The problem with incidents like Boston is that there are no drills, no kata, no active solutions that could have prevented such a thing: Keeping an eye out for boxes and bags that look out of place is about the only thing anyone could have done to stop the bombing before it happened.
All that training, all that practice, all those split-second reload and draw times are pretty much not needed after the BOOM. That Glock the cop is holding in the above photo is just as useless as my S+W Shield would have been.
But that doesn’t mean you’re defenseless.
For starters, even if you or your loved ones haven’t been hurt in the blast, you can still become casualties if a stampede breaks out. It’s not unheard of for incidents like this to turn into a human stampede that leads to a loss of life far beyond what the first incident causes. Knowing where the exits are and having more than one escape route beforehand helps you avoid the mindless rush to get out if a panicked fear breaks out in a crowd.
Secondly, while you may not have a first-aid kit on you, you can have one nearby. An IFAK (Infantryman’s First Aid Kit) gives you the basics to save a life in a such a situation, and they’re small enough to go just about anywhere. I have one in the back of my car and I’ve got a couple more on-order to toss into range bags whenever I go shooting.
Thirdly, learn how to save lives, IFAK or not. For me, taking a good, solid emergency trauma and first aid class has just shot to the top of my training priorities list since the incident at Boston. I know CPR and the basics of first aid, but gunshot wounds or major bleeding? Nope. And that’s got to change.