Traditional law enforcement first aid training usually consists of basic first aid and CPR training in the academy followed by annual recertification. Officers learn to treat a heart attack victim, rescue a choking child or revive a drowning swimmer. But what you do not learn to do is safe yourself. What will you do when you are both the responding officer and the victim?
Whether it was the North Hollywood Bank holdup or the Miami FBI shootout, history has demonstrated that a few well prepared and determined criminals can prove a formidable obstacle even when outnumbered. When the police are also outgunned by those bad guys, a lot of serious injuries can occur in a short time. Unfortunately, both of these cases also demonstrated that although seriously injured, some officers were able to keep bringing the fight – while others simply waited for help, or to die.
The difference between the officer who fights to the last breath and the one who sits down and waits for their last breath is preparation.
Winning Mindset – By now everyone in uniform has heard of the “Warrior Mindset,” the idea that you have to be prepared to fight at anytime, anywhere and no matter what. This “no matter what” means just that, you keep fighting wounded or not. The human body is a magnificent machine designed to take more abuse than most people give it credit for – it’s the human mind that is weak and must be trained to accept the impossible as reality.
Personal Trauma Kit – A first aid kit in the truck of your squad car does you little good when you are lying on the second floor of an office building with a gunshot wound from an active shooter. Furthermore, even if you get to the kit, chances are it has plenty of band aids, a CPR mask and some bee sting swabs, but no compression bandages or trauma dressings. Every officer should have a personal trauma kit as part of their personal gear, preferably on their body, at all times. Opinions vary greatly on exactly what your personal kit should contain and depends as much on local protocol as personal preference. One thing that is widely agreed upon is that anything you carry should be capable of being self-deployed or it is useless for self-rescue.
Training – As with any skill, first aid, including self-rescue measures, requires ongoing training. Of course you cannot practice treating actual injuries, not without drawing some serious looks from your partner anyway. But you do need to train in using the equipment in your personal trauma kit. Can you remove a battle dressing from the package under stress? Can you get your tourniquet out, around a limb and secured when your vision is obscured? No time for organized training? Play the “what if” game. Just like when you walk into a convenient store and think “what if there is a hold up?” think “what if I got stabbed?”, “what if I got shot?”, etc.
If it comes to a point where your survival is up to you and you along, will you be prepared?
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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