What’s Your Plan?
Recently I came across an article1 that aligned perfectly with the principles of Outcomes Today’s Personal Safety instruction.
In the Situational Awareness lesson of our NRA Refuse To Be A Victim ®class, one idea presented which we suggest all to adopt is to “have a plan”; a plan for travel, a plan for dining out, a plan for talking a walk, and probably most importantly, have a home defense plan.
No matter the circumstance, few of us run towards danger unless you are one of our highly valued 1st Responders! Staying safe is probably one of the core priorities for everyday life. The objective of having a plan is to raise one’s Situational Awareness, thus becoming more aware of the environment we find ourselves, and be prepared for unexpected criminal activity that may present itself. Those events occur randomly and unexpectedly, and are virtually impossible to predict.
How about this quick analogy: many of you are boaters, while others have at have taken an ocean cruise on one of those “floating resorts”. Conventional nautical wisdom teaches that every time we set sail, we begin the voyage with a safety briefing - remember that life boat drill conducted before the cruise ship sets sail? As a recreational boater or fisherman, we start (or at least should start) each voyage with a similar briefing to our passengers about life jackets and safety features of our vessel and set expectations for the voyage:
- Where the flares, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment are located
- What to do in case any of a multitude of potentially risky situations arises
- Assign roles for each mate in operations while departing, underway, and return.
Now let’s transition to your personal safety at home, while shopping, or while out and about. Like that cruise, we are best served by having a plan of action. All too often we continually remain in our comfort zone and seldom consider consequences of the situation we find ourselves in. In the RTBAV class we discuss Situational Awareness at great length. We present the Col. Jeff Cooper’s 4 zones of awareness, with the suggestion we live in the “yellow”, where we think ahead and ask ourselves “What If?”.
Once we have answered that question we will have made the transition from “white” to yellow” zones of awareness. Now is the time to formulate a plan of action for potentially hazardous encounters! While this pertains to all aspects of daily living, I’ll focus more specifically on the development of your Home Defense Plan2 and its implementation. Below are some basic first steps:
- Your Plan? First of all, it’s not only about home invasions, burglary and criminal intent. It’s about weather events, fire, natural disasters, or any event that threatens your personal safety. In our home we have one of those NOAA Weather Alert radios. On occasion that radio blares out a tornado warning, a hurricane warning, or a more “normal” severe weather alert it’s time for action! So, what do I do now? For each circumstance there is a slightly different response, however, there are several commonalities. We must prepare for worst case scenarios and hope it never arises. We need to find a safe place or” safe room” of the home for us to gather & seek shelter, which may vary based upon the threat. We must prepare for eventual consequences to protect us – food, shelter, water, medications, car keys, firearms if appropriate, etc.
Asking ourselves “Now What?” will guide the formulation of your plan. Take your legal pad, make notes, and put in in writing, with sub-headings for differing scenarios.
- Who’s involved? Everyone in the house! The plan must include assignment of roles. Each resident should have specific tasks or roles to play to effectively carry out your safety plan. Roles may include a “director” to ensure all residents seek that safe place, another ensures “staging” your survival gear, and so on. ALL involved should be able to accurately make a 911 call when needed.
Consider for a moment a frontier days homestead family: just for basic survival, not to mention emergencies, mom, dad and each child had to contribute to the safety and survival of the family.
- How do you implement the Plan? Once you’ve planned it’s time to communicate the plan to the family. Bring all together; review the general aspects of your plan; assign individual roles; stress the importance and function of each component. Consider questions like these:
- Why are you doing this?
- What’s the purpose of a “safe room”?
- Can members perform their assigned role?
Having roles & assignments ensures involvement and gives ownership to all family members for their personal safety and buy-in for the plan.
The final step of implementation is practice. With competence and execution as the primary objectives, frequent practice is required to ensure smooth execution.
- Training? Some aspects of your plan may require training, especially if armed self defense is a part of your plan, and for tasks assigned to youth family members. Each role assigned should be within an individual’s level of knowledge and skills. If those skills are weak or non-existent, seek out appropriate training!
Good luck in your journey, and remember, Outcomes Today personal defense training is available on this topic.
1 “Whole-House Defense”, Sheriff Jim Wilson. January 2021 www.shootingillustrated.com
2 Refuse To Be A Victim®; National Rifle Association; Lesson V, Home Security