The Platinum Ten

  • Beau Doboszenski, Owner/Lead Instructor

  • Originally published September 27th, 2017

On Friday September 15th, London commuters dodged a bullet.

Well actually a bomb. A terrorist, following recipes easily found online at jihadist websites, planted a bucket bomb on one of the mass transit trains in London, commonly called "the Tube."

When the bomb detonated, it didn't properly explode. Injuries from the bomb were mostly superficial, such as flash burns. Had it worked correctly, the results would have been devastating.


Improvised Explosive Devices like these are designed to cause as much carnage as possible and are usually packed with metal objects to act as shrapnel and tear through the bodies of as many people as possible. Remember what happened at the Boston Marathon Bombing or at the concert in Manchester, UK? The goal is death, carnage, and chaos. 

In previous Newsletters, I outlined ways to avoid being a victim of a terrorist attack. Today I'm going to ask you to think a little differently. If you're near an attack - not in the direct blast, but close enough to help - what are you capable of doing? What tools do you have on hand to help?

In shootings, knifings, bombings, or car/industrial accidents, time is not on the victim's side with severe injuries. This is despite the fact that battlefield and emergency medicine have come a very long way. Whereas some injuries that were once life-threatening can more often be survived, it all depends on getting help in time.

How much time? Ten minutes.

That's right, you've got less than ten minutes to get that victim First Aid, or their chances of survival will plummet. This timeframe is often called "the Platinum Ten."

What's amazing is that we're not talking about providing emergency surgery, or even some life-saving drug. That emergency aid could be as little as a pressure dressing, a tourniquet, or moving the victim out of secondary danger, like fire or smoke.

When you were young you may have been taught the ABC's of First Aid: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. But after almost 16 years of modern warfare since 2001, medicine has discovered something entirely different about dealing with immediate trauma. It's not ABC, but BCA - Bleeding Control first, then Airway.

The vast majority of people who suffer severe trauma in terms of shootings, knifings, or shrapnel, die from blood loss at a greater rate than other issues. All of that CPR training you did in the past, well, that doesn't really apply in this "terror" trauma event.

The two skills you need under your belt are applying pressure dressings and tourniquets, and we'll get into both of those in next week 's Newsletter.