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What You Should Know Post Shooting

This is a guest post by Scott Sylvester

shooting aftermathThe Post Shooting Immediate Aftermath

When we talk about personal defense, self-defense and shooting situations, most of the discussions I read online or conversations with people rarely include the possibility that you will be injured or severely wounded as a result of an encounter. Whether it be a physical altercation, or a gunfight the odds are you will not walk away from either unscathed.

Dynamic confrontations require a plan, good fitness, and the ability to maintain the initiative. We’ve talked a lot about these aspects in previous articles (and will do so again I’m sure), so the focus of our discussion today is what to do in the immediate aftermath.

When the fight ends, everyone in the personal defense world begins calmly talking about how to call 911, identify yourself as a friendly citizen, and what to say to attorneys. What really happens after a dynamic confrontation is that you slowly start to regain your senses as your parasympathetic nervous system reasserts its authority and begins to mitigate the adrenaline, cortisol and the other chemicals dumped into your system to prepare you for the life threatening encounter you were just involved in. While you should call 911 and prepare for long hours of interviews, that is an unrealistic immediate response.

After you are certain the threat has ended, the first thing you are going to be concerned with is a self-assessment. Are you okay? Are the people around you (loved ones) okay as well? To conduct a thorough self-assessment you will need to do so physically, not just visually. You may be fighting the effects of tunnel vision and a quick scan of yourself or loved ones may not be enough to detect injury. Once you are safe and if shots were fired then you need to holster your weapon, take the palm of your hand and sweep it over each quadrant of your body. After each sweep, hold your palm up to your face and check for blood. If you are shot, there is a strong possibility that you may not even know it due to your body’s stress response.

As you all know, handguns in particular are not effective at killing, and you can be shot with a handgun caliber (several times) and survive. Case in point: While working in our corrections division I met an inmate who was shot 8 times and left for dead by a drug dealer she had robbed earlier, yet she survived and was one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever met in the county jail system. Yes, I said she… a female.

In 2006 there was another suspect who engaged the police in a gunfight and was shot 17 times, 11 of which exited his body. He had a broken arm from a .40S&W round but was still able to resist arrest even after the shooting stopped.

Shot does not equal dead and when you are training, make sure that you emphasize this, especially during force on force training encounters.

Also make sure that when you are training practice shooting more than 1 or 2 rounds each time you draw. It may take a lot of rounds to stop a threat.

Shot means keep fighting and in the real world pain = life = ability to fight on! Never give up!

So in your immediate aftermath if you find that you are wounded, it is time to begin addressing your medical condition and taking action to make sure you are around to tell your side of the story. If you are hit, what do you have as a part of your Every Day Carry (EDC) to address trauma and to stop hemorrhaging. The leading cause of death on today’s battlefield is uncontrolled hemorrhaging so getting the bleeding stopped is top priority. Unless you carry a backpack or purse you might not have your trauma kit handy so improvisation is key.

How much medical expertise do you possess to diagnose and render basic first aid or trauma aid to yourself or a buddy? When was the last time you attended a training course that supplemented your firearms training? Shooting course are great but you need to be well rounded when it comes to personal protection and self-defense. While I hope the plan you worked out in advanced is successful we cannot ever overlook reasonable contingencies.

One of the simplest ways to be sure is to add a small Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) to your everyday carry items. A backpack is part of my daily carry and I’m never far from it, so keeping an IFAK handy is simple. Women can easily add a small kit to a purse but not everyone has the luxury of a backpack, purse of briefcase so a pocket kit might be an option.

You can keep it as simple as an Israeli or H&H bandage, a SWAT-T tourniquet, a pair of gloves and some Quick-Clot gauze, which will all fit easily into a pocket and will cover you for a short amount of time if you are significantly injured. A lot of companies are making small kits that fit on your belt and are easier to conceal than your firearm. Whatever kit you choose, make sure you are familiar with the contents and how to properly apply them. If you have never heard of any of the items I’ve listed above, perhaps you should consider taking a training course on First Aid / CPR and some Tactical Medical training.

Whatever you decide make sure the kits and contents you buy are from a quality source and manufacturer. If you have some medical training you can assemble a kit yourself to better customize the size and contents suited to you as long as you remember your life is on the line, so make sure you have good kit!

As a disclaimer I want to make sure you are qualified and capable of administering the level of care you are providing. Medical negligence occurs when you exceed the scope of your knowledge and training when applying treatment so I cannot emphasize the importance of training.

When you attend a course take your kit with you and have it evaluated by the instructor. Several of the courses I have been to give you a kit to take with you as well as use the contents found in that kit during the training.

As we close, I also want you to consider one more thing. In the aftermath of a shooting, if you come out unscathed and use lethal force to stop someone who is an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury, you might need to use your medical training to save the life of the suspect.

While it may be hard for you to help someone who was trying to hurt you, it is a possibility you may encounter. In the investigation and review of the shooting by a District Attorney, it may bode well for you if you rendered aid. There are a lot of variables that go into rendering aid to a suspect after an incident so think through the possibilities on your own and develop a plan now.

When the fight is over, the immediate aftermath is about saving lives.

Be safe,
Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool – www.oneweaponanytool.com

Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool.
If you are interested in medical training, please call or email [email protected]

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