Get the most out of your protective training gear

When you’re setting the stage for any defensive tactics training simulation, exercise, or drill, safety is always the number one concern. This extends to the instructors, role players, safety coaches, and students in the exercise, and includes protection against injuries they make get from the environment as much as from each other.

Conducting your scenarios in real-world settings takes some time, patience, planning, thought, and consideration. Conducting a site survey in the area is a must. This enables you to document all unsafe objects, sharp corners, and other objects that can create injury. For example, unstable footing, holes in the ground, and uneven surfaces need to be marked and covered.

If you are conducting exercises in a facility in which you’ve got hard tables and chairs (such as you might find in a suspect holding area), you can pad up those surfaces as well as padding your students. You can only really do this if you’re using training gear that is modular in design and allows for a little innovation (not to mention duck tape). If your scenarios are in parking lots with parked cars, you can pad up bumpers, parts of car doors, and exterior windows and mirrors.

But remember: padding the area is NOT a substitute for safety coaches!

About the author

Dave Young is the Founder and Director of ARMA, now part of the PoliceOne Training Network. He is also the Chairman of Advisory Board, and a training advisor for Dave graduated from his first law enforcement academy in 1985, and now has over 25 years of combined civilian and military law enforcement and training experience. He was a sworn corrections and law enforcement officer in the state of Florida and has served as a gate sentry, patrol officer, watch commander, investigator, Special Reaction Team (SRT) member, leader and commander in the United States Marine Corps.

Dave has participated in and trained both military and law enforcement personnel in crowd management operations throughout the world. Dave is recognized as one of the nation's leading defensive tactics instructors specializing in crowd management, chemical and specialty impact munitions, protocol and selection of gear and munitions, ground defense tactics, and water - based defensive tactics.

He has hosted television shows for National Geographic TV Channel on Non Lethal Weapons and the host of Crash Test Human series.  He is a former staff noncommissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, a member of the Police Magazine advisory board, and a technical advisory board member for Force Science Research Center. Dave is an active member of the American Society for Law Enforcement Training (ASLET), International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

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