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Tactical emergency care for law enforcement: TECC overview

In this video, learn about critical interventions for preventable deaths in high-risk environments

In the first of a nine-part series, Robert Carlson from Brave Defender Training Group introduces viewers to the Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) system, emphasizing its importance for law enforcement officers in improving their service to the public, their partners and their agencies.

Carlson explains how TECC is adapted from the military’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) program, highlighting the need for law enforcement officers to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to address the most common trauma injuries encountered in the field. He delves into the three leading causes of preventable deaths on the battlefield as identified by the TCCC program — massive arterial bleeding from the extremities, tension pneumothorax and airway obstruction — and stresses the significance of immediate and proper medical intervention to enhance patient survivability.

Carlson discusses the adaptation of military medical lessons to fit the civilian context, acknowledging differences in scope of practice, patient populations, and operational environments. He outlines the primary goals of the TECC program: to provide critical, lifesaving interventions until casualties can be transferred to a higher level of care.

Key learning points

Understanding TECC: Learn about the Tactical Emergency Casualty Care system and its origins from the military’s TCCC program.

Preventable deaths: Identify the three leading causes of preventable deaths in tactical situations — massive arterial bleeding, tension pneumothorax, and airway obstruction — and the importance of immediate medical intervention.

Adapting military lessons: Discover how military medical practices are adapted for civilian law enforcement use, taking into account the different operational and environmental challenges.

Primary medical focus: Recognize the critical medical interventions in TECC training, including controlling arterial bleeding, managing tension pneumothorax and maintaining airway patency.

Goal of TECC: Understand the TECC program’s primary goal of providing lifesaving interventions to bridge the gap until higher level medical care is available.

Questions for discussion

  1. How do the principles of TECC apply to everyday law enforcement operations, and in what scenarios might officers need to employ these skills?
  2. What are the major challenges in adapting military medical practices for civilian law enforcement, and how does TECC address these challenges?
  3. How can law enforcement agencies ensure that officers receive adequate training in TECC, considering the operational demands and limited training opportunities?
  4. In what ways do environmental factors and limited medical equipment impact the application of TECC principles in the field?
  5. How can law enforcement officers balance the need for immediate medical intervention with the ongoing tactical situation, especially under hostile fire?
In this video, learn about the three essential phases of TECC that all law enforcement officers should understand in tactical scenarios

Robert Carlson is a firearms instructor for the Memphis (Tennessee) Police Department specializing in active shooter, counterambush and tactical medicine training. He is the lead TECC instructor for the Mississippi National Guard’s Regional Counterdrug Training Academy, providing no-cost training to law enforcement across the country. He has been recognized as an expert in active shooter response by law enforcement. Carlson also owns Brave Defender Training Group and is an IADLEST nationally certified instructor.