By Jennifer Scales, FLETC Office of Public Affairs
GLYNCO, GA - The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) meets training requirements for Participating Organizations (PO), such as the Department of State, by offering classes for their respective students.
One program which FLETC is certified to teach on behalf of the Department of State is the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training. This is an offering to military personnel and civilian employees along with their family members, who are going to work and reside in foreign countries for more than 90 days in a year.
According to Francisco Berrios, Division Chief, International Training Division, National Capital Region Training Operations Directorate at FLETC, “The five-day training of FACT includes the skill sets of personal safety, surveillance, driving safely and tactical medicine.”
Even though some of it may be simulated in preparation for actual use at their sites, training for attendees at the FLETC can turn into a real-world, life-saving situation in regular day-to-day life with family.
Just ask Todd Andrews, an auditor/inspector with the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration in Texas.
Andrews reflects back to a day in early May when he and his wife Alissa were clearing out the site at their future retirement property in a secluded and remote area of the Oklahoma countryside.
“Alissa and I were out on the 80 acres of farm land that I had purchased from my dad, just wanting to enjoy the fresh air, spend time together and accomplish some work,” Andrews begins. “Using a weed eater with detachable parts, I began to work a section near a fence line, noting that my wife was in my peripheral vision going about her area for clearing.”
Suddenly, the weed eater blade flew off.
Andrews explains he heard the blade hit something with a thud. When he looked back at his wife, she appeared to be okay, but when they both looked down, they saw that blood was spewing from a cut on Alissa’s leg.
“My wife grabbed her leg and held the area tight while I rushed to my truck to get any type of bandage to help,” Andrews said. “What I found was the tourniquet set that was issued to me when I was attending the first FLETC course in Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) Training.”
There was no cell phone signal in the area to call 911 and ‘Siri’ was apparently unfamiliar with the countryside and could not locate a nearby hospital, according to Andrews.
“Our property is approximately 30 miles to the nearest hospital on a two lane highway with small towns in between,” Andrews said. “I placed her in my truck and then drove like a mad man with hazard lights flashing to the hospital in roughly 20 minutes with police in pursuit.”
From the time he placed the tourniquet on his wife to the moment of him personally rushing her to Alliance Health in Durant, Okla., seemed like an eternity for Andrews. But Alissa assured him it wasn’t that long.
Doctors at the hospital were so impressed with the tourniquet application that they asked Mrs. Andrews where her husband learned his skills and she told them “Homeland Security.”
Andrews gives all the credit for saving his wife’s life to the training he received at FLETC.
“I remember Seth Parris, an instructor there, reminding us to take our tourniquets and keep them handy, either in our vehicles or in our homes,” Andrews recalls. “He specifically told us that, God forbid, we might have to use them to save our family.”
The doctor was prepared to give Andrews some grim diagnosis had the tourniquet not been used, but thanks to the training and application Andrews received from FLETC, that information was not required from the doctor.
“He [the doctor] said that I did the right thing driving her directly to the hospital and putting on the tourniquet,” Andrews said.
Alissa, an elementary school principal, is described by her husband as being tougher than she looks. “Throughout the ordeal of over 75 stitches, she was smiling at me and trying to assure me that she was ok,” Andrews said.
UPDATE: Though the cut was 3.5 + inches long and 1.5 inches deep, there were no tendons or ligaments cut, and Alissa has full motion and movement of her leg and foot. With the use of crutches, she is expected to make a full recovery.
(Courtesy Photo): Todd Andrews, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, can put on a smile with his wife Alissa, thanks to the training he received in tourniquet application during his attendance at a Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC). The training was vital in a recent incident which aided in helping his wife Alissa while they were in a secluded area of their future home in Oklahoma in early May 2020.
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