It is you—not the folks like me who wear badges or drive fire trucks or ambulances—who are the “first responders.” We are almost always there, at least in an official capacity, after the fact. It is the prepared civilian who will be the first to take action in a life-threatening situation requiring lethal or less lethal force or in a situation that requires immediate medical attention or life-saving techniques. Once the civilian first responder begins to take action—which involves calling for help from the “second responders”—it is normally he or she who will “carry the day.”

Every summer, in these perilous times, I am reminded of this need when I see another child die in a hot car. I know I have written of this before, but it keeps happening. Leaving a baby in a hot car to die (notice we don’t see babies freezing to death) is nothing short of murder. It is never an accident or an “I forgot.” I have a child now—a two-year-old son—and I quickly came to realize that if a person is not willing every second of every day to lay down his or her life for his or her child, then he or she has no business having that child. How can anyone “forget” his or her child in a car—regardless of temperature? Two years ago, my college circulated parking tips. It suggested that in order to eliminate forgetting your child in the car, you should put your cell phone or computer in the back seat with the child. So, your cell phone and computer are more important and memorable than your child?!

Just a few weeks ago, I was disgusted by a judge who recently let a “parent” off for killing his child in his car because it was a “perfect storm of fatigue, forgetfulness, and a change of schedule.” I don’t know who is worse in this case: the so-called parent or the judge.

These events seem to be epidemic. The same thing is happening to pets and even—I am ashamed to say it—to police dogs at the hands of the “officers” whom they are entrusted to.

Fortunately, we don’t have to stand by helplessly or in a panic trying to break out a car window to save a life, whether it is during one of these emergencies or while trying to extricate during a traffic accident.

Automotive side window safety glass is easy to break with the right tool and technique. A relatively light tap with the right instrument at the bottom right or left corner of the window will shatter it, allowing access after gently pushing it out.

There are many pocket tools available that can easily perform this task, and one of the newest ones is the Remington Rescue Knife.

Imported from China by Bear and Son’s Cutlery for Remington, the Remington Rescue Knife is a great multi-tool design, yet is still quite affordable.

The heart of the Remington Rescue Knife is the window punch, located at the base of the knife. This cylindrical steel projection comes to a point. In order to break a window, grip the closed knife and tap firmly at the corner of the window. Don’t try to punch through it. You are merely trying to set up the correct vibration to shatter the glass. This window breaker is not retractable, so carry the Remington Rescue Knife in the pocket with the clip end down so the breaker doesn’t wear a hole through your pocket.

Located by the window breaker is a seat belt cutter hook. In 36 years of policing, I have never cut a seatbelt off of someone, preferring instead to use the seat belt release button. However, it was only a few weeks ago when I was about two minutes away from breaking a window to get a baby out of a warm car. Her mom had accidentally (truly) locked her keys in the car and immediately called for help. Fortunately, one of our other officers was able to get the door open with the lockout tool, so I didn’t have to do a window break. The mother was fully in agreement with breaking it if needed. I think you are much more likely to need to do a widow break than to cut a seatbelt, but the cutter is there in case. It allows the cutting of a seatbelt without endangering the person restrained with the knife blade.

The locking knife blade has a partially serrated/partially plain edge, is constructed of 440 stainless steel, and is very sharp. It is 3¼ inches long with a Black Oxide coating. The blade is spring assisted and opens via an ambidextrous thumb stud or a nail nick that has been cut through the top of the blade. It is locked open with a liner lock and locks solidly in place. I would have preferred a finger-assisted opening “flipper,” but remember: this is a rescue and cutting tool—it is not a fighting knife. But it still opens with ease and, in a pinch, it could be pressed into service for defense.

The handles are aluminum and have a two-tone silver/black finish. As mentioned, there is a belt clip, but it is not reversible. This doesn’t matter to me, as I always carry my pocket knife concealed fully inside my pocket. I don’t want to advertise that I have a knife any more than I want to advertise that I have an off-duty firearm by carrying it openly.

If you don’t have a capable rescue tool yet, I would highly recommend the Remington Rescue Knife (REM11517). If you decide not to carry it on your person, at least have it in a carry or go-pack.

The Remington Rescue Knife has an MSRP of $49.99. I found it available for sale online for $32.95.

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