REFUGE BY SAFECASTLE: Avoid the Role of Victim

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Avoid the Role of Victim

Time to revisit the risks many would probably want to keep in mind when preparing for potential crises.

In "Foreseeing the Unforeseen," we encapsulated many of the major calamities you might consider in your crisis preparation activities. Remember ... insurance-industry statistics show that, overwhelmingly, natural disaster is a more probable outcome than manmade catastrophe.

Just starting out in preparedness, the best bet for many folks is to figure out how you can be reasonably ready for the worst scenarios possible in your area ... choosing from a main-course menu of: earthquake, hurricane, tornado, volcano, tsunami, blizzard or ice storm, wildfire, flash flooding, drought/food shortage, disease pandemic. Pick your poisons, then remedy them.

Manmade Madness and Mayhem

That said, in large metropolitan areas, you may decide that your priority is to initially prepare for manmade fiascos. In the 21st century, it's hard to argue with the notion that we as humans are our own worst enemy.

We recently touched on nuclear threats (Dealing with the "N" Word, Got Nukes? Be Ready to Stay Put), probably the worst of the worst-case scenarios. However, there are many other potentially ruinous events that a prudent planner would seek to mitigate. Today's post will address the first of several of these threats:

Criminal assault or trespass:

No one anywhere is immune from the ever-present risk of becoming a victim of a crime. A few common-sense preventive tactics would include:

- Choosing your friends carefully - rarely if ever fully entrusting them with knowledge of and access to your home, family, and treasures.

- If possible, work and reside in lower-crime areas.

- Do not frequent areas that are crime-friendly and certainly do not do so under the influence of alcohol or drugs when your judgment is impaired.

- Secure your home and office via robust window and door locks (and use them always). If necessary--use window bars on hinges that can easily be opened from the inside in case of fire. Utilize entry, alarm, and surveillance systems as your budget allows. Consider installing a quality saferoom if your situation warrants it. Restrict access to your keys to prevent unauthorized duplication.

- Keep your car doors locked whenever you are driving (and when you are not in the car). Whenever stopped in traffic, try to allow sufficient space in front of you to affect an escape if need be. If a firearm is leveled in your direction at close range or you are otherwise put in immediate danger in the course of a car-jacking attempt--cooperate with the assailant and get out of the car. Give up your purse and wallet as necessary and quickly get out of the vicinity. Fight if you are able to in the event of a kidnapping attempt. Respect traffic laws and fellow drivers to minimize the risk of becoming a road-rage victim. If there is any chance that the accident you are involved in was contrived, stay in your locked vehicle and use your phone to call for help.

- Be sure your children are aware of what they should do in any potential threatening situation--talk to them and assure them that IF something was to happen, there are smart ways of reacting.

- Do not be defenseless. If you are knowledgable and comfortable with it, have a firearm available in your home and readily accessible to you in case of violent criminal intrusion. Be absolutely sure that children cannot access the weapon--for instance, there are many affordable fingertip-combination handgun safes available. Also be sure that you are indeed in danger before choosing to use the gun. If you live in a conceal-carry state, get trained and apply for the permit so you can be armed away from your home. Whether at home or away, if you have a weapon available for self-defense, be fully cognizant of how to legally use it in self-defense, and be sure you are willing to do so if necessary, because hesitation on your part could very likely mean that your gun will be taken from you and used against you. There are many other non-lethal options available today that you may consider carrying such as mace and stun-guns. Self-defense training is always an excellent course of action.

- Always be aware of your surroundings. Be reasonably cautious and be alert for suspicious behavior on the part of others in your vicinity. Do not project fear or timidity ... think of yourself as someone who knows how to handle themselves in most any situation. If you are not projecting " easy victim," you may not become one.

See the NRA's "Refuse to Be a Victim" program.

Next up: "Power Blackouts"

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