As current threats develop and old threats evolve, everyday people are subject to complex issues in which the overwhelming majority are unaware of and/or unprepared to face. Not everyone can afford private protective services, so what can they do to better protect themselves and become their own bodyguard? In this article, we’ll discuss increasing your own survivability and that of those you love and protect.
When considering personal protection, we can most appropriately break down the dynamics therein by priority and by type. For the purpose of this article, we will briefly discuss awareness, planning, skills, fitness and tools with many links included to other articles that are more in-depth on the topic.
Situational awareness comes first, and with good reason. Without awareness you will always be forced to react to the situation, putting you at a disadvantage. To have the appropriate level of situational awareness, you must first be personally aware and by that, I mean to be aware of your condition. We are all human so put the ego aside along with the mentality that ‘it will never happen to me’ or ‘I will never/would never be in that situation.’ Human factors affect us all, regardless of training or experience. You need to understand if you are hungry, tired, multitasking or focused entirely on one task, etc. how do these factors contribute to your situational awareness? Additionally, how to you personally handle stress? Only once you are fully aware of yourself can you be truly aware of your environment.
Constantly consider the environment and its inhabitants. Consider what is or should be common for that type of place at that time. Look for anomalies and assess for the possibility of a threat. You cannot mitigate a risk or a threat that you have not anticipated. Stay alert, stay cautious, and remember “action beats reaction,” it is just that simple. See the article below for the mindset of a protective services professional:
While a study shows the majority of attacks on protected individuals have and do occur in or near vehicles, the civilian statistics are indicative of a similar attack methodology – the movement to your vehicle or while in your vehicle is a high point of complacency for most and this is exploited by criminals. The article linked below has more information on vehicle security:
A lot of bad things happen to people when traveling abroad. You are in a new place, you do not have a baseline of the environment and you do not know where your support systems are, etc. However, there are many ways to prepare yourself against those issues which simply take a bit aforethought and planning ahead of time. The article linked below is full of knowledge for traveling abroad:
The FBI recently published statistics showing home burglaries occur every 13 seconds in America, as many as 2,000,000 homes are burglarized each year and 30 percent of all burglaries are through an unlocked window or door. The simple fixes go a long way and there is hardly ever a need to apply a ‘Fort Knox’ mentality when it comes to residential security. The article linked below if full of information on the subject:
Unfortunately, the risk of mass shooting has drastically increased and most of these occur in the workplace. Most alarmingly, shootings accounted for 78 percent of all workplace homicides—83 percent of which occurred within the private sector. While the same principles of personal protection that apply in your daily life apply in the workplace, many of those are restricted in application as you are not the deciding factor. The article linked below offers guidance to those decisions and policymakers as well as information for yourself in optimizing your survival in workplace emergencies:
To quote the eloquent Mike Tyson, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Well, he’s right. All of the awareness and planning in the world may not prevent the random indiscriminate criminal from targeting you. What do you if you find yourself in that situation? You will likely have to rely on your hard skills to flee, fight or defend from the issue. There is no one size fits all approach, but the article below lends guidance to some of the avenues you may take to improving your hard skills:
To play off the above quote, no plan survives past that first punch in the face, but every time I’ve been punched in the face fitness was a factor. The point to stress here is even among the many who take the steps necessary to increase their survivability, there are some who overlook a step in that process. Fitness is a factor is every physical task you will ever do, and when we consider fighting for your life or that of another…you decide for yourself if you should invest your time and effort into physical fitness. The article below has excellent guidance for those who struggle to find the time or place to workout, especially those who are on the road or constantly on the job:
Lastly, let’s discuss some tools. As far as your everyday carry (EDC) list goes, there are a few things should be a constant, and a few more that are a priority. Something to stress whenever ‘tools’ are discussed is training – if you decide to carry anything, ensure you are well trained in that regard and depending on the tool ensure you are certified or licensed to carry it. We will be discussing these categorically as a firearm is not the best edc item for every person out there, for example, so we’ll discuss the kind of item as something to assist in self-defense.
A constant to your EDC kit should be communications gear, meaning at least a cell phone, as well as an on-body medical kit. Plain and simple: medical emergencies are the most common type of life-threatening issues the normal person will face. As a high-risk operator from an African country once told me, ‘Do not get so focused on the lion across the valley that you miss the snake at your feet.” We highly recommend something fundamentally similar to our IPAK.
Priority items would then be those which assist in self-defense, physically. This could be anything from a high-lumen, hard-cased flashlight, knife, or pepper spray or even a firearm. That is for you to decide as an individual, based on your task, threat and environment.
Joseph M. LaSorsa, CPP® is a senior partner managing and conducting: Protective Operations Training Courses, Executive Protection & Bodyguard Services, Risk Management Consultations & Seminars, Workplace Violence Prevention Seminars & Intervention Services, Security Consultations & Seminars, Private Investigations and Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures with LaSorsa & Associates – an International Protection, Investigations & Consulting Firm.