Newsletter 4/2006That time of the month! This is the FOURTH installment of our newsletter. We are slowly moving forward in our quest to educate. I am pleased to announce that we have a REAL author in this month's issue in the form of famed Ralph Mroz!
In this issue:
1) Commonly asked questions about Strike Tactical Solutions.
2) Instructor Profile of the month: Ralph Mroz
3) The Range Effect: A Deadly Syndrome by Ralph Mroz
4) Knife Maker of the Month: Adam Desrosiers by Henk Iverson
5) The Power of Words by Brian Willis
6) The Mind, Body & Soul by Henk Iverson
7) Basic Medical Kits by Andy Hamilton
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT STRIKE TACTICAL SOLUTIONS By Dave Cammack - Part 2 By Dave Cammack - Part 2
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SPORT SHOOTING IN GENERAL?
Henk Iverson: Sport shooting is just that, SPORT. Sport shooting has its place in our industry. I come from a sport shooting background, having been an IPSC shooter most of my police officer days. I represented the South African Police Service National IPSC Team and have SA Police National Colors for both open class as well as limited class.
We all love to shoot and IPSC taught me to shoot under pressure, in front of crowds of onlookers, in front of tough competitors. IPSC taught me to control adrenalin and use it to my advantage, even to this day.
As long as a sport shooter does not CONFUSE sport and proper training. Sport shooters need to know how the body reacts to a "survival adrenal dump" in a real life gunfight. When survival mode kicks in, your sub-concious mind takes over the fight, meaning your body will react EXACTLY as it has been trained. If you use a red dot scoped, compensated 38 Super competition pistol and practice contantly with that equipment, neglecting your duty gun and holster, you might be in for a deadly surprize!
I do not teach sport shooting or sport shooting techniques. As my friend John Farnam often says, there is a huge difference between gamesmen and gunmen!
WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT THAT POLICE OFFICERS SHOULD BE TAUGHT AND IS NEGLECTED UP TO NOW?
Henk Iverson: Easy question to answer. Contact distance defensive shooting. Most attacks on police officers occur at very short ranges, yet most police firearms training is done at longer ranges. The reason is that police policy pertaining to training is seldom revised. Year in and year out the same curriculums are taught. Why change if the training provided conforms to "minimum standards?"
Unfortunetely police training today needs to reflect the happenings on the street. Police officers need to be skilled in EFFECTIVE close quarters defense. This includes empty hands techniques, contact distance handgun defense and a combination of both.
I have made it my life's work to seek out the very best techniques and tactics to survive a close range attack. I am proud to say that these techniques and tactics are used by a multitude of people all over the world and these skills have saved nearly 50 lives!
MORE IN OUR NEXT ISSUE
INSTRUCTOR PROFILE: RALPH MROZ
by Henk Iverson
Ralph Mroz is police officer in Western Massachusetts, currently assigned to his county's narcotics/gang task force, and has been a student of the martial arts since 1973. .
He is a well-known defensive tactics and firearms writer with hundreds of articles published in the professional law enforcement and use-of-force journals.
Ralph is a frequent instructor at the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) conferences. I met Ralph at one of these conferences in 1997. We immediately hit it off as we share the same ideas on training in general and contact distance fighting in particular.
Ralph is the author of "Defensive Shooting for Real Life Encounters" (available from Paladin Press), a book that has received excellent reviews as a critique of current training methods. A second book is now available aptly titled “Tactical Defensive Training for Real Life Encounters”.
His video, "Extremely Close Quarter Shooting" (also from Paladin Press) has been hailed by many experts as the best resource available on self-defense against a deadly force attack at typical distances.
Ralph impressed me with his passion for knowledge. In 1993 he and a few other trainers produced a video "Facing the Blade". This was the video that changed the way that self-defense against a knife was taught in the law enforcement community.
Ralph being a really humble person does not see himself as a trainer but more of a student. I disagree totally and anybody who has attended one of Ralph’s classes will concur with me on this!
Ralph is no slouch in the Martial Arts field either as he has a black belt from the United States Judo Association. Our “non-trainer” has attended scores of defensive tactics seminars, and holds multiple firearms and defensive tactics instructor certifications. Ralph is member of many professional associations and sits on the board of advisors of the Police Marksman Association and is the Co-Founder and Training Director for the New England Police Officer's Safety Association. (Please see www.posai.org)
The Police Officers Safety Association (POSA) training programs and quarterly Journal are available free to every law enforcement officer, nationwide. Free hands-on classes are conducted in New England area to develop and refine training programs before they are produced on video. Classes are held in New England but all law enforcement throughout the country is invited to participate. We at STRIKE Tactical Solutions urge Police Officers to support this association and highly recommend Ralph as a trainer and author.
Contact information: email@example.com
The "Range Effect" A Deadly Syndrome
By Ralph Mroz
The range is flat, open, unobstructed, well lit, safe, unidirectional, stress-free, and clear of distractions. The street, or wherever else you'll have to fight for your life, is not. Range targets are flat, static, facing head-on, quiet, non-personal, and non-threatening. The person trying to kill you isn't. So obviously, range training, no matter how "practical' or "tactical" is not real-world training. This is not a hypothesis, nor an opinion. It is a plain fact. You can shoot high-speed, low-drag drills all day against paper (or steel) targets and not touch the reality of a genuine encounter.
We are stuck in the second of three stages of gun skills development. These three stages are:
Grounding in the basics:
Beginning fundamentals need to be developed at this first stage. Safety, basic gun handling, marksmanship, trigger control, sight alignment, etc. (No matter haw advanced we are, we can all use occasional brushing-up on these most basic of skills.)
Range drills - simple to complex:
Progressing from beginner-level bull-eye shooting in stage 1, it's common and prudent to move on to progressively more difficult range drills. Drills such as shooting from cover, while kneeling, while prone, weak-handed, while moving, one-handed, etc. It's here that shooting for speed as well as accuracy is introduced, as is shooting at multiple targets, decision targets, and so on.
Most of the training today-either police academy training and even at national-level schools, stop at this level. But while static shooting at targets can get ingeniously complex and difficult (look at any IPSC match), it's still just shooting at paper.
This next level of training, the place that we logically ought to be aiming for, is to replicate as closely as possible the fights we'll be in. This kind of training requires the use of real guns (or something very similar) modified to fire non-lethal projectiles. Here, we're talking about targets that think, move, and shoot back! (Admittedly, even in a simulated force-on-force exercise, we don't duplicate the level of stress you get in a real fight - afterall, we know we're not going to get killed. But it's the closest thing we have available now) Stage 1 is where we all start. Stage 2 is where we develop useful skills and instinctive motor movements under stress. Stage 3 is where we learn to actually fight.
Each stage has a point of diminishing returns. No one would argue that refining marksmanship, or breath control, or trigger control in stage 1 past a certain point is meaningless in terms of practical survival skills. What we seem to have forgotten is that there's a point of diminishing returns in stage 2, too. Shortening a little time between A-zone doubles, or shaving small fractions of a second off a reload, or working on minute decreases in draw time, is increasingly irrelevant past a certain point.
Once we've reached that point, it's time to move on to stage 3 training. But today, few trainers and students move beyond this static-target, intermediate stage of training. Indeed, many trainers today seem to actively promote their student's retardation by indefinitely perpetuating the stay at stage 2.
Feeding the Marks:
Why? There are cynical and not-cynical reasons. Certainly few students are really ready for force-on-force encounters. Their skills just aren't there yet, or they don't posses the other attributes necessary in a fight: fitness, strength, speed (of body movement), empty-hand skills (most real encounters occur within touching distance), and just plain fighting spirit. Also, this is the stage where the gamesmen live (some, such as IPSC master-class competitors, at awesomely high levels), and many shooters are primarily interested-whether they admit it or not-in playing games. For most people, games are much more comfortable and much more fun than replicating a real-life encounter. That's fine, but we shouldn't confuse skill at games with fighting skill.
From a cynical point-of-view, trainers have a vested interest in keeping their paying customers at stage 2. By making the drills here ever more complex, and by making arbitrary standards increasingly difficult - way past the point of any likely practical necessity - they insure a continued supply of students striving to meet these goals. If they then add the lure of their own self-anointed badge of mastership - usually some title including the words "Combat" and "Master" - then the student is even more driven to accomplish these artificial and arbitrary objectives - and to keep on paying to learn at the master's feet.
This is an old con - I've seen it for the last 25 years in the martial arts. Most martial arts schools keep their students busy by endlessly practicing street-useless “katas” and ineffective "advanced techniques". They grant their badge of mastership - the black belt - to people who've never punched much more than empty air. Very few do full contact/full speed sparring. This is, afterall, just good business; realistic training doesn't make the instructor look as perfect as empty-air drills, and scares the marks - I mean the students - away.
Do I wish I could break multiple bricks with my bare hands, or score a 10-yard A-zone double tap in one second from the holster? Sure. But I'd much rather have spent the training time necessary to accomplish those goals in the ring getting hit and developing a reliable left hook, or in a "fun"-house learning how to shoot thinking opponents before they "kill" me.
Are all trainers really this deceitful? No, but it is in their best interest to perpetuate - perhaps indefinitely - their students stay at stage 2. Not the least of the reasons is that so long as they can reliably out-perform their students on stage 2 artificial drills, they continue to look good and attract more students. By contrast, anyone who's ever participated in a force-on-force exercise knows that sometimes, no matter how good you are, you lose. Real life is harsh, and is mostly a matter of probabilities. I know that I can shave two-tenths of a second off my draw and fire time if I practice hard enough, but the only result I can be sure of if I pursue force-on-force training is that I'll lose somewhat less often.
The Range Effect:
All of this results in what I call the "range effect." That is, the creeping prevalence of artificial behaviors and skills into stage 2 training. This is exactly what happened in Japan to the old Budo martial arts. These were genuine inter-personal combat disciplines, with their training dictated by the realities of constant war. When peace came to Japan, these practical disciplines devolved into the "arts" we see today on every street corner, each as different as one sort of art can be from another, but all alike in their lack of realism.
We see the range effect in operation whenever a teacher insists that the "proper' way to execute a 180 degree turn is to pirouette on a toe, or when he (or she) explains in excruciating detail the exact way to perform a simple side-step. We see it when we are told that the "right" way to shoot is to isolate our upper bodies so as to eliminate any extraneous movement, and thus get the sights on target faster. (While that's true, and while I do get accurate shots off faster that way, if someone is trying to kill me, you can bet that my behind will be in motion!)
We see the range effect in an emphasis on stepping-back techniques as a response to close-in threats (see the chapter on Extremely Close Quarter Shooting video for the numerous fatal flaws in this technique.) We see it brought to ridiculous heights by subjecting stage 2 students to hostage targets in front of "shoot" targets. And so on, and so on. (If you think that you can really shoot a moving bad guy taking cover behind a moving hostage while you're moving, then try out for your local SWAT team as a designated entry marksman. It's irresponsible to even suggest this to anyone else! Hostage/bad-guy targets, which are perversely so much a main-stay of stage 2 training, have no place in the responsible training of most people.)
The range effect, the game mentality of too many shooters, the self-interest of trainers, and the humbling difficulty of truly realistic training, all combine to make stage 2 training self-perpetuating. But there's a faint trend developing in the right direction. We are starting to see some trainers move to force-on-force training. This will truly be the area to watch, explore, and research in the next few years. Lets just hope they don't invent some sort of competitive league - complete with a rule book and a board of directors - for it.
KNIFE MAKER OF THE MONTH: ADAM DESROSIERS
Adam Desrosiers was born and raised in Alaska. His fascination with knives began early as he owned his first knife at he ripe age of 3! At 10 years old, Adam spent most of his time in the Alaskan Wilderness with a Western W-49 Bowie knife strapped to his belt. The harsh Alaskan Wilderness taught Adam and his brother the value of a big knife as a tool of choice.
After graduating high school, Adam attended college where he learnt to build boats. He then joined the Merchant Marine. In his travels one of Adam’s jobs was running the docks of a salmon processor. After the fishing season was over Adam moved from the cold blue ocean to the hot dry climate of Arizona! Looking for something to do, Adam took the advice of a friend and booked onto a knife-making course offered by the American Bladesmith Society.
Eight hours a day Adam was taught how to forge and grind steel into blades. The instructors were some of the skilled big names in the industry, such as John Fitch, Kevin Cashen and Dickie Robinson. Adam fell in love with the creativity of hand making knives.
In 2005, Adam shot into the limelight by placing 2nd overall at the ABS World Championship Cutting Competition. What made this more interesting was that this was Adam’s first event and everybody present was highly impressed with his knife and his skill using it. Adam Desrosiers was thrust into the ring with the big names of knife making!
For a while now we at Strike Tactical Solutions, have been working on several knife designs that would suit our training and training doctrines. Several makers were given sketch drawings of the design and prototypes were made up by these makers.
I sent an e-mail to Adam asking him if he would be interested in forging a prototype short, fixed-bladed fighting knife of my design. He jumped at the idea and I had a prototype within a few days.
In my opinion there are few words to describe Adam’s work. In short….PHENOMINAL! As this is written, Adam is forging the second-generation prototype. Watch this space for details.
Adam makes CUSTOM hand forged knives and his quality is second to none in the business. Eager to help, down to earth and easy-going as can be, I HIGHLY recommend Adam Desrosiers as a knife maker.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE POWER OF WORDS
By Brian Willis
Law enforcement officers and trainers understand the importance of good communication skills. Most training programs address the value of strong verbal and nonverbal communications skills when dealing with all types of subjects. Tactical communication courses have been integrated into many agency’s officer safety and defensive tactics programs. However, do trainers and officers truly appreciate the power of the words they use every day? Those words have the power to sow the seeds for success or failure. The purpose of this article is to encourage patrol officers and law enforcement trainers to closely examine the words they use, and the subconscious messages they may be implanting.
The subconscious mind, not the rational, analytical conscious mind, is the focal point of this discussion. Research and experience have shown that in high stress events, such as deadly force encounters, the conscious mind is bypassed as a result of combat or survival stress leaving the subconscious mind to control the officer’s reactions. It is important for all officers to understand that the subconscious mind processes information literally, thus affording tremendous power to the words used in training and self talk. The following is an examination of some of the terminology commonly used in law enforcement and the implications it has for officers.
RIGHT AND WRONG vs. THE SCALE OF DESIRABILITY
Most people grew up in educational systems where they were taught there is one right answer to every problem. When you got an answer wrong, you were punished in some way. This thinking has unfortunately found its way into the tactics taught in officer safety and subject control tactics training. Officers are taught that there are right and wrong responses to a subject’s actions. ‘wrong’ response by the officer is accompanied by some form of punishment. This may be push ups or some other physical activity, being told to do it over and make sure they do it right this time, or being told that they are dead or would have been killed on the street. This often results in officers stopping during training when they think they made a mistake, and leaving the training session with the conscious and subconscious belief that if they ever find themselves in that scenario on the street, they are going to lose the confrontation and die. Now, we are not talking about situations where the officer does something that is unlawful, but situations where the officer’s response is not what the trainer would have done or believe should have been done. This type of training is generally technique oriented.
The scale of desirability on the other hand, teaches officers that all responses fall somewhere on this scale with some responses or actions being less desirable, and others are more desirable. Regardless of where their initial response falls, all situations are fixable and winnable. If the initial response is less desirable, officers simply flow into a more desirable response. Once this mind-set is instilled in officers it is unlikely they will stop in training, or in real life. This builds on the philosophy of consistency in principle while allowing for diversity in application. This philosophy takes into consideration the multitude of variables in any situation, the different strengths and experiences of each officer and allows officers to be goal oriented and apply the concepts and principles necessary to prevail in any situation rather than training them to be technique oriented.
Another benefit of this philosophy and terminology is that it creates an extremely positive training atmosphere where officers are more receptive to suggestions that will build on their strengths. Officers then leave training with an enhanced level of confidence and competence.
This term should have been purged from the law enforcement vocabulary long ago. However, trainers and patrol officers still refer to routine traffic stops, routine patrol, routine calls, and routine busts. The word routine endorses an attitude of complacency, and all law enforcement officers know that a complacent attitude is less desirable. Would it not be more desirable to talk about degree of risk based on the officer’s risk assessment? This would include terms such as active patrol, unknown or high risk warrants, operational traffic stops, increased risk traffic stops and high risk vehicle stops to encourage officers to be vigilant while conducting continual assessments of these situations.
WINNING VS SURVIVAL
For years law enforcement trainers have encouraged officers to develop the Survival Mind Set, and to believe they can survive any situation. This was a positive step towards developing proper mental conditioning skills in officers, however is it really the most desirable mind-set? Is it enough for officers to simply survive? Should the mind-set and the goal not be to win every confrontation? After analysing many violent encounters it is apparent that in many cases survival is defensive in nature.
In ‘survival’ mode it is common for an officer to continually backup while the subject continues to aggress and attack. In other cases officers in ‘survival’ mode simply curl up in a ball while being violently assaulted. In all these cases the officer has adopted the role of the prey while the subject is the predator.
If an officer responds in this manner and survives, but is permanently disabled is that the most desirable outcome? Officers need to be taught that when they find themselves in a confrontation, winning is the only option. They need to become the predator, not the prey. A tie or a loss may be in the sports arena, but not in law enforcement.
This a new way of thinking for officers entering the law enforcement profession as many have been raised with the philosophy that it is not important whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game that counts. They need to understand that it is ok to win every time. Officers need to “Think Winning” and understand that survival is a by-product of winning.
This is closely linked to the issue of survival vs. winning. The terms defensive tactics and officer self-defence imply that officers’ use of force is always defensive in nature. In many cases officers are reactive, but that doesn’t mean they have to go into defensive mode. Officers need to be taught how to go on offence to take immediate control of subjects or situations.
A good example of this defensive mind-set is an officer who was attacked by a prisoner in a holding cell area. For approximately eight minutes the prisoner unleashed a violent, unrelenting assault against the officer. The officer was punched, knocked to the ground, his head smashed against the concrete floor, attacked with his own handcuffs, OC spray, and baton. The prisoner also attempted to disarm the officer of his pistol. The officer, who was defensive during the entire attack, eventually drew his sidearm and shot the offender numerous times. Even while he was shooting, the officer was moving backward in a defensive posture.
You must have the utmost respect for this officer for surviving the nightmare and ultimately winning, but you also can’t help wonder how differently this would have turned out if the officer had been taught to win by taking immediate and aggressive offensive action. Does this mean it should be called it offensive tactics? No, but Control Tactics or Subject Control Tactics may be more desirable terminology.
The fatal funnel is a term used in relation to building clearing operations. It refers to areas such as stairwells, hallways and doorways which are all generally narrow, confining areas which offer no cover or concealment and can limit the officer’s tactical options if they have to go to combat. The literal translation and image of a Fatal Funnel is a choke point where you are going to die. Therefore, the term ‘Fatal Funnel’ implies that officers will die if they are in these locations when the fight breaks out. Although these may be less desirable places to be when engaging in combat, the fight is far from over simply because you are in a hallway, doorway or stairwell.
Would it not be more desirable to call these areas what they are, which is thresholds and transitional areas. In order to search a building officers must move through these thresholds and transitional areas. Therefore, it would be more desirable to teach officers tactics to minimize their time in these areas, and win fights in these areas without subconsciously telling them they will die if they are engaged in combat there.
ZONES OF APPROACH
Many agencies teach some variation of the four zones of approach for vehicle stops. These are often taught as the Retreat Zone, Target Zone, Crisis Zone, and Reach Zone. The following is just one explanation of these four zones. The Retreat Zone is usually the area inside the officer’s vehicle. For most cops the word retreat implies defeat. What officers do need to understand is that while the officer is still in the car they greatest amount of cover from fire, as well as excellent mobility to disengage to a more desirable tactical location by placing the vehicle in reverse, or to become offensive and use the vehicle as a weapon.
The Target Zone is from in front of the officer’s car door up to the rear bumper of the subject vehicle. As with building clearing this is simply a transitional area where the officer is between points of cover or concealment. The officer still has the ability to move to cover or concealment, and to aggressively deal with any attack which may be perpetrated by the subject(s).
The Crisis Zone extends from the rear bumper to the B pillar of the subject vehicle. The word ‘crisis’ for many officers implies a situation where there is panic, and loss of control. Does the officer need to be in a state of crisis when they are attacked in this transitional area? Would it not be more desirable to simply teach officers the tactical options if they have to go to combat in this area? The reach zone is that area where the officer is close enough to make immediate physical contact with the subject. Different agencies use variations of the explanations of these zones however, the terminology used, and the subconscious message sent is very similar.
Rather than teaching the zones of approach, officers could be walked through the stages of a traffic stop allowing them to identify positions of cover and concealment, transitional areas and tactical options for defeating threats that emerge at any point in the stop. This allows for consistency in terminology and principles throughout all aspects of officer safety training.
Kill Zone is another term commonly used in relation to vehicle stops and building approaches. The Kill Zone is used to describe open areas where an officer has little or no cover or concealment, and may be exposed to firearms attacks from the subject. In some cases officers must pass through these transitional areas on their approach to the building or vehicle. The term however, implies an officer cannot win a battle that takes place in these areas. While these are less desirable locations for officers, they can still defeat the attacker if they understand the necessary mind-set and tactics.
"BULLET PROOF VESTS"
Body armor worn by patrol officers is not bullet proof, but bullet resistant. The term bullet proof lends itself to an attitude of over confidence, possibly resulting in officers taking unnecessary risks. Officers need to understand the capabilities, and limitations of their body armor. They also need to understand that there are many excuses for not wearing body armor, but there are no good reasons for not wearing it. Body armor has saved thousands of officers lives, and could have saved hundreds more. Body armor is only effective however; if the officer wears it every time they put on their uniform and go to work.
"STRONG AND WEAK HAND"
Officers have a dominant and a non-dominant hand, a dominant hand and a reaction hand, but they do not have a weak hand. This terminology infers that if the officer’s dominant hand is occupied or disabled that they are weak and ineffective with their other hand. With a little training, officers can learn to deliver powerful blows with both hands. They must also be able to perform all tasks with a firearm one handed, with either hand. This means shooting as well as performing all stoppage and reloading drills. With the proper mind set officers will soon learn they have two strong hands. There are numerous documented cases where the officer’s dominant hand was disabled during a gun fight and they simply transitioned the firearm to their reaction hand and won the fight.
The above list of less desirable terminology reflects a training philosophy and is far from exhaustive. To ensure they are using the most desirable terminology all trainers need to critically examine the language used in their presentations, lesson plans, handouts and feedback provided to officers during training sessions. Once changes have been made to that terminology trainers need to monitor the behavioural changes which take place in their officers and continually seek to improve the manner in which training is delivered. Patrol officers need to examine the terminology they use every day and critically reflect on the mind-set it is creating in themselves, and their peers.
Law enforcement training has made significant strides in the quality of training provided to officers over the past twenty years. The transition to terminology focussing on the positive attributes and providing the most desirable mind-set for officers is part of the next progression in that training. Subconscious mind programming one of the most powerful tools officers have to prepare to successfully manage conflict and develop the Winning Mind, and language plays a powerful role in that programming.
MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT Part 1 by Henk Iverson by Henk Iverson
Caren Iverson is a former South African Natural Body Building Champion, finishing in 3rd place overall in the 1998 World Championships in the middle weight division (116 - 125 lb) held in Italy. Caren has Provincial Colors (State Colors) in Athletics, Cross-County Running and South African Colors in Biathlon (running and swimming). Included in her resume is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Atemi-Jitsu. Being a highly qualified Personal Trainer, we interviewed her on her views on NUTRITION and EXERCISE.
STRIKE Tactical: What do you mean when you say that “we are what we eat”?
A healthy body houses a healthy mind, and visa versa. The body needs CARBOHYDRATES for energy (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes); PROTEIN to repair the body (fish, chicken breasts, lean beef, eggs, beans and pulses, cottage cheese, plain yogurt) and VITAMINS AND MINERALS (fruit and vegetables) to keep the body in a healthy state.
If you feed your body junk food, it WILL affect the brain. If you have junk thoughts, it is energy that your body responds to…and will eventually become ill. We need to honor our bodies, for without a body, you will not have a vehicle to operate on planet earth. By treating your body with the necessary care and respect, it will give you a disease-free life. We HAVE to give the body the fuel it needs, and that is NOT sugary, greasy or refined foods! Sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) is poison to the body – killing it slowly by causing diseases. ANY oils that are heated above 212 F ARE carcinogenic. Refined foods hardly have ANY nutrients left!
You are supposed to eat fruit and vegetables DAILY – preferably WITHOUT preservatives and chemicals. Whole foods are the best! Nature produces the best quality food that your body needs. (Anything man has tampered with is not healthy!)
Oatmeal is far more nutritious than cereal. Cereal IS more convenient, but convenience takes away your health! (Talking about convenience – we don’t even get up anymore to switch on the T.V.!)
A combination of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals PER MEAL are necessary for the body to function properly. (Minimum of 3 meals per day with 2 healthy snacks in between to keep blood sugar levels under control!) If blood sugar levels drop, the brain doesn’t function as it should, you can become irritable, etc. By blood sugar I don NOT mean the poison, sugar! Carbohydrates get converted into glucose (the sugar your body needs!) If you do NOT eat small meals often, your body senses starvation and STORES all the food till the next meal! It causes lethargy, weight problems, etc.
We should eat at least 80 percent of the time healthy – not like most people eating only 20 percent healthy (if that!) and wonder why they are sick or moody all the time…or worse, think it is NORMAL to be sick or moody all the time!
Supplements ONLY work in conjunction with a healthy meal!
More next time…
Basic medical kits
Andrew K. Hamilton, EMT-P(T)
I get asked quite frequently about medical kits, how to set them up, and what should go into them. In reality most of the over the counter products will cost more, and have a lower overall quality. First Aid kits are not cure-alls, they are tools to keep you operational and somewhat comfortable.
The best way to look at things breaks down to two things. What type of “mission” and where will it be stored or carried. When space and weight are not an issue, such as vehicle storage, then you can do a little more. The key to good field medicine is keeping it small, simple and light.
After “small, simple and light”, you need to look at it’s use. I am a big fan of the super glue family. It can fix a broken cooler, car and weapon parts, and works as a damn fine liquid band-aid. Additionally these glues work well on abrasions, blisters, etc. Go with the small travel pack. It comes with four small tubes inside a small plastic case. Little waste, and lower chance of spilling it all over.
I break things down into two tiers, one being life saving, the other being “everything else”. For major trauma (cuts, gunshots, dislocations etc.) nothing beats the Israeli Battle Dressing. Airway, Breathing, Circulation are what it is all about. For the layman, a few IBDs and a good quality CPR mask are the best start. Mix that with any basic medical training and you are well ahead of the curve.
“Everything else” is just that. If it isn’t going to kill you now, it’s “everything else”. Specific medical needs for you or others in your group need to be addressed. If someone has a particular medical condition, the proper medical equipment needs to be added into your kit. The most common item is the Epi-Pen Auto Injector. For those with serious allergies, few leave home without it. It is a simple device, but with anything else…read the directions.
Much of what makes a good first aid kit is what I deem the “Mom box”. Pain management, from Aspirin to prescription medications. Stomach/GI items are always a good idea. Whether you are ten days into the bush, or ten minutes into your summer vacation.
One thing that is rarely addressed, but really can cause the biggest problems is field dental care. Walgreens sells a small “Emergency Dental Kit” in their first aid aisle. It runs about $5.00 and it may well be the best $5.00 you ever spend. It contains topical pain management, a container for dropped fillings/crowns and lastly a temporary filling kit. This is the exact same temporary filling that your dentist uses. Once in place it is good for several days. I speak from experience in telling you that this kit works and works well.
Band-aids come in all shapes and sizes. The best I have found are the clear “sports” or water resistant ones. They run several times more than the standard, but they last long and stay in place. Tegederm is the next step up, it is a clear large dressing made for larger wounds. It stays in place, and will allow the injury to breath, but stay protected. It works well for large area, minor burns that need to stay covered in the field
Keeping it clean? Waterless soaps and anti-bacterial wipes are good to have on hand. Those, used with a good anti-biotic cream for after care will keep things from getting infected and going from bad to worse.
Warm or cold? Cold can kill, hypothermia has a direct effect on trauma, and at around 95f you loose the ability to clot. A cheap space blanket (those little silver ones) and a few of the air-reactive chemical heat packs can make a huge difference in life or death. They can also make that brutally cold night, just a little warmer. As with anything, if you use it…replace it ASAP. Cold packs are not a bad idea, but they take up room, and due to the water, they are heavy and prone to breakage.
What and where you store and carry things really comes down to mission and application. The IBD and CPR mask should always be in easy reach. For the LEO or motivated individual these two with Velcro can be mounted direct to the headliner of your vehicle. It’s OK, and quite good to back these up and carry more of them. In the field, carry them within easy reach..
For vehicle or larger packs, make sure that whatever you pack them in can stand up to long storage, yet can be accessed with little effort. Items such as cold packs should either be double bagged in zip-lock type bags, or a small, hard plastic case. They tend to split and leak. The leakage can damage zippers and other equipment rendering it unusable.
You can fill it in with whatever you “think” you might need. Duct tape? Take it, cut the roll in half. Keep the flat strip in your pack. Candy? Sure, great energy and takes the edge off. Peppermint and Cinnamon are well known to settle upset stomachs in addition to making you kissable fresh. It all comes down to “small, simple and light”
Speaking of light? A good head mounted LED light such as the ones from Black Diamond are amazing. They are very inexpensive (around $20.00, and Moosejaw gives a LEO/Fire/EMS/Military discount on ALL purchases). They provide many hours of good light, and the bulbs have a very long burn time. By having a two or three bulb LED system, and some spare batteries you are all but guaranteed to have the light you need.
Go small, go light and keep going.