Tactical Medicine in California
Since May 2010, Tactical Medicine guidelines provide baseline development and implementation standards for Tactical Medicine programs developed as required by 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 available at the POST website.