By Lindsey J. Bertomen
I tested Southwest Synergistic Solutions Emergency/Triage Light (E/T Light), a nighttime marker designed to simplify the fog of battle. This product is many times more efficient, versatile and simpler than any other marking product I have ever used.
The E/T Light is a bullet-shaped, keychain sized signaling device that has four LEDs (five in the IR version) in a programmable module. The device can be used to identify casualties, mark vehicles, or signal using special light combinations or sequences. It looks like a pretty good field expedient IFF strobe.
The E/T Light’s water resistant case is made of soft silicone. There are attachment loops on either end of the light. The bullet tip is notched so the user can easily orient and activate it by feel. As soon as I began testing this unit, I hooked a Nite Ize SBiner on the tip, which let me clip it on anything.
The E/T Light is shock proof and weatherproof. The silicone is friction fit on the bottom portion, which seals it perfectly. On the top portion, it looks like the logic board and device components are molded into the silicone, which completely protected the internal components.
One can replace the lanyard loop on the bottom portion with a magnet base, simply by slipping one off and the other on. The magnet-based configuration allows it to be stuck on metal like a car roof, where the light clings tenaciously, even at highway speeds.
The magnet is strong enough to stick this light to exposed surfaces with confidence. This is perfect for covert vehicle marking or cleared room tagging. The fact that it replaces several chem lights and the weight savings from having several colors in one package will not be lost on anyone. Let’s not forget that one cannot turn chem lights off.
I tested the E/T Light for water resistance by dunking it for extended periods. OK, I left it in water for a little longer than expected or required. The tests I conducted easily exceeded many of the protocols of MIL-STD-810.
The E/T Light uses CR2 cells, which are relatively inexpensive and universally available, though less common than a CR 123 cell. It delivers a moderate glow, enough with which to read but not enough to wash out everyone’s vision or NVG use.
I tested this light while running and cycling and found it exceeded the desired 500 feet of visibility. It was visible in the fog, but I did not test it in smoke. A CR2 cell will power a flashing blue LED several days. I got over five days on one cell, which already had some use on it.
I’m certain that this is outside of warranty for this product, but it works well with my rechargeable CR2 cells also.
The E/T Light comes in standard (V 6.8A) and V 6.8IR versions. Each version has 15 programming modes, which are accessed by the single recessed switch.
One holds the switch down to access the programming mode. It took me a few minutes to get it right, but it would have helped to read the directions first.
The different modes include variations in the flashing rate and dual LEDs illuminated at the same time. The IR mode has an automatic shutoff. Holding the switch down for three seconds in any mode shuts it off.
Statistically, the less time elapsed between the trauma and the care, the higher the survival rate. The chain of evacuation was improved by paradigm shifts. The first shift was assessing and categorizing (triaging) at the point of contact.
The second part of improving has always been quickly locating multiple casualties after the initial sweep. I believe that Southwest Synergistic Solutions has created a simple tool that is a force multiplier in CASEVAC.
If this product was used to reduce patient collection times alone, I would issue a couple of these to everyone in the field; one for personal, the other for buddy or civilian marking.
It’s a Standardized Equipment List (SEL 03OE-030GLRL) item and V6.8 IR is NSN 6230-01-605-9635. Order the Cross Bottomed Magnetic End Cap (NSN 6230-01-606-3340) to go with it.
The E/T Light can be incorporated in training or real combat use without the necessity of switching from drone to live tool. Every troop can carry a couple of them: one to self identify and one to mark the evacuee.
Since I enjoy training with CERT these days, I have found the E/T Lights are excellent triage marking devices in civilian rescue settings also.
The E/T Light has been combat proven as a method for marking and prioritizing individuals for care and evacuation. I know it sounds like a simple thing, but this product has the “Why didn’t I think of that?” factor.
About the author
Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.