If you were out running errands at the mall, and a truck careened into a crowd of pedestrians, would you know what to do? What about in a mass-shooting scenario, a structural collapse, or a residential fire? Would you immediately know the steps necessary to save the lives of those around you? These are difficult questions, but necessary ones.

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As prepared individuals, we must know how to assess injuries and how to stabilize life-threatening cases during a disaster. That's not to say you need to be military, law enforcement, or a medical professional, or even have any kind of formal training in trauma care — learning the basics is something anyone can do.

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You might have a tourniquet or trauma kit, but do you know how to use it?

However, emergency medical care can seem imposing, and the use of complex tools and technical jargon can make it seem more difficult than it needs to be. This is why we're always glad to see emergency medical care guides that keep things simple. The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) guidelines are one of the best examples we've come across in this regard.

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Without proper on-scene care, innocents' lives may be lost long before they can reach a hospital.

These TECC guidelines are produced by the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (C-TECC), a not-for-profit (501c3) organization composed of medical experts who volunteer their time in order to prepare urban areas for major mass casualty events. The TECC guidelines is “a set of evidenced-based and best practice trauma care guidelines for civilian high-threat pre-hospital environments.” You can view the guidelines below, or click here to download or print a copy.

These TECC guidelines cover what to do during direct threats, where your life and the life of the casualties may still be in imminent danger, as well as indirect threats, where the risk of continued bodily harm is low. Each of these steps is presented in simple layman's terms, and in order of importance — controlling life-threatening blood loss, clearing the patient's airway, monitoring breathing and circulation, and so on.

If you're not certain you'd know what to do during an emergency medical situation, we'd suggest studying these guidelines, and possibly printing them out for future reference. Building this knowledge now could help you save lives when seconds count.

Hat tip to Andy Schrader for letting us know about these TECC guidelines.

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