Traveling is something that millions of people do every day and while not as frequent I too suck it up and play the airport / airline game. Herded like cattle through various checkpoints, lines of people hustling to one location or another. Stand here, sit there, and don’t move unless you are told to do so. If you comply all is well, if you do not comply or even give the perception that you might not feel like complying well then…it could be a bad day.
Most of us carry a gun for our own personal protection and while traveling with a gun inside checked baggage is allowed outside of that firearms are a huge no-no inside airports and airplanes. Combine that with the fact that parts of the airport (in my opinion) are extremely soft targets and the stakes rise when traveling to grandma’s house. A quick threat assessment would reveal a most likely course of action: Single shooter as we saw in Florida. Most dangerous course of action: Coordinated attack as we saw in Belgium and Turkey.
I believe there are two components/concepts which we can harness when traveling which would greatly increase chances of survival should a worst case scenario occur.
- Situational Awareness. Should go without saying but it’s an important one. Paying attention to one’s surroundings, avoiding grouping together in areas like baggage claim, understanding where the good guys with guns are and the exits nearest your location. If you are with family or small ones, having a plan to get them out quickly if a stampede starts.
- Trauma Kit / Training. How many lives could have been saved post event in the examples I listed above if a few survivors had an improved first aid kit (IFAK) and the ability to employ the equipment inside such kit? Think CAT Tourniquet, Quikclot Combat Gauze, Israeli Bandages, Gauze, NAR Field Dressings, chest seals and more. Hemorrhaging can kill quickly and the ability to stop it only in the short window between the event and when First Responders arrive could save others (or your own life).
Back in the day I never used to travel with an IFAK but thankfully I made the transition and it’s standard on the packing list these days. I keep the components on our near my person in a carry on bag at all times. I should stress once again that proper training on how to employ these items is crucial, otherwise you’ll have people attempting to TQ a neck or wipe blood away with combat gauze. A good place to source many of these items is North American Rescue, check them out when you get a chance.
I’ll wrap it up with some final thoughts. Many of us tend to be action oriented in that if there is a threat we feel as if we could / would do something about it to mitigate the threat or even eliminated it. The reality is that some will slip through the cracks, some will get past the gates and into the village and maybe even get away. It’s at that point where we have to remain action oriented but now it’s about saving lives until help arrives. I strongly urge everyone to seek basic training with respect to utilizing the components in side of an IFAK and to stay aware and safe when traveling through airports.