Active shooter response is one of the most dangerous, high-risk environments that a street officer can face. Responding to a situation in which an armed suspect is actively killing innocent people—what I used to think of as “slaughter in progress”—is fraught with peril. You simply can’t afford to make mistakes.
Preparation for such an event is the key to success and such preparation is a two-stage process. The first stage is training. There are a number of programs currently being taught across the country with emphasis on the single officer, as well as full tactical team reaction. The mode of response (i.e., the training program, tactics and techniques) most likely reflects the manpower situation in the area where you work and live. What’s also critical, regardless of the response you’ve trained for, is to have the needed gear readily at hand so that you can grab it, throw it over your shoulder and enter the threat zone. A grab-and-go bag is essential for today’s patrol officer.
A New Bag
I’ve seen a few grab-and-go bags that are bulky, heavy and loaded down with nice-to-have gear, But nice to have and essential aren’t the same thing. If the bag is so big and heavy that it’s difficult to maneuver, then it will become an impediment instead of an asset. I recently had the opportunity to work with a new bag that I feel is the right compromise between nice and essential.
Developed by Mike Burg, a chief of police and veteran street officer in Ohio, the Burg Bag was designed to be a crisis-response kit for high-risk situations, such as those involving an active shooter. Made in the U.S. by Ace Case Manufacturing, the Burg Bag was a direct result of the 1997 North Hollywood shootout in Los Angeles.
During this situation, two LAPD officers were seriously wounded and almost bled out. One of the two had the presence of mind to use his gun belt as a tourniquet to stop his bleeding, a self-rescue technique taught in most progressive law enforcement training programs. This concept of self-rescue led to the development of the Burg Bag.
The bag, which sells for $35, is a simple nylon bag with a large center compartment and four exterior pockets. One side has two pockets that will each hold a five-round box of shotgun shells. The two end pockets are each fitted to hold a single 30-round AR-15 or similar magazine, giving the officer two reloads for whatever long gun or weapon they have on hand.
The carry strap is sewn in place and is non-adjustable. This is done intentionally so that officers don’t find themselves having to fumble with buckles or pinch clips in high-threat zones.
Although it isn’t Mike’s intention to turn street cops into EMTs, the bag can be used for trauma gear. Medical supplies can be purchased in bulk through numerous sources and Mike suggests that each Burg Bag contain one C.A.T. tourniquet, one Quick-Clot emergency dressing, one Bloodstopper wound dressing, one package of Quick-Clot hemostatic agent, 10 4-x-4 gauze pads, two rolls of 3" Kling wrap, one pair of EMT shears and one chemical light stick with holder.
In the end, the Burg Bag is about simplicity and size. In both areas, it’s highly effective.
• Simplicity in design
• Ability to stock as end user sees fit
• None noted