Many security professionals charged with either protecting us or our infrastructure have suffered from severe cut wounds during physical confrontations. Recently developed slash resistant clothing is set to make a real difference.

From the point of the employer, slash or cut injuries can easily lead to legal and financial repercussion. From the point of the injured professional, and depending on the severity of such injury, it can often lead to long lasting emotional scars, ongoing distress and in very serious cases even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Most common PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) worn by security professionals do not offer sufficient cut protection. Commonly used body armor leave highly important areas of the body exposed and only protect vital organs.

Many have long argued that it is not just the stabbing action that can cause potentially life changing or even life ending injuries. So, how dangerous can a cut be? What would be the most likely consequences? How can slash resistant clothing make a difference?

Understanding human anatomy

If one would suffer from a basic cut during a knife attack, and the knife would not cut anything else but just the skin, then the person would bleed a little and no long-term damage would be done. Usually a plaster or a very simple surgery would fix that problem. But things can of course be much worse.

For example, let us look at how your hand works. For you to make a fist, or indeed for you to hold anything in your hand, the muscles in your forearm will contract and they will pull on the flexor tendons. These tendons pass through your wrist and are attached to your fingers. If a person would cut the tendons or the muscles that power them, your hand will no longer be able to close and hold that object. Now imagine that object in your hand may well be of great importance. Think of your weapon, your shield, your defense spray or anything you might be holding to defend or protect yourself or others.

Tendons or muscles require dependable, effective protection from such targeted cut.

However, the most important thing we all need to understand is that especially the cutting of any of the carotid artery, axillary artery, brachial artery or radial artery would lead to immediate and rapid blood loss, subsequent shock and potentially even death. Cuts of specific blood vessels can ultimately lead to death within seconds. In the real world, a targeted cut is most likely to be more dangerous and deadlier than a stab.

Slash resistant clothing can effectively prevent such injuries and keep the officer injury free and alive.

An officer’s natural response to violence

Most security professional will, by instinct, lift their arms and hands during a potential hostile situation, in order to protect the face and head. This is of course nothing to be embarrassed about. It is totally normal and only trained operators would respond differently and more effectively.

But we must recognize that this ‘natural’ response would expose an awfully vulnerable area under your arms. A cut, injuring the auxiliary artery under your arms can without question be fatal.

The majority of security professionals are receiving cut wounds along the forearm or open hand. These wounds are the most common injuries and classed as ‘defensive wounds’, often seen as evidence in the court of law that the wearer was protecting him or herself, rather than attacking a person.

We all know violence can sometime erupt within seconds often without any prior warning signs and without any fault of the security professional. Going back to the office and putting on some appropriate gear is not always a realistic option, hence slash resistant clothing should always be comfortable enough to be worn for several hours per day.

There is a real argument that those men and women must have the moral and legal right to be equipped appropriately and slash resistant clothing can be deemed appropriate. It can make the difference between an officer coming home safely at the end of the day, or not coming home at all.