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ARTICLES - Five to Survive the First Five
 
  Article written by George Matheis, founder of the Modern Combatives System.  
 

 

CAT Theory
Edged Weapons
Preparatory Movement
The Pistol Against the Spontaneous Attack
Spyderco Rescue Knife for Personal Protection
The Ground
The Stick
CQB Pistol Panic Push
Carry VS Deployment
Folder into the Fight
Are You Training for Personal Protection or to be a Bodyguard?
Keep the Light Moving
Knives I See on the Street - LEO and Security Personnel Awareness
Deadly Force is Deadly Force
Police Defensive Tactics
Combative Anatomy
Offensive Defense for the Wounded Combatant
Accessing / Deployed / Attacking
Individual Protection Program
Bag of Evil Contents Revealed
Office Space Survival Volume #1
Root of Excessive Force
CAR/IPD Course Review
Five to Survive the First Five
Which Knives Work Best with the Mercharness
MCS Doctrine as it Relates to Appendix Carry
Musings About the Defensive Use of the Pistol
Edged Weapons - Good Guys vs Bad Guys
Evolution of Combative Anatomy
   

In the the world of self defense and preparedness I feel that too many people concentrate on things that might come in handy instead of gear that over time has proved its general effectiveness. Several months ago on several forums I possessed the question “what five items would you choose to survive the first five minutes of a general emergency”.

I did not give any particular emergency. I just wanted people to think about what five items would increase their personal survival or that of another during the first five minutes of an emergency. I think the most likely emergencies that the average person is going to have to deal with are-

- Motor vehicle accident
- Structure fire
- Building collapse
- Explosion
- Industrial accident

Again the premise being five items to have within arms reach to allow you to survive or help another the first five minutes following  an emergency still had people talking about things that would be nice to have, like first aid kits, sturdy shoes, etc.

The truth is that these five items have got to be within arms reach no matter what. If you have to spend three of the five minutes digging through your “break in case of emergency” bug out bag in the trunk of your car, it could very well mean life or death.

An example would be looking for some gauze in a small first aid kit at the scene of a car accident where someone has an arterial bleed instead of taking what you can find and applying pressure or determining if you should apply a tourniquet.

Most of the time EMS is on the way, they will bring complex skills to the table, but if you fail to have the gross skills and gear to keep the patient alive until they get there it really doesn't matter if they have a surgeon with them.

After sorting through dozens of responses the following list is what was settled upon-

Gloves- in my opinion gloves play a very important role in emergency response that few think about. To me they are like Tom Hanks putting his helmet back during the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan.

They ground you and make you realize that you cannot help anyone if you become a casualty. There is nothing you are going to be able to do for anyone if you loose the use of your hands. In just about any emergency you are going to be dealing with broken glass and sharp metal and in many cases hot metal. There are few emergencies where you would have a good excuse for not gloving up.

Putting rubber gloves on underneath is always preferred for protection against blood born pathogens. When it comes to gloves I prefer the mechanic type readily available at any automotive store.

Knife- here your options are limitless. The most likely use is going to be cutting seat belts and the clothes off of victims so you can access injuries.

Towel- the towel has so many obvious uses that I will not attempt to list them here. The biggest one that comes to mind however is as a blood stopper.

Bandana- another multi-use item. I was agreed the two most likely immediate action uses would be as crude face mask to protect you from dust and debris. The second is to use it as a tourniquet.

Pry bar / Rescue tool- This is where a compromise had to be met. There was an obvious need for something to pry doors open with but in order to have it with you it had to be of a reasonable size.

My two favorites here are the Becker Tac Tool, now out of reproduction but I am sure you can find them and I understand K-Bar may be making them soon, and the MAK-1 from Columbia River Knife and Tool designed by knife maker and professional firefighter James McGowen. Both tools poses a chisels edge for jamming into tight spaces and a sharp blade for hacking. The M-7 also features a glass breaker.

Five to Survive the First Five

The knife and bandanna are carried in my pockets. The gloves, rescue tool and towel are carried in my bag affectionately known as the Bag of Evil. Also a flashlight is carried on my person at all times. No included in the firt five because I think the vast majority have one in their vehicle at least. I like one in my pocket and another in my bag.

In the past six months I have been on the scene of small accidents that shows in to great effect that people just don't carry what they really need. The first was at a pistol course that I was co-teaching. A student put his hand up and was removed from the line.

Turned out that he took a ricochet in the form of a copper jacket right behind the right ear and it was bleeding pretty good. In well under a minute I had my Boo Boo kit out (no need for the trauma kit) and had him patched up and back on the line.

The second time was at a gun show were a long time customer managed to slice the pad of is thumb open while admiring a knife. At just about the same time myself and another MCS instructor Phil Smith had our bags on the table and the wound was cleaned and Dermabond was applied. In the MCS cadre we have EMTs, paramedics and just plain old first responders like me.

I realize that life can be pretty mundane at times and it can be fun to picture yourself fast roping off the Space Shuttle whacking tangos with your custom 1911 and AR-15. These fantasies are fun, however it will be hard to concentrate on them when you are wondering why when you have all this tactikewl stuff you were unable to save someone from a survivable injury during and emergency because you failed to have the minimal equipment.

Just like with all areas of self defense and personal protection your survival, that of those you love and those you stumble upon or are in trusted to protect is dependent on your mindset, training and tools.  Maybe you need a change of mindset and need to add emergency response into it.

Maybe is it time to renew a first aid certification or at least study up. Then commit to carrying the Five to Survive whenever you can.
 
 
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