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The five tips for personal security this summer will assist in your avoiding dangerous situations. The recent events of the last several weeks highlights the need to protect yourself. Those in the personal security professions will advise that personal protection requires a good plan. The rise of criminal and violent activity means that you can not take your security for granted. For example, many public parking areas post signs about not leaving valuables in your car.

As such, many people are obtaining a carry-concealed weapons (CCW) license and carrying a handgun. However, there is a psychology that comes with carrying a concealed firearm and being ready, willing, and able to employ it in an emergency. The analysis of military combat reveals that sudden, violent, and intense engagements can mentally paralyze even the best trained individuals. There is a name for this kind of sudden threat to your safety, it is called the mad minute.

Therefore, as you consider your personal security protection plan, you must account for situations that possibly will catch you by surprise. Military ambushes are an example of such situations. Most violent crime is perpetrated in less than one minute by catching the victim by surprise. Consequently, violent crime should be considered as a kind of ambush. These six recommendations can help reduce your risk for being a victim of a crime or violent activity

1. Vary Movements and Routines

The first way you can help increase your safety posture is to vary your movements and routines. It is helpful to leave at differing times and returning home if you commute to work. Criminals conduct reconnaissance on their targets. Many look for targets of opportunity.

Consequently, if you make it more difficult for them to assess your vulnerability, they will move on to another target. Thus, if you are a person who habitually leaves for work at 6:30 am, you might want to leave earlier or later by ten minutes every few days.

In the military, there is a saying, “Don’t be a creature of habit.” The saying is applies to movement security and personal protection. Habit and routine can guarantee your being noticed by people that may have criminal designs against you.

The principle, here, also applies to the routes that you take to go places. Leave for work using one route, but use a different route to get home. If you like to shop at certain grocery store, then vary where you park and the time of day that you shop. If you have to go downtown in your city, then vary how you get to the location and how you depart. Most importantly, do not loiter; get in, get out of your location.

2. Do Not Stand Out In A Crowd

Another technique to help increase your security and protection is by not standing out in a crowd. Some of the videos being posted of people being attacked by rioters show that they are standing out. The victims are wearing contrasting clothing, opposite colors, or they are by themselves. Some are so bold as to enter a hostile crowd wearing provocative clothing. That is not the best way to stay safe.

The military uses the acronym BLISS to help servicemembers to keep a low-profile. The survival and prepping communities call it being a grey man. BLISS stands for (B)blend, (L)low silhouette, (I)irregular shape, (S)small, (S) secluded location.

It is hard in an urban or suburban environment to employ this acronym literally. Yet, the concepts it reflects should be part of your security plan. You should blend in to your environment. It is essential to keep a low-silhouette. A person can keep their profile or outline from looking symmetrical by the way you wear your clothing. Your keeping to a small or secluded location comes with using building shadows or crowds of people to hide your movements from criminals targeting you.

3. Avoid Potential Danger Areas

The third way you can help increase your security this summer is by avoiding potential danger areas. Your avoiding potentially dangerous areas in your town or city will keep you safe in most situations. The most effective way to do this is to pay attention to the traffic alerts in your area.

Additionally, criminal and violent activity tends to be in certain areas of every urban or suburban area. For example, there are neighborhoods in Los Angeles that are well-known for gang activity. Consequently, the only people who enter these areas are those that live in those neighborhoods. Therefore, avoid areas as much as possible that have a reputation for criminal or violent activity.

4. Strength In Numbers

Your safety considerations should be one of moving with another person or in groups. The old saying that there is strength in numbers applies to the current climate of uncertainty. The U.S. Army teaches soldiers to have a battle buddy when going somewhere. The use of this concept keeps the likelihood of a problem to a minimum.

For example, many ladies like to go shopping with their friends. As things begin to develop in our nation, it would be wise to make this practice a habit rather than an occasional pastime.

5. Maintain Situational Awareness

The key to maintaining personal security at all times is maintaining situational awareness at all times. It is not only true when you are planning on a day out running errands, it is also true as you are moving from your car to a store, walking in your downtown area, or going on a trip.

When I was in Germany in 1990, there were times when we were told to avoid going downtown because of anti-nuclear weapons demonstrations. The purpose was to help U.S. servicemembers from getting caught up in a potentially violent protest.

The war on terrorism brought a new twist to maintaining personal security. It is important to drive and walk with a sense of staying sensitive to your environment. In Europe, we had to drive in such a way as to keep aware of people getting too close or attempting to block us in at a stop. The recent events where freeways were blocked by protestors means having an alternate route to access in an emergency. The ability to do that requires being situationally aware at all times.

Final Thoughts

Your personal security is up to you. It is essential that you are proactive and not reactive when it comes to your security planning. Understand the threats around you and have a plan to reduce their risk to you and your family. Criminals tend to seek out those they perceive are weak, unprepared, or vulnerable. These five recommendations are not a comprehensive set of techniques to guarantee your safety. However, they will increase your chances of ensuring your personal safety and those who are with you.

Can you stay alive outdoors by assessing risks? The summer outdoor season sees an increase in reports about disappearances and accidents. A recent report from California discusses the disappearance of an experienced hiker at a campsite in the Bristlecone Pine Forest. She was later found alive after four days. The report reveals that she had to flee her location due to a threatening person. Another story relates the discovery of the body of a missing person on the Snake River in Wyoming. He was working at a KOA campsite. Outdoor activities can be great experiences. However, outdoor activities also have inherent risks. You should develop a risk assessment and reduction plan before you go on a wilderness adventure. The following principles can help you build your risk mitigation plan.

1. Assess the level of wilderness experience and field skills of yourself and others

It is terrific to have a desire to spend time outdoors. There is an increasing number of people heading to the wilderness to hunt, hike, camp, or fish. The growing popularity of survival-related reality television programs and the rising interest in survival and preparedness are motivating people to get outdoors. However, the reality of being in the wilderness is different from how it is portrayed in the mass media. There is a danger of overconfidence in one’s abilities.

It is prudent to be realistic in assessing the level of wilderness experience and field skills of yourself and those in your group. The less wilderness experience and skills that one has should be an indicator that they are a high risk to themselves and others. Therefore, it is imperative to take a partner with you into the outdoors. Your partner should be more experienced and have more field skills than you to compliment your weaknesses. As a matter of safety, you should never go into the wilderness by yourself regardless of how skilled and experienced you are with the outdoors.

2. Know the level of health and physical fitness of yourself and others.

It is vital to know your level of health and physical fitness. Health and physical fitness play an important role in determining the kinds of activity and locations that one visits. For example, people with high blood pressure might have limitations as to the types of trails that they can trek on a backpacking adventure.

3. Understand the natural or man-made dangers of the area of activity

One of the common characteristics of negative experiences in the outdoors is a lack of awareness of the risks. More specifically, there seems to be a lack of knowledge of the natural and man-made dangers in the area of activity. One type of natural hazard involves predatory animals, such as mountain lions or bears. Other inherent threats are those relating to the terrain such as cliffs, bodies of water, areas of deadfall, or unstable ground. Man-made dangers are those pertaining to human activity. These can comprise logging areas, areas of construction, or even previous criminal activity.

4. Analyze the local weather and weather anomalies of the area of activity

Weather is a contributor to outdoor risks. There are reports of sudden fog, rain, or dropping of temperatures even in the summer months in some locations. It must be remembered that some local weather patterns cannot be found in a national or local forecast. The people who live near the area of your outdoor activity can provide useful information on local weather activity such as afternoon thundershowers. Analyzing the local weather traits will help make decisions about what to put in your backpack, such as rain gear or a light fleece jacket.

5. Identify the level of access to emergency help in the area of activity

Sometimes people, who go outdoors, do not take into account the availability of emergency help. It is essential to have a good understanding of what kind of emergency help is available. Additionally, it is crucial to know how to access emergency help in your planned area of activity. The importance of knowing how to contact emergency help is a critical part of your outdoor planning.

For example, one of the areas near me does not have a large number of park rangers. They tell you when you come into the park that most emergency help will be by airlift. They do not have the personnel or transportation available to come to your aid if you call for help. Thus, an expensive life flight to a local hospital awaits, should you dial for help. That kind of information influences your activity and what you have in your gear.  Some wilderness areas have no cell phone access. How will you get help in an emergency?

It is recommended that you develop a first-responder contact card. This card should have contact information for park rangers, first responders, and area hospitals. You should include emergency radio channels on the card if you are carrying a handheld ham radio two-way transceiver with you.

Final Thoughts

Risk reduction is an important skill to develop and exercise for those who love the outdoors. Your risk reduction plan has its limitations. However, without one, you may find your activity being less than enjoyable. Once you have identified the risks for your planned wilderness adventure, then develop and implement measures to reduce that risk. One of the best techniques to consider for risk reduction measures is the PACE plan. Additionally, your risk reduction plan should take into account the kind of activity (Mission), local and area dangers (Enemy), time of day, month or day (Time), the people involved (Troops), location (Terrain), and accesses to emergency help (Civilian Considerations). Once you have your risk mitigation plan complete, give a copy to whomever, you will be making your communication checks while you are outdoors.