Trauma gear, such as a first aid kit, bandages and…

Trauma gear, such as a first aid kit, bandages and medical supplies, is also a must for an LEO’s action-ready kit.

The terms “go bag” and “bug-out bag” have become rather vogue in the personal defense and survival community. “Bug-out bag” just sounds cool. Despite the recent popularity of the idea, the fact of the matter is that go bags or load-out bags, if you will, have been in use by the U.S. Military’s Special Operations community for decades.

A go bag is simply a container that you’ll use to pre-stage and organize vital equipment. Obviously, a go bag is set up and stored in the event that the user will have to deploy for a mission on a moment’s notice. Special Operations personnel must be ready to go at any time of the day or night.

What about law enforcement? Do they have the need for a go bag? I think we can easily agree that modern LE professionals do indeed have the need for the go bag. As rapid responders, LEOs rarely have the time to pack a tactical bag after the call has been received. They must be ready to deploy instantly.

Illumination tools, such as headlamps, high performance flashlights and disposable “chemlights” are a must for any LE go bag.

Go Bags
When discussing the go bag for LE, we have two basic categories: short-term and extended deployment. The short-term bag is an individual-sized container that an officer can grab and go with for a single engagement. For instance, the short-term bag could be staged with the patrol rifle. This bag would contain a spare magazine or two, first aid/trauma gear, a bottle of water, a set or two of flex-cuffs, a flashlight perhaps.

The short-term go bag is expected to provide the individual officer with gear for a relatively short engagement. This might be an active shooter call that ends in minutes or a barricaded suspect scenario that takes hours.

On the other end of the scale, we have an extended deployment bag. This particular bag will be set up to supply several officers, say a four- to six-man team, with essential gear for long-term problems. Natural or manmade disasters rarely can be wrapped up and secured quickly. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is an excellent example, though there are many others.

After a disaster occurs, law enforcement officers are expected to remain vigilant and on-duty for days at a time. I have several good friends that were LE officers on the gulf coast after Katrina struck. On average, they were getting four to five hours of sleep a day and they worked non-stop for the first two to three weeks before enough support arrived to give them some rest. The job is tough enough. You don’t want to make it tougher by not having the essential gear you need to accomplish the mission.

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