Review: Low-Light Building Searches Instructor Course

11 p.m. on a Thursday night, you’re working thirds. Dispatch calls in a silent alarm and you arrive at a warehouse. Backup arrives two minutes later and you find an open door and prepare to make entry.

Low Light Training

We’ve all been in this situation and done it numerous times within our careers. I mean, using a flashlight, what is there to that? Well you don’t know what you don’t know and I realized just that after attending the Safariland Training Group’s Low-Light Building Searches Instructor Course.

Within the course we learned the 5P’s: Pie, Probe, Peek, Push, Post-entry considerations. These 5P’s will completely change how you operate low-light building searches. We learned about the different kinds of lighting we may encounter: backlit, equal lighting, and tactical lighting advantage. And we also learned how to use our flashlights; correction, we learned how to use our handheld flashlights to our most tactical advantage.

“This was one of the most beneficial things that I will remember for the rest of my career and life.”

The course was held in a school building with dark hallways, light rooms, dark rooms, dimly lit hallways. The instructor set up many different scenarios to evaluate our existing skills and to establish what we need to work on. He used role players and simunition to make things a little bit more realistic for us. We practiced different scenarios from an active shooter to searching an empty building. We rolled in two’s, we rolled in four’s, and we rolled in five’s, each man adding a different piece to the equation.

We learned how to properly use our flashlights to disorient subjects in the room. We learned how to use our partner’s flashlight to gain their attention so that we can position ourselves tactically and safely. We also learned that although flashlights do not provide cover, they have the ability to provide concealment when used properly.

I think one of the better parts of attending this course were the students that I met. I got to work with 11 people from around the northeast, all with different career backgrounds and experiences in public service. I can honestly say that I made some friends for life.

Our instructor, John Curnutt, who has 20 years on the job, taught us lessons he learned through sweat and blood. It doesn’t get any more real than that. The level of his experience was critical to our learning environment.

Since this is a review of my experiences I have to be completely honest with you all. The only downside to this course was that it was simunition, as I mentioned earlier, and not live fire. However, that afforded us the ability to train in a real world environment, so it’s understandable. The learning environment was incredibly friendly, gentle, and professional. There was no room for error in this school because everybody demanded excellence from themselves and their coworkers. I would recommend this class to every police officer out there because let’s be real, we use flashlights everyday at work. But I don’t feel as if I properly knew how to use a flashlight until I finished attending this course.

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