Protecting the Frontline 11 (diary entry)

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Wednesday morning’s lesson brought us onto the escape and first aid sections of the course. As always, with teaching courses, there was a lot of room of segway discussions. This morning we had a brief talk about the lack of credible children’s self-protection literature available and the need to get out the new revised edition of “When Parents Aren’t Around” as a kindle and, for the first time, as a paperback.

We also discussed the importance of steering away from abstract training when teaching hard skills. Tactical escape is a good example of how matters can be kept real in the classroom. Try to designate actual working exit points in any room where training takes place and try to avoid manufactured “safety zones” that are not near doorways. In line with purpose-driven training methodology, individuals should be taught to take in date of legitimate points of escape and safety. Where are the exits? Where do they lead? If the main one is blocked where else do I go?

The importance of data gathering and reconnaissance work for certain locations can be vital for a particular type of client. I learnt this when I was teaching the Law Society. For the most part, the self-protection world caters largely to a domestic/recreational community that are unlikely to encounter much violence in their day-to-day lives. With good personal security (soft skills) layered into their everyday lives their chances of encountering violence should be greatly reduced. At the other end of the scale self-protection services are also readily acquired and trained by professionals who voluntarily enter potentially dangerous situations such as security personnel, close-protection officers, the police and the military. However, there is an overlapping area of professionals who knowingly enter into potentially volatile and violent environments whose primary concern is not to directly deal with these threats. Social workers always go in pairs and, in many cases, will enter places with a police escort. As my client pointed out, carers rarely have these advantages. They often enter homes where they can be at the mercy of their patient’s abusive relatives or neighbours. Similarly foster parents can also be exposed to violence from the young people in their care, that young person’s vengeful parents and other antagonists they bring with them. The Law Society presented me with a similar situation whereby legal personnel were being dropped into unfamiliar environments – often quite hostile – to deliver unwanted, life-changing news. These individuals need to catered for with good exit plans.

This approach was carried over into how we train individuals who are going on holiday or on a night out in an unfamiliar environment. Individuals need to be assigned responsibilities for groups of people and safe havens need to be established ahead of time.

We then began our first aid section. I recommend that tactical escape training should also include pat down behaviours to check for bleeding. This should be extended to real-world self-protection with individuals checking each other. The discussion then moved onto the possibility of first aid to the person being protected as well as the attacker.

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