The Killhouse Rules

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Within the past few weeks I was invited to attend a major metropolitan training exercise to test the areas of responsibility for police and fire to work together during a mass-casualty incident or ongoing crisis.  While the response to the training incident was relatively swift, much like we all watched in Orlando, I was able to sit and watch seconds become minutes, minutes build into hours, and hours drag on.

It reinforced for me my belief and practice of The Graham Combat Killhouse Rules:

1. NOBODY IS COMING TO SAVE YOU.  Whether an event lasts a few seconds, a few hours, or even a few days – you have to work as though nobody is coming to save you.

2. You are your savior, so start working because EVERYTHING IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.  You are your security, you are your medic, you are your rescuer.

3. You are your own best resource to SAVE WHO NEEDS TO BE SAVED.  Nobody wants to save your life more than you, so set yourself up for success by having the simple tools and knowledge to do so: do what you can with what you have.  Recognize that nobody is in a better position to start saving your life than you.

4. Sometimes saving lives means you have to KILL WHO NEEDS TO BE KILLEDIt has been almost 15 years since I first wrote “the more effective you are at taking a life, the more successful you’ll be at saving one” and nothing in the intervening time has changed my mind.  Be swift, be decisive, be final.

5. Mostly, ALWAYS BE WORKING.  There is always something you can be doing to improve your position.  Always.  Because nobody is coming to save you.

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