RATs and CATs, not another Tom & Jerry feud
A few years ago, after a horrific event, in trying to understand how something like that could happen, I found myself reading not about the motivation of the perpetrator or the rhetoric associated with policy and changing laws. Instead, I found myself reading about the actions of the heroes that emerged that evening. I read about a man who broke into and stole a truck in order to transport wounded to a local emergency room and I read several accounts of different bystanders administering first aid to other victims of this horrible tragedy. In the applied first aid, one common theme kept coming up and that was of people removing their belts to use as tourniquets to control bleeding, this quick thinking saved lives. It also trigged the Eagle Scout part of brain that forces me to be prepared for all occasions.
Where I watched friends go out and purchase firearms, sign up for courses related to self defense and a host of other things that would not have a made a difference in the events that occurred that evening, I asked myself a broad question. How was I prepared if I ever found myself in that nightmare? The answer was I wasn’t, at least not to a level that would not requiring channeling MacGyver.
I always carry a small first aid kit. Between earring the first aid merit badge as a young lad and being trained in Search & Rescue I’ve always had one on me or near by, but it wasn’t meant to treat to anything serious, at least nothing that resembled a battle field. In my big first aid kit that generally stays in the truck while I’m out adventuring is a traditional combat application tourniquet or “CAT”. These are windlass tourniquets where pressure is applied through the turning of the windlass (its a bar you spin around) to limit blood loss. These are incredibly effective, however, they pose several problems when trying to integrate into some sort of everyday carry. They are awkward, draw attention and so are so cheap that when trying to use them the windlass will break. Also, the primarily sized for adults.
In researching various tourniquets I came across a rather innovative design. The Rapid Application Tourniquet or “RAT”. They were designed by someone with extensive combat experience, apply much faster than the windless style, are easier to carry around and can serve a variety of functions given their design making it very functional. Two other important factors I did not realize would be a main selling point is that with their design they work on adults, children AND pets.
I’ve picked up a few, as they are not that expensive and don’t take up much room in a bag or glove box. Being a grad student I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping one in my school backpack, I always have one out at the gun range or place where safety is a concern, I even take one under with me while scuba diving. Where I hope to never be in that nightmare scenario, accidents happen everyday and I feel a little better prepared knowing I have my “RAT” available if I ever need it.
As a point of disclosure, I teach trainings on self defense and how to navigate an active shooter scenario. After the events in El Paso, I became a distributor to sell RATs. I did this because during my trainings I get asked about them and I decided it would better to have some on hand to sell and just get them in the hands of people who wish to be better prepared. ya