Just a little preparedness goes a long way!

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Ok, the gunfight is over, the threat is incapacitated and the police are on their way to the scene.  You start your post engagement rituals which includes checking yourself for injuries and you realize you have been shot in the leg.  You are bleeding!   Couple questions, do you have any first aid or trauma medicine training?  Do you carry a small trauma medical kit?  Do you know how to use the kit?  How about a tourniquet?  These are all questions that should probably be answered prior to the deadly force engagement.

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The military teaches a program titled Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).  The TCCC guidelines provide battlefield medics and corpsmen with trauma management strategies that combine good medicine with good small-unit tactics. The three goals are of TCCC are:

1.  Treat the Casualty – Which obviously in a non-battlefield setting, may be us treating ourselves because there is no EMTs immediately available.

2.  Prevent Additional Casualties – Deal with the threat and make sure they are incapacitated prior to attending any type of medical care.

3.  Complete the Mission – For us civilian folks, completing the mission, it winning the gunfight, legally, mentally and physically and enjoying our form of adult beverage with our family by our side.

In future blogs, I will discuss MARCH principles – Care Under Fire:

M – Massive Bleeding

A – Airway

R – Respirations

C – Circulation

H – Head

MARCH is part of one of the three phases of TCCC.  The three phases are Care Under Fire, Tactical Field Care and Tactical Field Evacuation. These three phases are not exactly applicable to civilian life, but many great trainers and instructors have made appropriate modifications.  I will address these in future blog post.

NOTE:  Although I am a ASHI Emergency First Responder/Level 7 Instructor, AHA BLS Instructor, TCCC Instructor and have received advanced trauma training, I am not a medical doctor, or consider myself an authority on Emergency Medicine.  I am a reporter and I will discuss my thoughts and ideas on what I consider appropriate emergency medical training.

As you know, you are responsible for yourself and your education, please do your homework and become informed about trauma medicine.  Just a little preparedness goes a long way!

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Lowering your Victim profile – become the “Grey Person”!

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In a August 1996 Guns & Ammo article written by Jim Grover a.k.a Kelly McCann, the following points were outlined to help you lower your victim profile.

  • Dress to blend whenever possible
  • Watch the overt display of affluence
  • Walk with another whenever possible
  • Move away quickly from sudden impediments to your movement
  • Keep away from walls (i.e., stay out of arm’s reach) when turning corners while walking
  • Use physical barriers whenever possible
  • Develop contingencies
  • Don’t let embarrassment or pride deter you from using good security precautions
  • LOOK for trouble
  • Always carry a less-than-lethal weapon
  • Don’t second-guess yourself if you truly believe, This is it!!!!

I believe the image you want to project is the one (the grey person) that the average person will forget the second he takes his eyes off of you, however, you also want to project one that the bad-guy “DO” notice and know you are not to be messed with.  You can do this by projecting a positive, aware and alert image! Everyone agrees that the criminal is looking for the easy target.  Don’t be that target! Just be careful not to be the one identified as the Guy or Gal with the gun.

How do you become the individual that is aware, alert, and is not a soft target? You do this by training and actually being capable of putting up a fight, by looking alive when you have to, yet not look like a human radar when the situation doesn’t require it. No need to be paranoid, but be ALERT!  Think in terms of Colonel Jeff Cooper’s condition yellow;

CONDITION YELLOW-   This is a relaxed state of general alertness, with no specific focal point. You are not looking for anything or anyone in particular; you simply have your head up and your eyes open.  You are alert and aware of your surroundings.  You do not expect to be attacked today but you recognize the possibility.

Anything or anyone in your immediate vicinity that is unusual, out of place, or out of context, should be viewed as potentially dangerous, until you have had a chance to assess it. When your mental radar picks up on a blip, you should immediately be prepared escalate up to the next level.

Here is one additional suggestion, watch what you wear.  Consider dull colors, current fashion and be careful about wearing the latest 5.11 fashions, tactical rigger belts and vests.  I am not suggesting that you never wear these types of clothing, I do.  My suggestion is to blend them with other civilian clothing and try not to look like the latest tactical fashion model or civilian private security contractor.  Take a little time and do a 360-degree evaluation of yourself and see yourself through the eyes of others.  This is obviously the pathway to self-awareness and will certainly enhance your self-protection skills.  The following Scottish poet by Robert Burns praised the importance of the 360-degree evaluation:

Oh that the gods
The gift would gi’e us
To see ourselves
As others see us

Being the Grey Person take a little effort but is extremely important in the world today.  The 3 Cs, criminals, crazies and crusaders are looking for the easy target, don’t be that target.  Remember the motto, “Train Today for Tomorrow’s Battles!”

Invent Daily Test!

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This idea comes from the great book titled “The Little Book of Talent” by Daniel Coyle.  Coyle states that “to invent a good test, ask yourself: What’s one key element of this skill?”  WOW!  What a great question.

In the world of Self Protection skills, there are many tests that we can conducted.  There are physical fitness test, firearms shooting test, martial arts skill test and the list goes on.  I recommend that we all set aside some time each day to design some simple Warrior skill tests.

I would love to hear you comments on simple tests that you design and develop to enhance your Warrior skills.

Incognito?

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Here is a great quote from a great book!  “The goal is to invest thousands of hours of training so that in the heat of the battle the right maneuvers will come automatically, with no interference from consciousness.”  – David Eagleman

Is your training incognito? So the big question is, what amount of time are you spending on your self-protection training?  Once a month, once a week, once a day or very infrequently?  Here is an interesting measuring tool!

Amateur Talent – 2000 hours of practice

Average Talent – 5000 hours of practice

Expect Abilities – 10000 hours of practice

Yes, that is a lot of practice time.  Just remember, focus on mastering the basics, they will be there when you need them.  In my opinion, way to much time is spent on practicing so-called advance skills and letting the basic skills deteriorate.

Practice your basic self-protection skills daily to include your situational awareness. You should also study your body’s external and internal natural reactions to fear.  Why?  This way you will know what to expect when faced with sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation.  Remember, the SNS is most likely activated from the FEAR of Death, Serious Bodily Injury or Pain.  Our goal is to calm the fires of the SNS and get the PNS (para-sympathetic nervous) system back in control.  One simple method to do this is BREATHING!  I will discuss this more in future post.

Ok, enough talking.  Get out there and train.  Do something today to enhance your Self-Protection skills and be safe!

What is the BEST Home Defense Weapon?

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So what is the BEST Home Defense Weapon?  I can hardly wait to hear all the exciting answers to this loaded question.  So what is my answer!  The one that you have access to in the time of need.  The one that you have trained to deployed effectively.  The one that stops the threat that you are facing.

There are obviously lots of answers.  Here is something to think about.  What if we immediately start developing an Improvised Weapon (IW) mentality.  How do we do this, easy!  Look all around your home and find items that can be used fight off an attacker.  I am sure there are plenty.

Please stop what you are doing right now and look around. Look in every room and find at least one IW.  This is an extremely important exercise to do before you face a deadly force threat, not while you are in the middle of it.

So what is your BEST Home Defense Weapon?  Please send some feedback, I would love to hear from you.

Effective Self Protection!

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I am constantly reminded by events that happen, that the keys to effective Self Protection have little to do with actual physical fighting skills.  Do we need the fighting skills, absolutely!  However, if you practice the following three things, you can certainly keep yourself out of a lot of trouble.

  • Practice good Situational Awareness! Look around, keep your head on swivel and look for pre-incident indicators.  There are usually warning or danger signs that precede an attack.  Do you know what they are and have you honed your abilities to see these signs.  Remember and practice Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Color Code system of Mental Readiness.
  • Maintain Distance or Space between you and a potential adversary.  If not distance, find an obstacle or barrier at get behind it.  Most trainers describe the reactionary gap as 6 feet or more.  If you can not maintain this gap, then get your hands up and prepare for a potential assault.
  • Always look for an Escape Route. Again, put you head on swivel, if you can find an opening to disengage, take it.  There is nothing wrong with running away and seeking a better tactical position.

Simple enough:  Situational Awareness, Maintain Distance or Space, and look for Escape Routes. These are all skills that can be trained daily.  Train effectively and often and remember to always pay attention!

What is your threat?

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You must know your enemy.  Sun Tzu, Chinese General and military stratagiest stated:

 It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

I define your current enemy as Criminals, Crazies and Crusaders.  Let us look at each of these in detail.

Criminals are looking for a target of opportunity and often do not have any great plan of attack.  This is not always true, but most crimes just happen, except for crimes against a person, such as sexual assault or abduction.  Making yourself a hard target, in most situations, will deter the criminal and he will move on to find an easier target.  Criminals are like a disease.  They have no place in society and we should all be prepared to deal with them.  Criminals target easy prey; do not allow yourself to become complacent.  Be like the hunter, not the hunted.  Since criminals are looking for a target of opportunity, being unpredictable will help to ensure that you do not become a target.  If you want to know more about the type of crimes that criminals are committing, please visit http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#cius.  This is the location of the Uniform Crime Report, a great resource conceived in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  Decide right now to become more aware of your environment and make yourself a hard target!

Crazies are very interesting.  They are unpredictable and have some extremely violent tendencies.  Crazies are often called Emotional Disturbed People (EDP).  A good example of a potential EDP is your local homeless person.   Keep in mind that the thought process of an EDP is not that of a normal person.  This could be because of the medication they are taking or even lack of medication in their system.  Crazies are potentially or completely uncooperative.  Either way, they are dangerous and you must be prepared to deal with them.  They will often exhibit superhuman types of strength and have a pain tolerance exceedingly higher than the normal person.  They will use weapons of opportunity, so awareness of edged weapons and blunt objects is important.  You can try, but you will most likely be unable to reason with Crazies.  Whenever reasoning stops, run!  If you cannot run, hit them hard and keep hitting until they are down and out, then run and call 911.

Crusaders, or terrorists, as they are often called, are detail-oriented threats.  Bombing, assassinations, kidnapping & hijackings are all part of their normal modus operandi.  The scariest and most likely new threat presented by the terrorist is in taking control of one of our schools.  Many of you probably remember the Russian school incident in Beslan.  Terrorists went into the school, took several hundred hostages, killed many, and waited for the Russian Elite Special Forces to assault.  Once the assault was completed, 300+ hostages were dead and many more injuried.  Can you imagine the impact this would have on our society if this occurred in the United States?  Look at the aftermath of September 11, 2001!  We are still dealing with this issue.  Responding to a terrorist incident requires a precise and planned response.  Awareness is the most important aspect of your security plan to thwart the terrorist.  Once the threat is identified, notify the proper authorities so that they can apprehend the suspect as quickly as possible.  The terrorist is very concerned about being identified prior to the completion of his mission.  Obviously, you should get in the habit of keeping your eyes and ears open.  If something seems wrong, do not dismiss it–notify the local authorities.  Your viligance could be the catalyst in preventing a major offensive attack against the United States.  Security of our country is the responsibility of ALL CITIZENS.  Remember: know your enemy.  When you are dealing with any of these threats, make yourself a “hard” target.