Students from the Institute of Special Communication and Information Protection NTUU “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” completed Combat Lifesaver training
The area near the student building turned into an improvised battlefield with makeshift bunkers, ambushes and foxholes. Make believe weapons added a level of realism to the action. The courtyard of the university housed two different realities – one for soldiers on the inside and something different for bystanders on the outside.
Patriot Defence instructors spent two days training one hundred and thirty students. All of them are young, active and absorb knowledge like sponges. “To be honest, this course was one of the most interesting things during our academic studies,” students said. They are future cyber warriors that will protect telecommunication and electronic systems. It is obvious that their place is in headquarters but during war they can easily find themselves on a real battlefield.
On the final training day cadets tested and improved their knowledge on three different skill stations. Here they practice care under fire, tactical field care and tactical evacuation of casualties. Each individual has a role – some are casualties while others play the role of first responders and friendly forces who secure the perimeter.
The explosion of imitation grenades signals the start of the simulation. The cacophony of a soldiers screaming, the thundering voice of the commander, improvised gun sounds – these sounds crash into one another.
“We were a bit lost while securing the perimeter but during first aid we didn’t lose it. We knew exactly what had to be done,” said Ivan after the first simulation.
Valeria agrees with his mate: “We did a fine job on the medical part yet our evacuation wasn’t as good as the medicine.”
The guy who played a casualty said, “I almost dropped a tear while trying to be a real casualty. I wanted to make everything as real as possible so my colleagues won’t think it is easy.”
A young girl soldier with a head and eye injury said, “Because of my friends I was able to survive and they saved my ability to see properly. They did everything they needed to do.”
On another skill station the tasks became tougher. Students had to practice the care under fire phase with lots of casualties. During this exercise pre-planning the route & action for evacuation is advised. Cadets choose their commander who is in charge of the whole operation.
After successfully completing a skill station, Andriy admitted that he used his intuition while evacuating wounded personnel because they didn’t receive much knowledge of it during their academic schooling. He is used to taking responsibility since he is in charge of his group beginning with the first year of his university study.
“Instructors gave us a solid structure. The algorithm was clear and understandable even though we have never been exposed to combat medicine. We divided tasks between each other and everything worked like a charm.” The toughest part for Andriy was a needle decompression. Sometimes it is hard to imagine the process of hitting someone’s chest with a needle. “It would be even better if we moved to the forest without any people and used guns so we could put a maximum portion of realism in this training.”
Observing the students during training, the first deputy chief of Institute told us that students are freeing themselves from psychological barriers: now they know for sure that they are able to provide first aid and will not lose their wits in real combat.
After the official end of the simulation, instructors point out that this course is just the beginning. They stress that after this day everyone should practice their newly acquired skills because “being able to do” and “knowing how to do” are two distinct things.
Photo by Mykyta Zavilinskyi