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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!

Dave Young writes on a diverse topics dealing with crowd management, chemical and specialty impact munitions, protocol and selection of gear and munitions, ground defense tactics, and water-based defensive tactics.