In 1984, a person emerged from the back rooms of a trade show in a red foam padded suit. Someone looked at it and shouted across the floor, and said, “Hey, look at the RedMan!” Still red and over 20 years later RedMan Training Gear are still the leaders in the industry for blunt trauma protection, and like everything else in advancement through technology, a few different colors for training and duty gear for real confrontations, and over 101 ways to use the RedMan Training Gear.
Each year, training becomes more and more a liability to departments, officers and the students they train. If a student or instructor get hurts during a training session, you can hear “Stop the presses,” echo throughout the agency.
Some of the basic questions asked when selecting protective equipment for training are;
1. Does the gear work?
a. Only one way to find out is to put it on and go through a series of test that will answer this question for you.
2. Can I use it with our training?
a. I have found that the RedMan Gear can be used in ALL training programs, regardless of the training system. Remember when buying protective gear you are wanting protection from strikes, falls, environments, etc.., do not get caught in buying a protective suit to fit a specific training system, but a protective suit which gives you the protection to train in EVERY SYSTEM.
3. How long does it last?
a. This is a hard one to answer, however I still have the first pieces of training ear from RedMan since 1985, and it still works.
4. Who can wear it?
a. Only trained and certified people should be allowed to be in the RedMan Instructor suits. Training and educating your officers are a must!
5. How many do I need?
a. This is usually based on budget, and number of officers you are training. I use this principal;
One XP or Weapons Defense Instructor Suit for every two instructors, so they can switch off and gives each other a good cool time period between student drills, and two student suits for every three students who will be wearing gear. Rotating between drills and being t safety coach during these exercises.
The RedMan Training Gear was designed to be modular. So you can protect each part of the body that will come into contact with any blunt force during the training exercise, and allows for freedom of movement, with each piece specifically designed to protect the wear from the most common blunt trauma injuries:
Types of Blunt trauma Injuries:
1. Direct Trauma: This is a direct contact from a hand, elbow, knee, or leg strike, or from the training baton used to impact the Instructor who is wearing the RedMan XP Instructor Suit.
Example: Student loading their elbow to strike, executing an elbow strike to the upper chest area.
Special note: Not all training batons are a like or safe. It is strongly recommended to use the RedMan White Safe foam Training baton for impacting the Instructor.
2. Indirect Direct Trauma: This is the indirect or secondary contact from a glancing blow from contact from hand, elbow, knee, or leg strikes, or from the training baton used to impact the Instructor who is wearing the RedMan XP Instructor Suit.
Example: Student loading their elbow to strike, executing an elbow strike to the upper chest area, however their elbow glances or skips off the intended target area of the upper chest and strikes the instructor in their lower chin area.
3. Environmental Trauma: This is nothing more then the direct contact from their surroundings after a receiving a strike which causes the Instructor in the XP Instructor Suit to fall on the ground, or other hard surface objects, like tables, doors and door knobs, railings, etc…,
Example: Student loading their elbow to strike, executing an elbow strike to the upper chest area; however their elbow skips off the intended target of the upper chest and strikes the instructor in their lower chin forcing them directly into the wall which throws their head back into the wall behind them.
Even though not all injuries can be prevented during training, there should be an expected level of protection the wearer should be able to rely on. That is why, during each of your training sessions it is vital to allow the students to test their own level of comfort and safety for receiving strikes while in any suit or gear designed to protect the wearer.
Exhaling upon impact, shifting body weight during a strike, proper body position, distance and angle from the strike are all important. The use of protective suits has come a long way from having to wear other sporting equipment for or protection.
In 1985 when supervising my first high level simulation, I remember having to wear a foot helmet, mouth piece, sporting groin protector, soccer shin guards, and padded catcher’s chest protector with a pillow inside, and a set of hockey rib guards. I realized after the first simulation it was going to the long day, and very painful day.
I soon realized that injuries could be prevented by better use of time management, wearing proper safety equipment, effective role playing, and the use of safety coaches. About 10 years ago was my first experience in seeing a great attempt in putting some of these together was when I attended my first Active Countermeasures Class in Milwaukee, WI taught by ACMI (ACMisystems.org) founder Gary T. Klugiewicz, who is recognized as one of the nation’s leading trainers in high level simulations.
After attending this class I had to do a self evaluation, and change my own way of doing things, and start developing various protocols for the selection of equipment, and establishing a criteria for equipment to be tested and used.
One of the important issues that evolved was it was clear to me that the use of the RedMan Gear could be used as a Multilevel Training Platform and foremost the only equipment that can used for 3 dimensional training.
In addition to being the only gear you can safely sanitize and disinfect, patch and repair on the spot, it allowed me to conduct the various systems we used at this time, with our training being used in many different environments which enhanced our training practices greatly and better prepared the students for what they would face in the field, later I found over 101 ways to use the RedMan Gear effectively and most importantly safe.
From the basic normal locations in a gymnasium, realistic scenarios to the various outside locations, to ground and water environments, to working in chemically contaminated environments, RedMan Gear did it all! It was basically limited to my own imagination.
These Multilevel Training Platforms are;
· One Dimensional Training format-meaning padding up the instructor and not the student. Officers do not face many one sided encounters…(Not to realistic!)
· Two Dimensional Training format, meaning padding up both the instructor and student from light to high impact training. (Not practical if you are unable to go high impact as in real life encounters, and if your suit only allows for low impact training this has many associate injuries for both instructor and student)
· Third Dimensional Training meaning force on force for both low/high impact training and using training marking projectiles. (Allows for the complete real world experience)…How can we be prepared to play in the super bowl if we only get to preseason games!
In closing, there are an assortment of training suits and duty gear from many different companies that offer you various types and levels of protection. I hope you pick the one that gives you the best overall coverage, and protection. I challenge you to take the RedMan Challenge! Visit our web site at RedMangear.com … Please note that all written material is copyrighted by Dave Young, and can not be used without written permission.
Dave Young is the Director of Specialized Programs for the Northcentral Technical College- RedMan Training and the Director of Training for RedMan Training Gear. Dave graduated from his first law enforcement academy in 1985, and now has over 20 years of combined civilian and military law enforcement and training experience. He was a sworn corrections and law enforcement officer in the state of Florida and has served as a gate sentry, patrol officer, watch commander, investigator, Special Reaction Team (SRT) Team member, Leader and Commander in the United States Marine Corps. Dave has participated in and trained both military and law enforcement personnel in crowd management operations throughout the world. Dave is recognized as one of the nation’s leading defensive tactics instructors specializing in personal survival, crowd management, non-lethal weaponry, chemical and specialty impact munitions, protocol and selection of gear and munitions, ground defense tactics, and water based defensive tactics. He is a former staff noncommissioned officer from the United States Marine Corps, Chairman of the Policeone.com Advisory Board, a member of the Police Magazine advisory board, and a Technical Advisory Board member for Force Science Research Center. Dave has been featured in national publications and magazines for his innovation and dedication to law enforcement training, and has been a spokesperson and consultant with CNN and Fox World News on officer survival and equipment safety. In addition to this he was the host of a mini series titled “Crash Test Human,” for National Geographic channel. Dave is an active member of the American Society for Law Enforcement Training (ASLET), International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), National Organization of Deputy Sheriffs (NODS), Professional Law enforcement Association (PLEA).