Sunday, August 30, 2015

Crazy People Are Everywhere...100 Prep Tips

I'm not sure if the world is getting worse or, since everyone has a video camera and a social media account, we are just more likely to hear of horrible things happening.  Within the last week there have been more than enough tragedies including the reporters being killed on live TV, a home invasion, and yet another police officer was shot.  I'd say 'what is this world coming to?' but then I would sound like my grandfather.  But people genuinely do seem to be crazier than usual these days.  Here's 100 prep tips to consider to keep yourself and your family safe:

  1. Be in excellent physical condition (it's easier to run, fight, or hide if you aren't 300 pounds and have the joints of a 90 year old).
  2. Know how to fight (earn a black belt in karate, learn krav maga, etc).
  3. Don't allow yourself to be abducted (if someone is going to shoot you, they might as well do it where you are instead of being able to take you to a remote, hidden spot).
  4. Walk and speak correctly (you don't have to walk or speak in an overly aggressive manner but walking or speaking in a timid fashion can make you a target).
  5. Have a concealed carry license.
  6. Carry a concealed weapon (legally of course).
  7. Own a variety of firearms and know how to use them.
  8. Continuously train in a variety of shooting scenarios (close combat, low light, etc).
  9. Always have a firearm (safely) within reach at your home/office (emphasis on safely).
  10. In situations when you can't have a firearm (airport, military installation) be aware of what items you can use to physically defend yourself.
  11. Continually play the "what if" game (with yourself and/or with your family).  What if a mass shooter comes in now, what if a hurricane is heading your way within minutes, etc.
  12. Use reasonable caution at all times (avoid dark secluded places, don't leave your drink in a public place where it could be drugged, immediately get out of situations that don't feel right, etc).
  13. Keep your vehicle in good working order.
  14. Always have more than a half tank of gas in your vehicle.
  15. Have a dash cam in your vehicle.
  16. Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up when driving.
  17. Drive defensively but not aggressively.
  18. Always leave yourself an "out" while driving (leave space between you and the car in front of you, avoid drive thrus if possible, watch for people around your vehicle when at a stop light, etc).
  19. De-escalate road rage situations.
  20. Don't leave anything enticing in your vehicle (don't leave a laptop on the seat, cash and coins in the cup holder, etc).
  21. Remove all identifying information from your vehicle (dealer plate holders or logos, stickers from your alma mater or kid's school, those little stick figures of your family, etc).
  22. No matter where you are, always be aware of everything that is happening around you.
  23. Consider other forms of protection besides a firearm (MACE, bear spray, a stun gun, etc).
  24. Live in a reasonably safe neighborhood.
  25. Put a perimeter fence around your property.
  26. Re-key your house locks when you move in and when others who have a key to your home move out.
  27. Be sure that vital systems are protected (locks on your well house, locked breaker/electrical boxes, etc).
  28. Install beware of dog signs (whether or not you have a dog).
  29. Own dogs to help protect your property and home.
  30. Landscape your property with safety in mind.
  31. Install motion-sensor flood lights around your property.
  32. Install a motion-sensor activated outdoor video security system (record to the cloud).
  33. Install a motion-sensor activated interior video security system (record to the cloud).
  34. Install solid-core exterior doors.
  35. Opt for a solid-core door in place of sliding glass doors.
  36. Make sure all windows have secure locks.
  37. Put anti-shatter window film on all windows.
  38. Make sure all exterior doors have reinforced dead bolt locks on them.
  39. Never leave your garage door open or doors unlocked unless you are going in and out of them.
  40. Install a peep hole in your front door.
  41. Don't open the door to anyone unless you know them and have invited them over.
  42. Install hidden safe(s) in your home for valuables.
  43. Don't brag about the things you have in your home (money, jewelry, electronics, etc).
  44. Use blinds or curtains effectively to keep people from looking inside your home.
  45. Walk around your home during the day and note any security fixes that need to be made.
  46. Walk around your home during the night and note any security fixes that need to be made.
  47. Know your neighbors and enlist them to keep a watch on each other's homes and the neighborhood in general.
  48. Know how to surreptitiously signal for help if needed (a family code word, a signal to your neighbors that has been prearranged, etc).
  49. Always have a cell phone on hand for calling 911 and/or recording events.
  50. Be aware of any potential domestic violence problems in your home/neighborhood/workplace.
  51. Create a safe room within your home.
  52. Don't hide spare keys outside of your home where a burglar might find them.
  53. Install "panic buttons" which emit a loud alarm and call the police during an emergency.
  54. Be consistently inconsistent in your comings and goings from your home and work place.
  55. Bring your garage door opener into your home with you (leaving it in your vehicle can allow a burglar to break into your vehicle then use the garage door opener to get into your home).
  56. Always keep your keys and cell phone with you (leaving them by the door can allow a burglar to break a window, get your keys, and let himself into your home and car).
  57. Don't publicize your material goods (flashing your latest Rolex in pix) or your vacation plans on social media.
  58. Scour your social media accounts.  Better yet, don't use social media.
  59. If you do use social media, "like" or "follow" informative sources (local media, local police and fire, local emergency management offices, etc).
  60. Have a lock down/home invasion plan with your family. 
  61. Create a safety plan in case of a workplace shooter or other likely disaster.
  62. Learn how to de-escalate conflicts at home and at work.
  63. Ensure that your child's school has a variety of safety plans in place (earthquake, fire, school shooter, etc).
  64. Practice hiding (this is a common part of play for kids but most adults haven't done this in decades...and it can come in handy in an emergency).
  65. Always have an escape plan including a variety of ways to escape from your home, neighborhood, city, and workplace.
  66. Always place yourself strategically (near the door in an elevator, on the edges of crowds, away from building fronts and alleyways, etc).
  67. Utilize your cell phone effectively (text instead of calling, download useful emergency apps, video everything, turn off the sound if you are hiding from an aggressor, etc).
  68. Avoid big purses or bags if possible and instead carry your stuff on inside pockets where you can't get pickpocketed.
  69. Pay attention to your city/neighborhood crime map.
  70. Take specialized classes to increase your skills (survival, shooting, kidnapping prevention, etc).
  71. Do your banking and bill paying online as much as possible.
  72. Avoid ATMs at night and in bad areas.  Even "good" areas require a heightened sense of awareness.
  73. Make your home look as boring/average as possible on the outside (not too fancy, no expensive items on display, etc.).
  74. Make your home as uninteresting to a burglar on the inside as well (no clutter, checkbooks and credit cards locked up, cash not laying around, expensive items hidden away when not is use, etc).
  75. Make your trash similarly boring (cut down TV and computer boxes, don't advertise the fact that you have cases and cases of beer in your home, etc).
  76. If you must have a garage sale or sell things via Craigslist, try to make these sales at a location other than your home (in a public place, at a community garage sale, etc).
  77. Don't invite people into your house (trustworthy friends and family are fine, neighbors you don't know well, repairmen, etc not so much).
  78. Don't deal with the criminal element (hanging out with criminals and lowlifes puts a target on you as well).
  79. Don't give your personal information out to anyone unless you instigated the contact (you can call the IRS for assistance and provide your info but if the IRS calls you, don't tell them anything...this is a common scam).
  80. Shred any papers/documents with private information on them.
  81. Have a "missing kit" for all family members (include the person's important info, a DNA sample, a recent photo, etc).
  82. Take reasonable precautions at work (if you must work alone keep your office door locked, park in a safe place, make your office defensible if necessary, don't leave valuables at your office, secure your computer and files, etc).
  83. Be prepared to evacuate/flee at a moment's notice, from work, from home in the day, from home at night, from your vehicle, etc.
  84. Have multiple ways to call for help (via a text or cell call, through social media accounts, with a HAM radio, etc).
  85. Keep your personal information to yourself (your net worth, your investments, your social security number, the kinds of medication you take, your annual income, etc).
  86. Mind your manners.  There are rude/drunk/mentally ill people everywhere; don't engage with them.
  87. Stay out of trouble (if you are pulled over by a cop be polite, professional, and nonthreatening, don't cruise known drug areas, don't participate in activities that lead to trouble like rioting or violent protests, etc).
  88. Raise your kids right.  Loser kids bring around their loser friends, they will involve you with the legal system, and cause other unnecessary problems for yourself and others.
  89. Teach your kids personal safety skills.
  90. Report any crimes immediately.
  91. Be proactive in ending common social violence situations (stalking, bullying, dating violence, etc).
  92. If you or a family member needs mental health care, get it ASAP.  Not only can a mentally ill person cause problems for other people, but they are more likely than others to be on the receiving end of violence, fraud, and scams.
  93. Be able to "bug out" if needed.  You may need to escape a stalker, flee a dangerous neighborhood, or leave the workplace for a while so be prepared (with gear, money, and a way to keep money coming in no matter where you are).
  94. Avoid urban areas.  Rural areas often have much less violence and problems than urban areas.
  95. Take proactive steps to protect more vulnerable family and friends (children, the elderly, the ill and home-bound, etc).
  96. Learn basic first aid (such as immediate steps for blast injuries, firearms injuries, shock, etc).
  97. If you are a high value target (wealthy person, famous person, bank president, etc) seek out specialists to help develop and refine your personal safety plan.
  98. Take steps to secure your home when you go on vacation (stop the mail, hire a housesitter, have the neighbor mow the lawn, etc).
  99. Be cautious when you travel (up your awareness, secure your hotel room with a chair under the door and a small window alarm, be wary of traveling in areas outside of where tourists go, etc).
  100. Use common sense (this ranges from not picking up hitchhikers to not using gasoline to start a bonfire).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

10 Items from the News

In no particular order...

  1. Our weird weather may cause massive food shortages (plan accordingly)
  2. Ashley Madison was hacked so divorce lawyers gear up (may I reiterate...NOTHING you put on the internet is private)
  3. Thousands of illegal immigrants rush Macednia border (could happen here.  Again, plan accordingly)
  4. Mass shootings can happen anywhere (are you prepared?  These guys were).
  5. Airshow crash kills 7 (this can happen anywhere.  Be very aware of your surroundings no matter where you are).
  6. The Donald is running for president (which should scare the Hell out of people but it is hard to refute his logic)
  7. Someone stole a body from a casket (when I say be aware of everything, I mean it.  Case in point here)
  8. Two women just passed Ranger school (as long as they can meet the same requirements as the men it's all good.  I guess.  I'm still getting used to the fact that they now have women on subs)
  9. A goodly portion of the state of Washington is evacuating due to wildfires (are you prepared should this happen in your neighborhood?)
  10. Your investment portfolio might look like a ball in a pinball machine (but don't panic and yank all of your money out)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

50 Items to Always Have Within Reach

No matter where you are--home, office, vehicle, friend's house, on vacation, etc.--you need to be prepared for anything that could happen.  One way to do this it to always ensure that you have these useful items within reach (meaning in your home, in your travel bag, in your office storage cabinet, etc).

  1. Water (a case of water, a bottle of water, a canteen, etc)
  2. Food (stockpiled food, granola bars, a packed lunch, etc)
  3. Cash (coins and bills)
  4. ATM card/bank card/credit card (for access to greater amounts of money)
  5. ID (passport, driver's license, etc)
  6. First aid kit (tiny with band aids and aspirin up to a mega kit)
  7. Flashlight (again it can be tiny or a huge Maglight)
  8. A knife (pocket knife, fixed blade knife, utility knife, etc)
  9. A cell phone and charger (all around useful)
  10. A bandanna (many, many uses)
  11. A backpack (small, medium, or large for grab and go situations)
  12. Pen/pencil and paper (old reliable and still very useful even in the digital age)
  13. USB drive with all of your files backed up (no explanation needed)
  14. Prescription medications (if they are necessary they should always be with you)
  15. Paracord (also many, many uses)
  16. Small AM/FM radio (for entertainment and emergency use)
  17. Safety pins 
  18. Rubber bands 
  19. Zip ties 
  20. Emergency "space" blanket (many uses)
  21. Whistle (tiny but useful in an emergency)
  22. Spare batteries (for anything you carry that uses them)
  23. Wet wipes (always useful)
  24. Packet of tissue (for obvious uses)
  25. Condom (ditto. Also good for carrying water)
  26. Water purification tabs (super tiny and useful in an emergency)
  27. Matches or a lighter 
  28. Titanium cup (for your daily coffee and can be used for cooking in an emergency)
  29. Multi-purpose tool (like a Leatherman, a whole tool kit in your hand)
  30. Duct tape 
  31. Zip lock bags 
  32. Set of keys (spares for home and car)
  33. Needle and thread (for quick fixes)
  34. Tampon (for obvious uses also for stopping bleeding in an emergency)
  35. Compass (for obvious uses)
  36. Candy (comfort food and useful for diabetic emergencies)
  37. Sunglasses (for obvious uses)
  38. Sterile gloves
  39. Mirror (for obvious uses and for emergencies)
  40. Large garbage bag (lots of uses)
  41. Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, comb, etc)
  42. Good walking shoes
  43. Complete change of clothes
  44. Weapon of choice
  45. Light sticks
  46. Work gloves
  47. Rain poncho
  48. Local map
  49. Hand sanitizer
  50. Items specific to your situation (baby supplies, car emergency kit, pet supplies, etc)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's Summer Time and the Bloggin Ain't Happenin Much...

I'm sure I will get back to a regular blogging schedule in the near future but the past few weeks have been pretty busy and everything else has tended to fall by the wayside.  Here's some random stuff...

  • If I could open my browser and not see it filled with hate, racism, and other vitriol it would be a good (and exceedingly rare) thing.  I'm fully supportive of the black community, I'm fully supportive of cops doing their job (which can sometimes mean shooting and killing people if necessary), and I am fully supportive of the freedom of speech but this downward spiral of hate and social unrest...only reinforces the idea that people are crazy these days (spoken like a true old person but oh well...).
  • Along this same train of thought, this incident happened recently right here in my own city.  Which only reinforces the need to carry concealed AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE (because people are crazy AND stupid these days).
  • I picked up a small AM/FM radio a few days ago to keep in my daily carry bag.  These days everyone listens to their music/podcasts/online radio on their cell phones but since #1 very few cell phones come with regular FM radio these days, #2 listening to anything on your cell phone for a long while can drain the battery pretty quickly, and #3 a dead cell phone is rather useless, especially in an emergency, it just makes sense to have an alternate source of news and information, especially in a disaster scenario.  Plus I am a fan of local talk radio so there's that.
  • DEFCON just wrapped up in my fair city.  Here's some of the highlights.
  • A family (well, the parents of the family) recently died on a short, fun, day hike in the desert.  Hiking in the summer, especially in the desert, is no joke.  Most people from temperate areas have never been dehydrated before and it can kind of sneak up on you (you have a bunch of weird symptoms and before you know it you are in the ER with an IV hanging on your arm).  Add to that broiling hot sun, no shade, very little water, and no way out but your own two (at this point useless) feet and it spells instant death each summer for a number of people across the desert southwest.
  • If you are finding reddit annoying these days there is always Voat.
That's all for now.  Enjoy your last couple of weeks of summer!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Long Hot Summer

Well it's Las Vegas so summers are always long and hot here, but over all, it's been a wearying summer for many.  Here's a bunch of random things since I don't have anything specific to write about this week:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A News Round Up

From around the internet...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are You Prepared For: A Boil Water Order

A couple of days ago a city south of Las Vegas issued a boil water order to its citizens.  Here's how to prepare for such an event:

Who: determine who is issuing the order (could be public works or your local health district) and determine who is impacted by the order.  Depending on the cause of the order, you may be impacted if the order is given for an entire city (ie: you receive city water in your home), if you live in a particular water district (some cities have multiple water districts/water sources), or if you are on a well.  You may need to find out for yourself if your well water is safe to drink (ie: if the cause is flooding, all local water sources may be impacted, if it is a local event that impacts only one water district your well water may be fine).

What: a boil water order means your tap water has been determined unsafe to drink.  This could be caused by a number of factors including flooding, a chemical spill into the water source, certain bacteria counts that are found to be above a safe level, etc.

When: boil water orders usually have a start time (you will often be notified as soon as possible by the local media, a reverse 911 call, or other notification from local authorities).  They also usually have an end time (but be sure to check before using the water as the end time may change).

How: you need to be prepared for the time that the water coming out of the taps in your home becomes unsafe to drink.  You should:

  • have a good quantity of bottled water stockpiled for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, etc.  
  • know how to use various purification methods to ensure safe drinking water
  • know that in some cases water cannot be purified so you shouldn't use it at all.
  • find out if your community will be providing water to those impacted by the boil water order (call 211, check the local news, or call the health district to see if water will be provided and how it will be distributed)
  • scout out possible sources of water in your area (river and creek water, collected rain water, spring water, etc are all possibilities.  Remember all of these should be purified and depending on the cause of the boil water order--chemical spill, flooding, etc--it may not be safe to use at all)
  • keep handi wipes on hand to use for washing up 
  • also have hand sanitizer available for waterless clean up
  • learn how to bathe with only a small bucket of purified water and a scoop 
  • consider what other water may be unsafe to drink in your home and remove it (ie: water used for pets, water that goes into your ice maker, water that goes into hard-plumbed coffee makers, etc)
And a few more things:
  • Toilets can be flushed as this water doesn't impact your drinking water system.
  • At the end of the boil water order you may want to run the taps in your home (hot and cold) to get rid of any unsafe water in your home.
  • If you think anyone in your family has been sickened by the water (gastrointestinal problems, symptoms of poisoning) be sure and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Depending on how toxic the situation is, evacuating to a safe location (with family or friends or to a hotel in an area not impacted by the boil water order) may be your best bet.