Photo by Mark W. Clark.

Photo by Mark W. Clark.

In his book, "Officer Down: A Practical Guide to Surviving Injury in the Street," Dr. Andrew Dennis recommends a life-saving script that officers can learn, practice, and employ during a shooting to improve their chances for survival. By understanding three basic steps—Breathe, STOT, Move—officers are able to maintain control over their physiological responses and employ more effective psychological responses to stressful incidents.

Step 1: Breathe

Slow down your breathing by bringing your tongue to the roof of your mouth and forcefully exhale. This puts pressure on your vagus nerve to slow down your heart rate and changes your physiology for the better. In turn, this forces you to reassess the situation, and recognize what is happening around you.

Step 2: STOT

STOT stands for security, treat bleeding, open airways, and treat for shock.

Security or situational awareness means you need to understand your surroundings and recognize where the threats are.

Treat bleeding with pressure dressings or a tourniquet.

Open the airways—if the officer is talking, then the airway is open. If you carry a needle airway in a combat intervention kit, use it.

Treat for shock—first and foremost, keep the wounded individual (or yourself if you've been shot) warm. To prevent fainting, remember the mnemonic: If the face is red, raise the head. If the face is pale, raise the tail.

Step 3: Move

Move to a position of safety, preferably to a place of cover.

Related:

What It's Like to Be Shot

Author

Dean Scoville
Dean Scoville

Associate Editor

Former associate editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.

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Former associate editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.

View Bio
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