Bodyguards Saving Lives: The Importance of Medical Training

The most common emergency protectors respond to are medical. As a result, exceptional protectors are proficient in emergency First Aid and CPR. 

During a recent vehicle movement inside a large passenger van, a client’s young son began to choke on hard candy. At once, the protector told the driver to stop the van as he leapt into action. Gaining permission from the frantic parents, our protector performed immediate lifesaving action, thrusting into the boy’s abdomen and ejecting the candy from his windpipe. Immediately, to everyone’s relief, our client’s son began to breathe.

That same week, another GDBA associate was protecting a client at a Los Angeles restaurant. Just inside the restaurant’s front door, a mother began to scream for help. Her young daughter, whose face was now turning purple, was choking. The protector ran up to the mother, identified himself, gained permission, and saved the young girl’s life through a series of abdominal thrusts. In a follow on email about the incident, the protector’s Senior Director wrote, “His ability to stay calm and perform under pressure is a testament to his training.”

Testament to his training.” When people think of bodyguards or protectors, they often think of a secret service agent leaping into the line of fire. Yes, our primary mission is to prevent violent attacks against our protectees. More fundamentally, however, we protect human life. Consequently, a protector without consistent and intense medical training is a half-trained protector who cannot fulfill their sacred commitment of protecting (and saving) human life.

Within our Protective Security Division, we track and document every emergency we encounter. Most of these emergencies do not involve violence or an invasion of privacy.  Most of these emergencies are medical emergencies. For example, a client slips and falls or accidently cuts their finger in the kitchen.  More seriously, a client begins to choke on their food or suffer a heart attack or stroke. Unlike a violent attack, these are common emergencies for every demographic of our society, including our clients.

Based upon our own analysis of 700-plus protectors operating around the world, a majority of our protectors have responded to medical incidents affecting our clients, a guest of our clients, or even, in the case of the young girl, a life-threatening medical scenario near our clients.

Medical training is essential and saves lives. It is also a perishable skill. Because of this, there is no excuse for a professional protector to lack consistent First Aid training and up-to-date CPR/AED certification.  Moreover, there is no excuse for a protection team to lack a full medical kit, including an AED, while operating at a client’s residence, workplace, special event, and during travel.

If you have a security provider, I implore you to ask them these questions:

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Our purpose as protectors is to protect human life. As men and women of action, it is imperative that we remain trained, equipped, and prepared to save a life.

Josh Becker is a Certified Paramedic and the Chief Medical Instructor at Gavin de Becker & Associates. He is a full-time associate at GDBA.