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One-Man Go Bag: Kit up now

If you work the road, whether as a trooper, deputy, or patrolman, I would lay odds that you already have more junk in your trunk than you need or know what to do.  While I hate to add to that list, I’m to going to suggest a piece of kit that just might save your life or the life or your fellow officers.

Everyone who carries a gun for a living should understand that it’s not just the bad guys that end up bleeding.  Far too often the good guys and the innocent citizen are found on the ground leaking.  If you are out on the road, it’s more often than not going to be you who show up first on the scene.   I won’t upset your stomach any further by recounting the recent mass casualty events, but they happen and will continue to happen.  The question is will you have the gear you need to address the problem?

The Bag

A large backpack or duffle bag is really out of the question. The bag or container we use needs to be relatively compact and easy to slip over your shoulder as you respond to the call.  Just as our forefathers had a haversack or war bag hanging on a hook ready to go, we need a single strap, shoulder bag to tote our gear.

A gear bag that I have used with great success is the Rapid Deployment Pack from a company called US Peacekeeper.  This shoulder bag has a large single strap and ample interior and exterior pockets to stow a plethora of useful gear.       

Gear: More Ammo

No, cops are not soldiers and you won’t likely need a 300 round load out.  However, having spare ammunition for both your pistol and long gun is never a bad idea.  My feeling is the only time can have too much ammo is when you fall in a river or are on fire. 

If, God forbid, American law enforcement is forced to deal with a Mumbai or Beslan type of attack you will be need ammunition.  Only the ammo that you have on your person or within arms’ reach will count.  You can’t call time out and run back to the station to draw more.  Keep in mind that you aren’t necessarily just bringing ammo just for yourself.  You might need to supply a brother officer who is down to his last magazine.

Water? Yes, water.

Again, you don’t know what tomorrow might bring.  I like that the Rapid Deployment bag has a pocket that holds a standard water bottle.  Think about this, you respond to an active shooter / in-progress call and the watch commander puts you on the perimeter to keep the suspects from escaping.  You might be out there for a good while.  You can’t simply take off when you get thirsty.  The adrenaline dump inspired by an active shooter call is certainly going to inspire thirst.  Human beings function best when well-hydrated.  It’s simply a fact or life.

Medical Supplies

First of all, if you aren’t trained in some type of emergency trauma care, you are rolling the dice.  I’m not talking about CPR here.  Something as common as an everyday car crash to the extreme of an active shooter can produce life-threatening injuries instantly.  A victim with arterial bleeding, loss of an airway or a tension pneumothorax (deadly air build-up in chest cavity) can die before medical professionals can get to them.  

As a road officer you are the first responder.  A thorough two-day course can provide you with the knowledge and skill to stave off the top three preventable trauma-related deaths.  At very minimum, your One Man Go Bag should contain a pressure dressing, preferably two, a tourniquet, again preferably two.  The kit should have Kerlex-type roll gauze to soak up blood and fill up gaping wounds.  A nasopharyngeal airway and a chest-decompression needle are also needed to maintain an open airway on an unconscious patient and relieve a tension pneumothorax.  

Human beings can, and often do, live with only one good lung.  However, if there is a hole in the chest cavity you’ll need to cover it up with some type of seal.  Ready-made adhesive chest seals are a far better choice than scrounging around looking for a piece of plastic and some tape.   The middle of a medical trauma incident is not the time to be looking around to tape, etc.  Bring the gear with you.  North American Rescue has ready-made tourniquets, pressure dressings, chest seal packs and any other medical trauma gear you need.

 Parting Thoughts

The One Man Go Bag doesn’t have to be seen as some kind of post-apocalypse tool.  I’ve had to use my medical kit on the range during training.  Remember, we don’t carry our pistols because we are planning to be in a gunfight.  We carry guns just in case we are forced into a fight. 

The same goes for the Go Bag. We don’t stock it up and keep it ready because we want to use it, it’s just the opposite.  Prepare and stage your Go Bag just in case.  Our world does not seem to be getting safer and calmer, it is quite the contrary.  As a sworn peace officer you can’t simply lock yourself away and wait for the storm to pass.  When the storm hits it will be you who is right in the middle of it.


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About The Author:

Mr. Markel is a former United States Marine, Police Officer, and has worked as a professional bodyguard both in the U.S. and overseas. A Subject Matter Expert on Small Arms and Tactics, Markel has provided instruction to law enforcement and U.S. Military troops.

As a recognized author and writer, Paul has penned several hundred articles published in numerous professional journals and trade periodicals. Topics include firearms training, use of force, marksmanship, less-than-lethal force options, product reviews and evaluations, emergency medical care, and much more. Sought after as a public speaker, Mr. Markel is at home in front of an audience large or small.