Want Peace? Learn CABC
From the postings on news sites and Facebook we could truly believe that the war has subsided, notwithstanding that shooting is still ongoing and lives are being lost.
When you travel to the East, the presence of war is obvious. And whilst the roads are being gradually repaired, among the destroyed bridges and bullet ridden buildings, there is a relative peace.
Immediately after the Easter break we travelled to train the marine forces in Kramatorsk. This was our second attempt to work with the 80th brigade. This time we were successful. A month ago, our instructors didn’t catch up with the marines – the brigade was urgently dispatched to battle.
A destroyed building near Slovyansk
We leave Kyiv about 7:00 in the morning, and overcome a 10-hour road trip to arrive at an army airport in Kramatorsk, where together with other units is located the base of the 80th marine-assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Our contact is the Company Commander Yurij, who on the first night tells us about the injuries that some of the soldiers have experienced. Often these are as a result of carelessness with weapons. Recently for example, one of the soldiers lost an arm whilst dismantling his automatic rifle.
He also adds, that there is a constant attempt to ensure that his boys are prepared in the area of first aid. That is why he has contacted Patriot Defence. Over a two-day period five instructors teach the Combat Lifesaver course for almost 100 soldiers.
Yurij also notes that nearly all of his colleagues have a first-aid kit: some from the Ministry of Defense, and some from Patriot Defence and other volunteer organizations.
Combat Lifesaver Course: Theory day
The first day of the training mission is built around five stations, designed around one of the letters from the algorithm CABC. The first C - critical bleeding – first aid under fire, A – airways, B – breathing and, C – circulation.
At the ‘first-aid under fire’ station, Iryna Kostenko trains the soldiers how to effectively and efficiently provide first-aid to themselves and their colleagues in the effective battle zone of the enemy
The duration at every station is 45 minutes and, there is a short break between moving to the next station. The soldiers are divided into 5 groups, and in each there are close to 20 soldiers. They in turn work with each instructor.
This mannequin’s head helped instructor Paul Ivko to teach soldiers how to keep the wounded soldier’s airway open and unobstructed
Amongst themselves, the instructors call this day, a “theory day”, whilst in fact the course is designed in such a way that whilst the instructor explains he demonstrates and immediately allows to display the skills for his trainees.
Maxim Hnatkov at the “Breathing” station explains, how to find the wound in the chest cavity and insert the“frightening” needle.
Usually at all stations, there is dialogue, where the soldiers ask questions and explain those situations, in which they or their friends may find themselves. In the breaks between stations one of the soldiers shows an instructor shrapnel wounds on his mobile phone, which were sustained by his colleague on his back, whilst performing military duty.
Once a medic in the Azov regiment, now an instructor for Patriot Defence, Volodymyr Falchuk trains the soldiers on how to apply bandages and to restore circulation
Often the aim of training missions is not so much to teach, but how to systematize the knowledge of the soldiers and to better hone their skills. Some have undergone training from Patriot Defence in 2014, while some have been trained by our foreign colleagues.
Day Two. Testing and simulation
The morning of the second day sees the marines prepare to focus on their training, the instructors lay out the equipment, and discuss the training program for day two.
According to the exercise, this marine has wounds to both of his legs.His comrades apply two tourniquets and evacuate him to a safe zone
The day commences with a revision of the previous day’s materials: they provide care under fire and evacuate the wounded to a safer zone; they learn how to apply tourniquets to various limbs under various conditions and physical state, and with each progression the application becomes more difficult. On each occasion they maintain the correct sequence in accordance with the CABC algorithm.
Working in pairs, taking turns to role play either the wounded or the combat lifesaver, marines practise their skills working on the airways and the breathing of the wounded
The final session of the course, as has become the practice, has been to simulate an extraordinary situation in the field of fire. This exercise incorporates a car in which the marines are travelling comes under heavy fire. The trainees are divided into groups. Some are made up and take on the role of the wounded, other groups receive instructions and, shortly after the explosion they move out to assist their wounded colleagues.
The instructors model various situations using various types and degrees of injuries. They consistently lead the soldiers and are involved in the simulation asking questions and commenting on the work they are doing. After the command “stop simulation”, the instructors assess the degree of completion that the soldiers have done with their set tasks and provide advice on how they may fix their mistakes.
The task of the soldiers is to quickly provide first-aid to the wounded and to evacuate them to shelter, to allow them to continue to work on saving their life in accordance with the CABC algorithm
The exhausted but smiling marines shine in the program – we share our impressions and award Patriot Defence badges to the best trainees. We take a group photo and hope that they will not need to put into practice their newly found skills and, that shortly we will celebrate victory, noting when and where we trained the marines of the 80th brigade.
Some of the members of the brigade did not complete their training – in the very early hours of the second day, 20 soldiers were called away to the battle zone. As we were returning to Kyiv, several kilometres from Kramatorsk in Konstantyanivka, there was an explosion at the migration centre. A safe zone may, at any moment, can turn into a battle zone. If you want peace – prepare for war.