I’ve been meaning to do a write-up on this personal preparedness topic for quite some time now. Perhaps the only reason I look at everyday life to detail that I do is because I constantly have to do it all day everyday while at work. Everything around me at work is hazardous and failing to identify any hazard can not only cost me my life but others as well. At work they like to tell us to “take safety home with you” and by they’re meaning follow the same safe work practices at home as you would at work like tying off your ladder, putting in ear plugs to mow (who the hell does that?). Truth is I don’t do a lot of the “safe” things at home I’m forced to do at work.
But I truly believe that a combination of planning, situation awareness, hazard identification and mitigation all plays an important role everyday life’s personal preparedness. Nothing I hate more than to be the victim of the element of surprise and I’m sure that even the best of us have experienced this at some point in their lives. I’m not really afraid of snakes but I tell you every time I’m in the woods and encounter one within a few feet me before realizing it’s there it spooks the crap of me almost literally. Obviously that snake just sneaked right into my comfort zone.
What I’m talking about is making every attempt possible to control each and every situation your put yourself in and ensure those situations stay within your comfort zone. Have you ever performed a handyman task at home that you really didn’t have much confidence or the experience and either got yourself hurt or nearly did? Basically the same principles.
I’m making every attempt to explain situations or less common daily task that everybody experiences that I hope will help others look at everyday life differently in a positive way to take steps to reduce risk and vulnerability. Reducing those risk and vulnerabilities should be the goal of your personal preparedness plan.
Before I proceed any further I really need you to acknowledge that no matter how simple or how routine something you do all the time accept the fact that there is always risk or hazards associated whatever it is you’re doing. While they might very well be small mundane risk or hazards they still exist.
Just for example purposes I’m going to share with you simple common thing of taking my family to Wal-Mart and how some of what I’ve talked about plays a role in how that entire process goes for my family.
I have 2 options for the travel path, the interstate or a back highway for most of the route. I generally chose that back highway because traffic generally moves 10-15mph slower and if their was a collision the severity of it could likely be less than on the interstate. Not to mention I see far more wrecks on the interstate in general.
When we get into “town” there’s a back way that has 1 stop sign or a way that has 4 red lights. Whenever I’m in a vehicle I always try to reduce the amount of time spent stopped in traffic so I nearly always choose the route with 1 stop sign over the 4 red lights. Everybody laughs at me cause any time I’m coming to a stop or slowing down to make a turn I always turn down the radio. They understand it but to me it helps be more aware of my surroundings like for example an emergency vehicle speeding thru an intersection.
When we pull into Wal-Mart parking lot I always drive across the very front of the store and I always turn down the lane that has the cars pulling out away from the store. I then cut across and always park with my vehicle in the lane that has traffic coming towards the front of the store. That whole drive in front of the store and around that lane is to observe the people coming in out of the store as well as to identify anybody that may be soliciting in the parking lot. Our Wal-Mart has this big grass patch median in the middle of the parking lot, if the spot is open I try always park right beside it because this allows one entire side of my vehicle to lack concealment. If not I will look for smaller vehicles and I try not to ever park beside a big truck that would conceal my vehicle. My reason for this is good concealment would encourage theft and also if somebody is near my vehicle coming out the store they’ll be easily be seen before I get too close. I also said that I always park where traffic is flowing towards the front of the store making the traffic to my back while walking in. But the way I see it is when I’m coming out and hands are full with the shopping cart the on coming traffic is facing me. My personal preparedness plan is all about keeping as many variables as possible within my confront zone. I like to think of it as controlling the battle field.
While in the store I try to utilize a combination of the walls and the set-up of the aisles to minimize amount blind spots generally allowing me focus on 180 degrees. Pretty much the only time while in the store do we have to get a spot that would allow a threat from 360 is when it’s crowded in the checkout line and the line extends past the checkout aisles. In this situation my kids face the checkout while I stand in front of our cart and watch their backs. Every person I see is analyzed, I study body language and look for signs of hostile intent.
Loading groceries into the vehicle I always load my groceries on the side of the vehicle facing the store as I’ve already done a sweep of the area while walking out and I’m still unaware of who or what is further down the row of parked vehicles on that opposite side.
Point is even though the hazards are different the same mental things that would get a person hurt at work is the same mental things that would get anybody hurt anywhere or simply be a victim. Our world is hazardous place.
You have a task.
You associate risk & hazard with that task.
You determine ways to minimize those risk & hazards.
You now have a plan.
Just the other day my son jumps in the truck with me to go the store. I didn’t pull out the drive way cause a truck was coming down our road, I pretty much know every vehicle that drives down my street and I didn’t recognize this one and it’s abnormal for traffic to just pass down this road with my home’s location. The truck pulled in a drive way down the road backed up and went back the way it came. So I ask my almost 10yr old son, was that suspicious to you? He replies yes that was weird. So I then ask him what can you tell me about that truck. He said it was white, which was right, so I asked what kind truck it was, he didn’t know and then asked well what can you tell me about it and he didn’t have anything. I was looking for maybe the obvious over sized tires the rear plate bumper. Now to me the person was probably lost but I wanted it to be a lesson to my son to pay attention to details whenever he observes anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.