*This is a guest post from my friend Jonathan Willis. I’ve trained with Jonathan for more than a decade now. He is a retired paramedic and fire officer who currently teaches classes for Gunset Training Group. I think this information is valuable and few people give it enough consideration. I have the Resqme tool Jonathan mentions hanging from the visor in my vehicle and attached to all my medical kits. I also carry a tomahawk in my vehicle in the event I encounter laminated side window glass.
In my career as a fire officer, my life as a father and husband, and my work within the firearms world, I strive to learn and teach as much as possible about being prepared for the unforeseen as I can. Within any discipline there are tips and tricks to be learned to make yourself or others better. People that read on the topics of firearms defense, preparedness, or general self reliance understand that there is a vast amount to be learned about “problem solving” that often has nothing to do with firearms, ground fighting, or edged weapons.
Your personal vehicle and the goings on in and around it present a long list of concerns. Where is your gun during a long trip, and does your carry method work while seated? Are you trained in vehicle-based firearms combatives? Do you practice true defensive driving techniques? Where is your medical kit and what’s in it? All great questions to have appropriately addressed, but a common issue that many people assume they have covered, or simply take for granted that it’s not difficult to overcome, is that of breaching vehicle glass.
In my primary career I have had years of experience in “taking glass” in both the training and operational environments. Hundreds of windows have taught me that breaching vehicle glass can be a much more troublesome endeavor than the untrained person could know. Spend a few days in the training environment with me and you could be taught how to breach glass with a multitude of “tools of opportunity” including spark plugs, radio antennas, or other creative materials. The common approach used to be spring punches, or glass hammers, both effective in their own ways.
Not in any way intending to throw stones, but I have seen more that my share of improvised glass breaching techniques by a few law enforcement responders to include smashing out the window with their ASP baton, striking it with their firearm, or in a couple of extreme cases SHOOTING THE WINDOW! These methods are of course rare and nonsensically dangerous. It goes without saying that if you try these you are wrong. I personally witnessed a baton strike on glass (before I could stop it) where the baton continued through the glass and hit the occupant in the head. This is not acceptable!
Some readers may be surprised by how simple it can be for a car door to get jammed during an accident, or submersion incident. A quarter inch deformity to the structure of the doorframe, or another obstruction blocking the door can leave you wishing you’d finished this article. Either an accident you are involved in or trying to aid another you will wish for a simple tool to enable you to take that glass as seconds can make a difference.
Enter the Res-Q-Me, the superior window tool for Fire/EMS, Police, and civilians alike. This simple tool has been around for many years. I carried one in my fire gear for years and provided them as gifts to personnel that work for me. Quite simply, the more of these we have floating around, the better off we will all be. This tool has been with me and, without fail, allowed me to gain quick access to the patient compartment. A tool that costs less than $10, this safe and easy to use, belongs in every vehicle on the road. I have affixed one to the gearshift of both of my family vehicles so that it will be easily found no matter the orientation of the vehicle or ability of the occupants to see. My wife and sons have been taught the use of the Res-Q-Me, with no issue at all. The integrated high quality seatbelt cutter is capable, and slides easily through the belt on the proper 45 degree angle, a nice addition to a well-designed tool.
There are some important points to remember concerning vehicle glass. First you must understand the construction style. Generally, you have a windshield made of laminated glass, which cannot be breached using any common tool in the expedient circumstance or without detailed training. The fire service uses a special glass saw, or reciprocating saw to work windshields. To put it simply, pick a different window.
With a few exceptions, every other window on the vehicle will be tempered glass. (Don’t email to tell me such and such car has laminated rear or side windows. I know.) Tempered glass is designed to shatter into many small pieces of glass and reduce the potential of devastating injury, common back in the plate glass days. It should be know that you can still lacerate yourself severely breaching tempered glass. The potential for injury is greatly reduced using the Res-Q-Me when compared to hammer or other breaker styles, as very little force is necessary to actuate the tool. Remember the common adage in our world, “TRY before you PRY.” It is the path of least resistance to try the other doors before you break glass and attempt to get yourself or others through a window.
If you are injured or partially submerged you may not be able to generate enough force to break a window with other styles of glass breaker, an idea often lost on folks who have never operated in these environments. The Res-Q-Me need only the ability to push against the glass, not swing your arm. Remember if it’s a bad accident your car will often change its shape, a REALLY bad accident, YOU will probably change shape.
Take a look at this important life saving device, and incorporate it into your system. It costs almost nothing and takes up little space, a wonderful combination. I believe in the Res-Q-Me as a required tool to have as we safely travel our roadways.