by W. Hock Hochheim
Not only do we have to call the EMTs and the cops. We usually have to do it under some stress. How fast can you swipe a screen and dial for help at a shooting range when there's been an incident? (By the way, the phone is back in the bag on a bench. Can you tell the authorities where the country range is?)
Then there's dialing during suspicious times. Or when attacked suddenly while dialing. How many steps are involved to get a call out? Do you have to shut off Angry Birds first? On my cell phone, there are several steps, including bypassing the Skype option. Multiple steps.
In our Force Necessary Gun 1 course in a litany of stress-draw scenarios we go through, one scenario has us cover drawing and shooting (with sims) an aggressive attacker (a real person, NOT a paper target) while on the phone or mid-dialing. What hand do you use to hold the phone?
Which hand hits the numbers? Gun hand?
Voice activation for emergency numbers?
Friend Dave Tippets reports:
"Last week we had an electrical fire in the kitchen. I'd just unplugged my Verizon Samsung III smartphone from the charger from the previous night and got a series of pop-ups on the screen to work through before I could place a call. Got to figure out how to make sure that never happens again."
My friend Chris Roberts reports:
The majority of people I teach feel they could call 911 without much trouble, even in a moment of high stress. In my experiences teaching people, many can’t even remember the number 911 if they are in a high-stress scenario such as a potential attack. Most laugh at this, but a good way to show them is to have them stand at a distance of 10 ft., 15 ft., or even greater. Now you are best to choose someone who is not aware of what you are going to ask them to do. Choose someone with a cell phone. Once the student is up and at the correct distance, inform him of a scenario, such as you are about to attack him. The goal is to dial 911 before you reach the student, but because you don’t want them to really call 911 and cause a false alarm, tell them to just dial 91…!
You may even begin with some realistic verbal assault from that distance, and show them with your body language you are about to attack them. Have someone yell, “NOW.” Rarely will that person even get out his phone and begin pressing buttons or even get past the lock or swiping required on the phone. We teach people to have 911 on speed dial, and even then, most could not successfully reach 911. If nothing else, it is a great drill to show the challenges of trying to perform a fine motor skill. Many have the Emergency Call ability on their phones, but again, especially without warning, they would not likely be successful. Just knowing this challenge is of value to the client.