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You Are Your Own First Responder

From a John Farnam QUIP yesterday:


Observations, as our world continues to deteriorate:


"When the World Trade Center Towers collapsed, one consistent point I observed was the critical value of practicing Escape and Evasion (E&E) at the earliest juncture.


Many died in the South Tower, because they heeded orders from NY/NJ Port Authority Police who told them to go back to their offices and “shelter in place,” even as the North Tower was engulfed in flames!


Quickly exiting an area, the instant things look dicey works in all sorts of dangerous circumstances. The sooner you act incisively, the more likely you’ll avoid the worst of it.


So, any time you hear, “Shelter in place!” and “We’re in lock-down!” adhering to that advice is likely to be fatal.


It’s time to get out and away, any way you can, no matter what anyone says!"


“Pay attention, even to trifles.” – Musashi


Those folks in the Twin Towers that day had no idea what was to come. They had no plan and were basically at the mercy of the Port Authority Police when they told them to stay. The rest of the story we are all too familiar with. How many would have survived if they had ignored the orders to stay and gotten out of the buildings? We’ll never know but, I would venture to say dozens if not hundreds.


At some point we must understand, we are alone. The police and other authorities, while well intentioned, are often handcuffed by policy, protocols and the fear of making a poor decision. They are who we usually look to in chaotic situations to make some sense and get some direction. However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ in the chaos of an active shooter or a 9-11 style event. Positive and aggressive action will hold you in good stead in most critical circumstances.


But, what does that mean?


It means GET OUT! If you can’t, what other options do you have? This is not a time to think you’re ‘MacGyver’ and try to come up with a plan on the spot. That likely will not work out well for you. You should think ahead. Have a plan. Have some resources available.


Can you fight if necessary? Everyone would like to think they can. Everyone is capable but few are truly prepared. What about medical training? Shooting skills?


Bobby Knight said it best – “Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win.” The same is true with personal protection. Lots of folks will give lip service to training for when the ‘balloon goes up’, but few will take the next step and seek out training. Fewer still will actually attend. Even fewer will take the time to stay proficient.


Some will err to the other end of the ‘training stick’. They will purchase all kinds of "gear" – plate carriers, laser sights, infra-red sights, and every new, expensive, 'cool tool'. When it comes time to put all of this gear into action on the range, I have seen these guys begin the day of a class kitted out, and by lunch they have shed most of the gear and are fighting lean and mean! When quizzed about this excess of equipment they usually say, “Well, I saw it in a magazine”. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay attention to what the experts say but, the regular Joe doesn’t need to be decked out like SEAL Team 6. I spent 25 years on a SWAT team and through the years I have learned what is essential and what is just excess weight. I can tell you, what my tactical gear is today is quite a bit different than it was in the beginning.


Whatever you choose to have with you/on you, it must meet some key criteria. It must be:

- Absolutely reliable – something that fails to perform in a critical situation is worse than useless.

- Convenient – it must either be worn on you or close enough to be practical.

- Versatile – having gear that can be used for more than one purpose can be beneficial.


Whatever you choose to have with you, you should be absolutely proficient in its use. Learn about your gear. Get educated in every nuance of your equipment. Get trained. Train with it. Use it. Wear it in class. Class is the best place to push your gear (and yourself) to failure. Get confident. Have a plan.


Remember … do not make the mistake of relying on someone else to save you - You must save yourself.


BE SAFE. BE EFFECTIVE. BE READY. 





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