18 Suggestions for Staying Safer
This article provides you with some security tips for creating a solid foundation for your security preparations. These practical applications of the Security pillar can have a significant and positive effect on your everyday life. Basic guidelines are provided to increase your awareness and provide you with the essential building blocks for success.
After applying these security tips and suggestions to your situation, you should investigate this topic further so you can expand your readiness and capabilities to suit your situation.
1.1 Keep Your Eyes up and Active
Actively scan your environment. Practice engaging your peripheral vision. This will allow you to see and comprehend more without excessive head movement, which can draw unwanted attention to you.
1.2 Put Your Phone Away
If you need to use your phone, find a place that will have minimal impact on your situational awareness. As a general rule of thumb, keep your phone in your pocket while you are out in public. Consider using a smart watch if you need to check your phone regularly, because it demands less attention than a phone and leaves your hands empty.
1.3 Turn Awareness Into a Game
Telling your 6-year-old to “keep your head on a swivel” is likely to get you nothing more than a blank stare. However, by picking some points of observation for your child to focus on and making it a game, you can begin to instill the importance of awareness at a very early age. Instruct them to be discreet by not announcing it every time they see something you assign to them.
1.4 Security Cameras
Wireless security cameras are increasingly cheap and easy to install and use. By placing them at strategic points around your home, you will have a much higher level of situational awareness in the area surrounding your “safe zone.”
1.5 Go Gray
Don’t forget about how you look to other people. Try to blend into your environment as much as possible.
1.6 Other Senses
Keep your other senses tuned in to your environment as well. Noticing the direction and types of sirens and smelling smoke or gas, among other sensual inputs, are useful tools for staying safe too.
2.1 Personal Fitness
When running away from a grizzly bear, you don’t need to be faster than the bear. You only need to be faster than at least one of your companions! Make fitness a part of your life. Walk, run, hike and do whatever you can to optimize the function of your main weapon—your body.
2.2 Plan With Your Family
Talk with your family about what to do in emergency situations. Come up with a word or phrase to let everyone know that the situation is serious and that they need to listen to you and not argue. The outset of a critical incident is not the time to have a family debate!
2.3 Maintain Space Around Your Vehicle
Maintain a safe following distance when moving in traffic. This will allow you more time to react to a dangerous situation. When stopped in traffic, try to give yourself an “escape route”: Leave room between your car and the car in front of you; and, when possible, pick a lane that will allow you to move to the side if needed.
2.4 Identify Routes and Exits
Wherever you are, look for all the available exits and how best to get to them. Visualize in your mind how you would approach each exit in a variety of circumstances.
3.1 Educate Yourself on Ballistics
Take the time to learn exactly what different bullets will do against different objects. While there are classes and seminars available on this topic, the most readily available source of information will be YouTube. Learning what bullets will and won’t do will give you a basic understanding of what constitutes cover and what doesn’t.
3.2 Identify Cover in Your Environment
Armed with the knowledge you learned on ballistics, begin to look at pieces of cover in your environment. If there is no cover, do you have the ability to create cover?
3.3 Fortify Your Home
What improvements can you make to your home? Look at your doors and windows to identify weak spots. Your goal is to make it as difficult as possible to gain unauthorized entry.
3.4 Reactionary Gap
Begin to think of distance as a type of barricade. Distance will be your ally when facing a foe armed with a knife, bat or other contact-distance tool.
4.1 Personal Fitness
Fitness is listed here again—because it is important. You will be much less effective at fighting another person if you are also fighting against your own body,
4.2 Know Your Laws
Self-defense laws vary by country, state and municipality. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your area so that you will know what tools you can legally use and where you can carry them.
4.3 Realistic Training
No matter what type of defensive tactics you choose to employ, take the time to find a reputable trainer who provides realistic training. If you are training with a firearm, this means live, man-on-man training with either paintball or airsoft pellets. There is no substitute for this type of training.
4.4 Educate Yourself
There are many excellent books written on the topic of combat. However, if you only read one, make it On Combat by Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman. It is the premier book on the topic and is required reading for most soldiers and police officers.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the 2018 Fall Prepper Manual, print issue of American Survival Guide.