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SOARescue started in 2014 as two guys chatting about the differences between military and civilian medicine.  As a combat medic, Andrew Rowley would share his background and observations of where military medicine was headed with Alan Elam while they were on shift at the local EMS agency in Charlotte, NC. Alan had recently gotten on one of the local tactical teams and would try and take these lessons forward to his team. The idea sprang up to work on small kitting solutions because both guys had an interest in gear and equipment, and plenty of time on their hands.

One of the first clients was a local police department. In 2011, the shooting with US Representative Gabby Giffords was particularly noteworthy because the local police department had just placed headrest first aid kits in all of the patrol cars. When the dispatch went out, the first units on the scene were police officers, now equipped with tourniquets, saving many lives. As time moved forward, other police departments noticed that it was critically important to prepare themselves to take care of the public after horrific events. After helping the police department stock first aid kits in each patrol car, the department reached back out to ask for help training the officers. The first question was "Don't you have someone on staff that can do that?" and the reply was "Nobody here has ever used a tourniquet before."

There were two revelations from that exchange, and they've been guiding principles for SOARescue since then. First, we want to put an instructor in front of students that has comprehensive experience in whatever they're teaching. Theory goes out the window when reality hits hard. The background and experience of actually providing medicine in tactical settings, on a flight platform, or out in the woods is a better teacher than any course can be. We want to share this experience instead of just passing along regurgitated "lessons" that have been handed down through medicine over the years. Many times those "lessons" were borne from the strictly clinical setting and don't adapt well to the prehospital arena. This helps students anticipate both clinical and operational challenges they'll encounter and have a plan developed ahead of time to solve those issues.

The second revelation is that we don't want to just provide "our training." We want to provide accredited education. This means our lessons are validated by an outside organization that can provide deeper support to what we teach. Also, when students have to have continuing education for their credentials, why not allow them to get credit for what they're learning? It makes no sense to take a course and then have to go sit in another program just to check off a box for accredited hours. On top of that, we want to provide education instead of training. Training is teaching someone to do something, and almost anyone can be "taught how" to do something. Education helps a student learn what they're doing, and more importantly why they're doing it, to prepare that student to make better clinical and operational decisions. We can't anticipate every scenario that our students will encounter, but we can arm our students with knowledge that they can apply to the situations we couldn't anticipate. The world is evolving at an incredible pace, it's significantly different today than it was five years ago, and in another five years it will look different from today. We want our students prepared to adapt to those changes.

To sum up our training philosophy, we want everyone to see how "big" our instructors are by lifting our students on our shoulders instead of putting them down. Too many instructors try and show off how "big" they are by putting students down, insulting them, or making them feel inadequate. Students come to us to learn how to improve their clinical skills for better patient outcomes, not for us to show off. By lifting our students up, we can prepare them to provide excellent clinical care in any environment.

On top of that, we want to ensure we are giving back and leveraging our experience to help guide policy and decision-making at a larger level. We will never be able to provide education to all of the prehospital medicine personnel, but we can support those we can't teach by providing technical expertise to policymakers. In providing our technical expertise, we can help provide insight or a different perspective that merges the clinical and operational realms. Our staff sits on the boards of, or are stakeholders of:

  • Committee on Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (C-TECC)

  • ​InterAgency Board (IAB)

  • Journal for Special Operations Medicine (JSOM)

  • ASTM International Committee 54 for Homeland Security (ASTM C54)

  • International Board of Specialty Certifications (IBSC)

  • North Carolina Tactical Medicine Association (NCTMA)

  • North Carolina Office of EMS (NCOEMS)

  • South Carolina Fire Academy (SCFA)

  • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC)

Much of the work we do goes unrecognized, and honestly, we prefer it that way. Where it matters, they know. The messages we get back from our students drive us to push harder and build our cadre to push farther into additional areas where we can build prehospital medicine to deliver better clinical care and patient outcomes. We believe that excellent clinical care should not be limited to one level of certification or one environment. Our instructors have significant experience operating in the following arenas:

  • Tactical Medical Operations 

  • Tactical Operations

  • Weapon Manipulation

  • Military Medicine

  • Public Health

  • Emergent and Primary Clinical Care

  • Disaster Medicine 

  • Mass Casualty Response

  • Dive Medicine

  • CBRNE Mitigation and Treatment

  • IED Identification Mitigation

  • EOD Operations

  • Canine Handling

  • Canine Medicine

  • Protective Services Operations

  • Rope Rescue 

  • Trench Rescue

  • Confined Space Rescue

  • Vehicle Rescue

  • Floodwater Rescue

  • Helicopter Emergency Medical Services

  • Search and Rescue

  • Wilderness Medicine

  • Critical Care Treatment

We want to help everyone in the prehospital medical field be better today than they were yesterday, and this mission drives us in everything we do. From providing leading edge training to helping someone source top quality medical equipment within their budget, it's a mission that never stops. At this point, it has literally taken us around the world, and we are just getting started. If you believe there is a way we can assist you somehow, please reach out. All inquiries can be made to

Stay safe.

-SOARescue Cadre

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