EMS systems.

It helps that the class was conducted by Chief Rob Wylie, recently retired paramedic and Fire Chief of St. Charles County FD in Missouri, and frequent contributor to EMS1 and FireRescue1. Chief Wylie’s co-instructor was Dr. Joshua Bobko, board-certified emergency physician and, among other qualifications, member of the board of directors of TECC.

Bobko and Wylie focused on community response first aid, citing extended EMS and law enforcement response times in many communities across the country to highlight the importance of self care. We say it often in Second Amendment circles: “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

What many people miss is that the same is true of EMS.

Condensed AAR’s on the Pulse nightclub shooting, the 91 Harvest Festival, and the San Bernardino shooting were offered, emphasizing the importance of self-care as essential to survival. Both instructors accurately answered questions on liability and the Good Samaritan laws with a short but accurate synopsis on the elements of legally proving negligence.

There wasn’t much nuts-and-bolts first aid taught, this class was more about awareness, and they did an admirable job of making people aware of the problem, and pointing them toward reputable resources.

There’s your response mnemonic right there: C.A.R.E.

Their organization, First CARE Provider, is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to empowering communities to care for their own until trained rescuers arrive. They offer Stop the Bleed courses, planning for citizen emergency response, and other courses, and a nifty free smartphone app (First CARE Provider for iOS or Android) with links to materials and video tutorials.

Check them out.