Some tell me they haven’t been trained in tactical medical skills and I ask them to simply imagine applying what they do know to themselves, and also learn to apply tourniquets and dressings to their own wounds. If you sit down with a couple of EMT’s they can break it down by injury location and type for you. Just doing this is a huge step in getting mentally prepared to win a gunfight. Since you have already resolved what to do if you get hit it won’t become something you “worry” about; and worrying is another form of visualization … negative visualization!
Okay, so we have mundane day-to-day activities we can classify as “routine” that get us hurt and killed, as well as rare, critical, and intense activities that can get us hurt and killed; both are made more survivable if we will only get checklists! So let’s do it. The trouble is, many of you reading this say, “My agency won’t ever do this, and they don’t care, and yada yada yada.” Fine, complain about it and then feel better; Maslow said griping was good for the soul – but it doesn’t make you safe and that is no one else’s job but yours.
Create your own routine and critical incident checklists, and – better yet – co-opt your warrior friends and do them as a group. The simple act of creating a checklist refreshes the training you’ve had and helps combat the effects that routine has on your performance. We all know routine kills; well, we can say just as certainly that checklists combat routine, improve our performance, and simply make us safer! Try it!
Reading list: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande