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Tactical Emergency Medical Services

Tactical Medicine and Tactical Casualty Care

In California, two distinct categories exist for the medical support of law enforcement operations: Tactical Medicine and Tactical Casualty Care. Tactical Casualty Care is further subdivided into Tactical First Aid and Tactical Lifesaver.

  • Tactical Medical and Casualty Care Training Framework   [pdf]
  • Tactical Medical and Casualty Care Personnel Levels   [pdf]
State Tactical Advisory Committee
Tactical Medicine

Since May 2010, Tactical Medicine guidelines provide baseline development and implementation standards for Tactical Medicine programs developed as required by the Peace Officers Training and Standards (POST) and described in the SWAT Guidelines approved in 2005.

The California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) is responsible for setting the statewide medical standards utilized by POST. As such, guidelines are intended to serve as a template for the development of operational programs that are developed by any public safety agency in California, and to serve as the minimum standard for initial tactical medicine training.

Tactical Medicine guidelines are also meant to serve as a companion document to the POST Operational Guidelines for SWAT (2005). It describes the critical role that tactical medical planning and threat assessment plays in the overall contingency planning as part of the SWAT operational plan. The public safety agency developing a tactical medicine operational program should conduct a needs assessment to determine the level of emergency care required by the SWAT team to support the mission and operations.

The operational program must consider the need for medical oversight and coordination with the local EMS agency, medical direction, use of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics and other advanced life support personnel, and minimum training and equipment standards. The agency should develop policies and procedures for medical support during tactical operations.

Approved tactical medicine training programs, which provide initial and refresher or update tactical medicine training to personnel, shall adhere to the minimum training guidelines and standards outlined in the guidelines. The goal of the guidelines manual is to describe minimum core competencies and define the written and skills testing necessary to achieve the standards prescribed by POST and EMSA. The guidelines have been approved and are available on the POST website.

Tactical Casualty Care
  • EMS Integration with Law Enforcement during Active Shooter Events Quick Reference Guide - Pocket Card size (2014)  [word] [pdf]
  • Purchase of Ballistic Protective Equipment (BPE) for Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Personnel in Support of Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Incidents (AS/MCIs) [pdf]
  • The three levels of tactical casualty care are summarized in this chart
California Tactical Casuality Care Guidelines
  • Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Assessment and Treatment Model - Pocket Card size (2014) [word] [pdf]
  • Tactical Medical Planning and Threat Assessment Checklist - Pocket Card size (2012)  [word] [pdf]
Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs regarding Initial Training Programs, Refresher Courses, Tactical First Aid and Tactical LifeSaver courses (Non-Tactical Medicine Courses) and Law Enforcement agencies

  • FAQs   [pdf]
Tactical Equipment

This equipment supplier has prepackaged equipment that meets the POST/EMSA Tactical Medicine Guidelines as described in Chapter 4.0

For Further Information from EMSA

Please contact Daniel Smiley, Chief Deputy Director

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