Most of us don’t expect to become victims of gunfire, 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 gunshot wounds than in previous wars because of new bandages that stop bleeding as soon as they are applied.
We have discussed Counter Narcotics Terrorist Operations and Medical Support (CONTOMS) in a previous column. 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 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training also have some medical training — and carry a gun as part of their daily routine.
That is one of the reasons that the Armed Defense Training Association (ADTA) exists: to bring armed citizens together in Federal Way and acquire better sheep dog skills.
Here’s hoping 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.