I recently enjoyed the privilege of attending a National Tactical Officers Association convention in Seattle. My friend David Howlett from Next Level Training invited me to come over and see what the SWAT operators were checking out at the Washington State Convention Center. There were mobile fortresses that insert law enforcement onto buildings and all kinds of electronics, robots, First Aid systems, weapons and other equipment that most of us only get to see in movies!
Next Level Training, for example, makes the SIRT training pistol. Their core product is a laser pistol that has the same pull as a Glock pistol. The trigger is exactly like a Glock trigger and provides great dry fire training for LEOs and anyone else. This trigger time develops that smooth trigger pull that makes for success on the range.
Dan Goede and I went up to Bellingham area last spring to meet Mike Hughes, CEO of NLT, and look at the SIRT pistols for the Armed Defense Training Association. Mike is a USPSA-IPSC Grand Master, a patent law attorney and looks like he could easily star in an action movie! He was also a runner up on Top Shot- the season before last.
Agencies all around the U.S. and beyond purchase large numbers of SIRT pistols and contract with the NLT team to train law enforcement instructors in the SIRT training systems.
I also spent some time at the tactical show looking at simulated ammunition for reality-based tactical training and robots that conduct surveillance and remote control equipment for picking up bombs.
But the most practical items for most of us that are not in law enforcement would be the numerous First Aid systems that were displayed at several of the booths. Most of us don’t expect to become victims of gun fire but recent history has demonstrated that public places in America can become battle zones when we least expect it! Emergency preparedness requires good first aid supplies and planning for a number of contingencies that we hope will never materialize.
The tragic slaughter of moviegoers in Colorado also demonstrated that EMTs and other first responders are often poorly equipped to go into a crime scene and administer first aid- especially where an active shooter may be mixing in with a crowd of panic stricken victims. It has been said that there are three categories of people in such situations- wolves, sheep and sheep dogs.
If you want to be the sheep kind of person, you look for other sheep behind which to hide when the wolves come. A sheep dog, on the other hand, has to always be thinking about how to protect the sheep. That means knowing how to administer First Aid during an emergency.
You may even have to perform First Aid on yourself if things get really bad. Recent history in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that more members of the armed forces have survived gun shot wounds than in previous wars because of new bandages that stop bleeding as soon as they are applied.
We have discussed CONTOMS in a previous column and there is a definite call for EMTs, firefighters and other first responders to be tactically trained with firearms. I learned recently that the National Park Service is training some of its personnel in CONTOMS. Many of our neighbors in Federal Way that have completed CERT training have some medical training also carry a gun as part of their daily routine.
That is one of the reasons that the ADTA exists- to bring armed citizens together in Federal Way and acquire better sheep dog skills. Hopefully, however, the police, the firefighters and the EMTs will always show up on time to handle the really big emergencies. The worst case scenarios are the ones where the first responders are so busy responding that you have to depend on your own resources to preserve and protect your family.