Issue 40

Defensive Tactics

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In almost any endeavor in life, whether we think about it or not, we use strategies and tactics.  Once we have a goal, we use strategies to develop a plan.  We then employ tactics to carry out the plan and achieve those goals.  Strategies and tactics go hand-in-hand.

Our Personal Safety goal might be, "Come out of any physical assault alive and unharmed".  Our strategy might be to take a Safety Awareness class, start a martial arts program, learn how to safely operate a handgun, Taser or Pepper Spray.  We then take that knowledge and use it if we find ourselves in a threatening situation.

Here are some strategies/tactics that should be part of every Personal Safety plan:

Avoidance - The Number One tactic to employ is avoidance.  We've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating:  The best way to survive an emergency is to not be there!

Be aware of your surroundings.  Trust your "gut" if something doesn't seem quite right.  Don't go into places that don't offer you multiple avenues of escape.  Use your head and think!  Your brain is your most effective weapon.

Use of Concealment/Cover -   Concealment provides a way of masking your presence.  Hiding behind a drape would conceal your location.  But, it does not offer you any physical protection.  

Cover masks your presence AND provides you with a physical barrier between you and your assailant.  You need to consider the effectiveness of cover based upon the weapon of your attacker.  

An automobile provides effective cover against an assailant with a baseball bat or a knife.  It is less useful against an attacker with a firearm.  If you are using an automobile for cover, try to crouch next to the engine compartment. 

The metal of the body and the mass of the engine will give you your best protection.  See what a medium caliber (9mm) handgun round is able to do to a truck door.  Consider what a high-powered rifle round would do.

Moving - Whether you are spraying a pepper spray or firing a handgun, don't give your attacker a stationary target to which they can respond.  If at all possible, move during or immediately after you have responded to an attack.

Something to consider:  If you are facing someone with a handgun in their right hand, MOST will miss their shot to their left (your right).  If you move to your right, you may be helping their accuracy!  If it is safe, try to move to your left.  

ALWAYS try to move towards cover.

Fighting "dirty" - Don't "play by the rules".  Your attacker surely won't.  Find their soft spots.  Eyes, throat, nose, groin, shins, feet.  You must fight to win.  Don't stop until the threat has stopped.

Next Issue:  First Aid and Personal Safety


Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company providing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training, workshops and consulting for individuals, businesses and organizations.

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