Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What's in YOUR Range Bag? Is it enough?

Emergency On The Range: Are You Prepared? - The Firearm Blog:
My friend was at a USPSA match last Sunday when the worst case scenario happened. Someone got shot. From what I hear, the match has concrete dividers for the bays. Supposedly a projectile managed to go inbetween a crack between the concrete blocks used as dividers. A shooter was down range in one bay, pasting targets, while another shooter in the bay next door was shooting his stage.
I've been competing in USPSA (IPSC) matches since 1983, and I've never seen anyone suffer from any injury more damaging  than 'road rash' (when a running gunner falls down on pea-gravel), until a young shooter was faster on the trigger than he was on the draw about 6 years ago.

In that case, the gun "went off" as he was recovering from a prone start position and drawing his open gun; his first shot was faster than his draw.  The bullet hit a bunch of keys in his pocket, driving one into his leg.  His father drove him to the doctor for a treatment and a bandage, and they were back before the match ended.  It was a self-inflicted injury, and while we were all horrified to hear of it, the consequences were not as bad as they might have been.

In this section, nobody has (to my knowledge) since designed a stage with a prone starting position.   Bad JuJu!

So this is the first actual "Somebody Got Shot" incident I've heard about at an IPSC match.   And I have to say: it had to happen sometime, but I'm sorry it did.

And the problem, apparently, was due to poor range construction and poor stage design, which means it was preventable.   We probably definitely need to learn from this.

But when injuries are not prevented ... what can we do to minimize the outcome?

A couple of years ago, I started to expand my "First Aid Kit" which I carry in my range bag at matches.

At first it was just band-aids, ibuproven, and disinfectant (hydrogen peroxide, with some isopropyl alcohol as a backup, in my car).

Then I added some gauze, medical tape, petroleum jelly and cotton padding. When you have serious Road Rash, you need to clean the injury, remove foreign particles (tweezers!), and protect the wound.

Lately, I have added not one but THREE First Aid Kits which I keep in the "Go To" box in my car.  I'm 3 minutes away from semi-serious medical 'stuff', but it's not enough.

Next on my shopping list is WoundSeal .. which encourages rapid clotting and 'stops bleeding' (for certain values of  'stops bleeding'.)   I'm not certain, however, that this is The Real Deal, so if anyone has information about a better product, such as First Respondents/Medic might use and which is available for private citizens, I'm be grateful.

I think that ranges which promote competitive shooting should stock up on more advanced wound-treatment supplies, and make them immediately available in every bay on their range.  That's not going to happen, because the ranges where I compete they're semi-public and there's the risk that the first-aid packs which are typically stored in each shooting bay would be robbed by casual shooters.

Since the ranges can't provide adequate first-aid supplies, the responsibility falls upon the people who show up at the matches and HAVE THE TRAINING to know when and how to administer these advanced first-aid supplies and techniques.

For now, I think it's a good idea for every competitive shooter to acquire his own first aid supplies, those chosen to to address the specific problem of being injured by a bullet or a bullet fragment.

Know you have it, make sure that your friends and shooting partners are aware that you have the means to (minimally) stop the bleeding.  Talk it up when you're waiting for your turn to shoot.  Encourage your freinds to stock up on appropriate first aid supplies.

Don't count on the range to take responsibility for accidental wounds; they won't do that.  They can't insure the integrity of any first-aid pack they leave positioned on the individual shooting bays.

It's your job.

Do it.


Mark said...

all ranges should have minimal trauma kits on each bay.

Alien said...

I do not contest that every shooter - competitive, hobby, casual, whatever - should have a basic trauma kit at the range, as well as training on how to use it. Just as important is to have that kit very closely nearby because sometimes one minute to the car to get it and one minute back is too long.

Competitive events are the easiest - put a good basic trauma kit in 50 cal ammo cans, paint them red, and designate a member of each squad to be the "kit manager" for that squad for that event.