Many industry practitioners understand and embrace that continuing education is a necessity in a highly competitive, rapidly evolving industry such as protective services.
Yet, there is a commonly overlooked issue that leaves gaps for most. When selecting training, do you find trendy topics, or do you train to fill your gaps?
Two of the most common ‘gaps’ we see amongst our student base (and ourselves…) are within medical training and within interpersonal conflict training. In this article, we aim to explain these issues and bring to light a solution for these gaps by training from the floor to the gurney and also from verbal to deadly force.
Basic Medical Skills in Executive Protection and Security
By Art Dorst
With 30 years of experience as a sailor, soldier, police officer/EMT, and security provider and trainer I have come up with some pretty clear ideas about what medical first response is for the average security provider. This is not meant to deter anyone from obtaining their EMT or Paramedic certifications or from persons with higher levels of training from providing that service. The first thing I will say is that anyone providing medical services as part of their security duties work within the scope of their training. This is due to the fact that we live in a litigious society and you will be held accountable for your actions. If you are not trained by a reputable training provider and cannot provide current proof certification you are likely to find yourself in trouble. Just because you watched a video or saw it on YouTube doesn’t mean you’re qualified to provide an intervention on/to a patient. I strongly recommend that you seek out reputable training providers who can and will provide you with a certification of training as well as backup support should you become the subject of a lawsuit.
What we do need to be able to do is access a patient quickly, determine immediate treatment (within our scope of training) we can provide, provide that treatment, and when necessary get the patient to the next higher level of medical authority. I like to call this concept from the floor to the gurney (The gurney refers to the stretcher of responding EMS personnel).
The first step for an executive protection agent tasked with providing emergency medical service is to be able to recognize that there is a problem, either an injury or illness and take action. Depending on whether the patient is conscious, or unconscious will determine the immediate actions to take place. For illness with a conscious responsive patient, a SAMPLE history should generally be a good starting point.
S = Signs and Symptoms
A = Allergies
M = Medication
P = Past Pertinent History
L = Last Oral Intake
E = Events Leading Up To The Present Situation
For an unconscious patient, the first steps should be to check the ABCs, Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. A secondary assessment may be conducted, situation depending, for additional injuries or indications that contributed to the current condition. Executive protection agents should provide treatment to their level of certification whether it be calling for outside EMS response, transporting the patient themselves, starting CPR, using an AED, assisting the patient with their prescribed medication or providing first aid in the form of bandaging and applying tourniquets.
Another part of this puzzle is readily available medical equipment.
By readily available I mean on the person equipment. It does no one any good to have a fully stocked kit in the car when you’re on the thirteenth floor of a building and your principal has a heart attack or is injured. This does not mean every security provider needs to be carrying a large bulging individual first aid kit as the military does as this will not usually fit in a corporate or professional setting (Although this may be necessary depending on your principal’s health).
What the executive protection agent needs is a small but comprehensive kit that will blend into any professional setting without attracting attention. Minimally a small kit should include the following: CPR Face shield, Non-latex protective gloves, a tourniquet (My CONUS low profile preference is the SWAT T), a blood-clotting agent, a rescue hook for cutting seatbelts or removing external clothing to expose wounds or treatment sites, a small roll of Duct tape, a couple band-aids, and a packet or two of Tylenol and Pepto tablets. With these items and some knowledge, there are many treatment options available to the provider. Again, the idea here is to bridge the gap for a lack of treatment between the floor and the gurney (the arrival of EMS).
In conclusion, I believe that all executive protection agents should have a basic level of medical training and certification from a reputable training provider additionally because of what is currently happening in the world today I strongly recommend a trauma/tactical type training course. Additionally, executive protection agents have to be able to keep their heads during a medical emergency many times there may be family members, professional associates, or the media in the area. The ability to maintain professionalism and the principal’s privacy are also part of the job of the executive protection agent.
“Between Verbal and Firearms: What are you trained to do?” – from Gary Pastor
Many times when teaching protection teams I get the same question. Do you always carry a gun? If not, what would you do if something happens? Well, the truth is, if you have to rely on your firearm, you should rethink your profession. Don’t get me wrong, if I “need” one I hope I have one but with protective details, you will more likely work without one than with. Planning and doing your advance work will help you avoid 99% of the issues you are likely to encounter.
Verbal judo covers a good portion of the other 1%. However, when it is time to put hands-on, you better be ready. This is the contingency that you cannot plan for because it happens so fast, but you can train for it. By training regularly, you are ready when you don’t have to be and prepared without thinking. As many have said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Similarly, “Failing to train is training to fail.”
So where do I start and how do I know what discipline to study? Martial arts are like shoes… there are many different styles but what fits you and works best for your purpose? In today’s world, there is a lot of focus on Brazilian Jujitsu, but most of their techniques concentrate on “Rolling”. If you find yourself rolling…ask yourself…where is your principal? It is impossible to protect your principal when you are on the ground or grappling with an assailant. Taekwondo is great for mastering the kick but slow on developing hand technique. So… the question remains… what should I study? My answer is simple. Find what works for you but do something.
“He who hesitates, meditates in the horizontal position”. Ed Parker
As an “Executive Protection Practitioner,” you must practice your profession to be prepared. Personally, I have studied GaMa GoJu Karate for 20 years and it works for me. Finding a martial arts program that focuses on self-defense is important. I suggest finding an instructor with 20+ years of experience. Then go to a few classes. Most schools have a free trial period. When you find one you like, put it in your schedule and go. Instructors like me will come to you and work with your team or company on the essentials.
As I train, I keep in mind that everything I do is on camera somewhere and will likely end up on some sort of social media before I finish my detail. So, with that in mind, I focus on pain compliance with a smile. How you hold your hands, position your body, and yes…. smile, can save your butt and save your job. It is possible to defend your principal and yourself and still smile leaving tabloid reporters with little to report.
What we do in a conflict can adversely affect how the public views your client and how your client views you. One bad act can cost someone their career in Executive Protection. Still miss your weapon? From pens, keys, lights, belts, spoons, and straws to my favorite… a rolled magazine or newspaper, improvised weapons are everywhere. So, train like you fight and fight like you train.
Gap Training – What Most Practitioners Overlook
By: Joseph M LaSorsa & Associates
About the authors: Art Dorst is the owner of A. Dorst Consulting & Training Services and is a Senior Consultant for LaSorsa & Associates. He served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves and eventually retired as an NCO from The Army National Guard. He is also a retired municipal Police Officer, a Certified EMT, NRA Instructor, and is currently a security provider/trainer.
Gary Pastor, is the owner of Private Eyes Inc. and the North Carolina protection group and is currently a consultant with LaSorsa and Associates. Offering investigative and executive protection services. He served in the US Marine Corps for four years, and another four in law enforcement. He has served as a board member and President of the NC Association of Private Investigators, he is a martial arts instructor with over 20 years of experience obtaining the rank of third Don.