Real World Skills for Scene Safety: Part 4

The fifth of DT4EMS' six steps, basic ground defense (BGD) is used to give the provider a moment to protect him- or herself if knocked to the ground. BGD is used to keep an attacker at bay. It can be employed if the provider was kneeling and attacked by surprise by either the patient or a bystander.

For a provider to be at this step, several things have happened:

1) The provider was unknowingly on an unsafe scene.

2) The provider may have failed to be aware of signs the situation was deteriorating.

3) The provider did not maintain a safe distance.

4) The provider did not use the double tap parry (see last month's column) or similar skill to prevent the aggressive push/strike.

If these first four steps of DT4EMS have failed, you are step #5. The elements of the BGD are:

1) Tuck the chin when falling to protect the head from hitting the ground.

2) Keep one arm and one leg off the ground in preparation for defensive action.

Here's how it works: If the attacker moves into range, the provider goes onto their back and kicks like a machine gun, striking rapidly with the heel of each foot until the attacker backs or is knocked away. Then, when the time is right, the provider posts an arm on the ground, swings a leg through the opening and stands with a good base.

This is illustrated by the accompanying series of pictures.

Next month, in the final installment of this series, we'll look at escaping the mount--what to do if you're down and being straddled by an attacker. Then we'll bring it all together with a two-day preconference workshop at EMS EXPO, Oct. 26-27 in Atlanta.

Kip Teitsort is the founder of DT4EMS. He is a veteran paramedic and police officer experienced as an EMS educator and a certified law enforcement defensive tactics instructor. Kip is active in several martial arts, including Kali/silat, submission grappling and kickboxing. He is a featured speaker at EMS EXPO, to be held October 26--30 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta. For more information, visit