From a self-defense training perspective, nearly every course we’ve attended or audited as consultants focuses the vast majority (nearly 100%) of academic instruction and drills on the TTP required to address a threat, whether that’s with a system of hand-to-hand, a firearm, or even a combination of both. On the surface, this would seem like a no-brainer. If you’re teaching people to overcome a threat and survive a dangerous encounter then that’s where the time is best served in class. We certainly won’t argue over that prioritization. However, there are two other equally important considerations that are commonly underemphasized or overlooked entirely. The first is how to recognize a critical situation as it develops so that you can avoid them entirely. (This is not the topic of the following article). The second is what to do after the threat has been neutralized. Rather than try to add a short sentence about how to handle the aftermath as the class is ending and students are already saturated with a day’s worth of learning, what students actually need is a clear process that’s sewn into the training itself.
Enter the Post Event Sequence. First formally introduced in Comprehensive Situational Control (CSC), the Post Event Sequence is a simple 3 step mantra that pulls an individual out of the “survival” phase of a critical situation and transitions them safely into the “clean-up” phase.
Once you have effectively addressed all threats, and after an immediate secondary evaluation of the environment for additional threats or hazards, the Post Event Sequence teaches you to:
1. Gain and Maintain Situational Awareness
2. Move to a Safe Location
3. Contact the Appropriate Authorities
Step 1 can begin with the immediate secondary evaluation but may not always. Anything important discovered during this first step sends the individual back into the universal CSC Chain of Recognize – Avoid – Recover. If the student determines the critical situation has truly been resolved, then they proceed to the next two steps.
Moving to a safe location may include finding a stronger position of cover as insurance against another attack, getting out of a busy street where an attempted carjacking took place, or exiting a building that is on fire. Regardless, we want to hard wire a student’s Tactical Decision Making Process (TDMP) to include a deliberate assessment of where they currently are and where they should physically be. Keep in mind that, just as before, if another threat or hazard presents itself during this step the student must revisit the Recognize – Avoid – Recover chain.
Lastly, contacting the appropriate authorities rounds out the Post Event Sequence by ensuring there is no delay in requesting whatever support may be necessary and/or reporting the incident. Some students question why this last step says “Appropriate Authorities” rather than “9-1-1.” Because of CSC’s global application within our training catalog (specifically our At Risk Traveler series which addresses critical situations domestically and while traveling abroad), hard wiring 9-1-1 doesn’t translate to the widest variety of applications since emergency services outside of the United States aren’t always reached through this American standard phone number. To an equal degree, 9-1-1 may not always be the right choice even stateside depending on the nature and outcome of the critical situation you’re faced with.
Although contacting the appropriate authorities is listed third in the Post Event Sequence’s order, students should not make the false assumption that they must wait until the event has been resolved to do so. It should be done as soon as tactically possible to prevent delays in first responder services. The reason it’s last in the chronology of the Post Event Sequence is simply to remind students to make contact with authorities in case they didn’t have the opportunity to before or during the event. Of course if another threat or hazard presents itself during this final step the student must begin the Recognize – Avoid – Recover chain.
As a disclaimer against this paragraph, we at the MWP are not lawyers. But it stands to reason that timely and accurate reporting of a critical situation, such as a self-defense shooting, may improve your legal position. Imagine you are the first responding officer to a “shots fired” call and you already have the description of the individual that called for help. On the other side of the coin, imagine you are the prosecutor in a case trying to determine if you will file charges against someone involved in a self-defense shooting that left the scene and failed to contact law enforcement for hours or even days. It’s not too difficult to see why contacting the appropriate authorities is so important.
Finally, a note about terminology – since CSC is designed to address any critical situation, we intentionally chose to call it a Post “Event” Sequence rather than the more traditional self-defense specific word “Engagement.” Not all Modern Warrior training centers on a human threat. Therefore, a more generalized word was selected. The Post Event Sequence is just as effective after the resolution of a lost hiker, a medical emergency, or a car accident and none of these critical situations involve an “engagement.”
MWP courses strategically integrate the Post Event Sequence into certain key iterations and Basic Skills Evaluations, building the proper habits to ensure students reliably execute the steps even after an extremely high stress experience. The Post Event Sequence, along with the other 8 Fundamentals of Recovery taught in CSC, are another great example of what makes the Modern Warrior Project’s holistic approach to training so unique and effective.