Personal security is perhaps the most critical security focus. Why is personal security the most vital security focus? It is essential because it involves protecting yourself from harm.
Protecting yourself from harm is important because you are only able to secure others when you are safe. Therefore, any lapse in security that negatively affects you may result in decreased security for those around you. Quite often those around you include your close family and friends.
Five Areas of Personal Security
Next, is the second of the three pillars of security, personal security. Personal security is dependent upon maintaining an adequate level in five different areas. The five areas of personal security are security mindset, health, fitness, training, education, communications and physical measures. Together, these five areas of personal security combine to make up your overall security posture.
Situational awareness is the first discipline of the security mindset. As mentioned previously, intertwines amongst the three pillars of security. Situational awareness provides us with a base for recognizing and understanding our continually evolving security situation. Our security situation is continuously changing because everything in our life is continuously changing. The house next door may have an excellent family living in it one day and troublemakers the next. Likewise, the car you rely on to get your family out of dodge could purr like a kitten today, but sound like a bucket of bolts in a garbage disposal next week.
It is by working to maintain and improve our situational awareness that we are better able to identify threats to our evolving personal security situation. For example, we want to know when the neighbors are moving, so we know who is moving in. We want to maintain our car, so it doesn’t fail us when we need it most. The same holds true for all aspects of our lives and security efforts. By understanding the developing environment around us, we are better able to deal with any problems that arise. Optimally, if we are on top of our situational awareness game, we may ultimately avoid potential problems before they happen.
Low Profile | Gray Man
The next security mindset discipline is the gray man concept. As discussed previously, maintaining a low profile, also known as being the gray man is an essential aspect of security. This idea is no different when it comes to personal security. The simple truth of personal security is that the more we draw attention, the higher our chances are of problems.
Therefore, it is crucial that you learn to blend in and not stick out. Odds are, when it comes to improving your personal security, you’re relatively on your own. It’s unlikely that you are someone who has a security team protecting you. Because you don’t have a bunch of tough guys around you, your security is all on you.
The hands down, the best way to make sure you are secure is to not be a target in the first place. By not being a target you can avoid many of the problems that would affect those who are. It’s simple logic. If, as the gray man, no one notices you, you can also avoid being a target. So, work more on being the gray man and less on being a target. Your security and wellbeing will thank you for it!
Another discipline of the security mindset is to establish an unpredictable routine. What, you want us to create a varied routine? As crazy as it sounds, yes. It is possible to plan to be unpredictable.
One of the times we are most at risk is when traveling from one location to another. Think about it. We are reasonably secure in our home where we have taken measures to protect ourselves. Similarly, we are relatively safe in the local shopping mall, where there are security measures in place. However, where are we not as secure? We are not as secure between the door of our home and the door of our destination.
Time and Place Predictability
The chief danger we face when it comes to anything other than a random encounter is time and place predictability. Time and place predictability, means we become predictable when we do the same things at the same time. Case in point, how many of us leave for work at the same time every day? What about when you take the kids to school or go to the gym? We are, after all, creatures of habit. We wake up at the same time each day. Go to bed at the same time, etc.
Path of Least Resistance
In addition to doing things at the same time, we are also in the same location at that time. How often do you change your route to work, or when taking the kids to school? Why don’t we change? It’s because as humans, we tend to take the path of least resistance and are fearful of the unknown.
Think about it. When you drive home from a place you go to a lot, how often do you not recall the drive? Then, if you do have to take a new route, do you drone and not remember it? No, you recall it because it is new and different. You are breaking your habit and pushing outside of your comfort zone.
Don’t be a Target
Well, unfortunately, our fear of the unknown and desire to travel the path of least resistance makes us targets. We’re targets because become time and place predictable. Not only are we time and place predictable, but because we are so used to it, we tend to lower our situational awareness. When our situational awareness decreases, we move from presenting a more difficult target into becoming a simple target.
Fortunately, we can become a much less likely target by not being time and place predictable. This is relatively simple to achieve but requires thought and dedication to overcome our desire to take the easy path. Therefore, when planning out your day, vary your routine.
Consider leaving a half hour earlier or later than usual. When you do, leave your home, travel a different route if possible. Unless there are no other outlets form your street, take a right instead of a left. Choose a different gas station, or pick a different supermarket from time to time. When you take actions not to be time and place predictable, you’ll cause uncertainty in anyone watching you. It’s that uncertainty that may stop a potential encounter and keep you safe.
So, always make an effort to be predictably unpredictable.
When you are predictably unpredictable, you increase your chances of avoiding a problem. Avoidance is the ultimate security measure and the next discipline of a proper security mindset. By preventing issues ahead of time, we eliminate any potential adverse effects they may bring.
After all, anytime we encounter a problem, we also face the likelihood of suffering from that problem. Therefore, the best possible outcome is to use our situational awareness to identify difficulties earlier rather than later. Doing so allows us to avoid issues and their potential impact entirely.
Personal Security Strategies and Plans
As you address your personal security, you will need to formulate a variety of personal security strategies and plans. These personal security strategies and plans should cover the range of potential risks that you identified during your personal risk assessment.
Your personal risk assessment identifies vulnerabilities. With your weaknesses identified, your next step is to develop personal security strategies and plans that address the identified risks. The end goal of your personal security strategies and plans is to minimize or eliminate the impact potential of each risk.
The personal security strategies and plans you create should emphasize your strengths. Simultaneously, your personal security strategies and plans should reduce the impact of your weaknesses. By playing to your strengths and addressing your weaknesses, you will be in the best position possible. This position is one that will help you triumph in the face of adversity.
It is crucial to remember though, that your personal security strategies and plans are not static. In other words, once you create a plan, the clock begins running towards the expiration date of its effectiveness. This means that you need to continuously evaluate your strategy for effectiveness against the latest threats and information. As you evaluate your personal security strategies and plans, you should update them accordingly.
Once your personal security strategies and plans are updated, you will need to make the plan available to all involved. People receiving the plan should become familiar with the plan through review and group discussion. Once everyone involved is familiar with the strategy or plan, they next need to rehearse the plan. Rehearsals should be conducted using the crawl, walk, run method. Doing so allows people to understand the plan and gradually increase their competence with it. Over time, this will lead to improved capabilities for dealing with challenging scenarios with expert speed, quickness, and effectiveness.
Health is the next area of preparedness that feeds into your personal security. Without good mental and physical health, you may become limited in your possible response to issues. However, it is important to be as healthy as possible, so you are ready in the event of an emergency.
Now, obviously, some people have either or both physical and mental health issues. Life puts challenges before you, and it is your responsibility to work around those difficulties. Because it’s your responsibility, it’s crucial that you understand what your health issues are and work to minimize them.
The way you understand your health issues is by working with a health professional. Let’s face it; we usually know when we have a health-related issue. Unfortunately, many people, for some reason decide not address problems with a health professional. That includes getting regular check-ups to ensure there is nothing unseen happening with your health.
When we don’t go to the doctor, we don’t set ourselves up for success. By avoiding the doctor, dentist, etc., we let problems fester and become worse. It’s then, during times of emergency and stress that the festering issues cause us problems.
So, the moral of this story is to take your health seriously. Do your best to stay on top of your health. That includes receiving routine exams and seeking help when you have a health concern. After all, what good does it do you to put so much into preparedness, only to have your health be a more significant problem for you than the disaster you’re facing?
Preparedness fitness includes the attributes of strength, stamina, endurance, and mobility. Together, these four characteristics address the physical demands that will be present when a disaster or other significant emergency happens. Therefore, it is essential that as preparedness minded people, we ready our physical capabilities in the event they are needed.
The first attribute, strength, is the power to resist force. In fitness training, this includes the ability to lift weights, your body, etc. During a disaster situation, the strength it needed to be able to move things, such as debris, equipment, injured family members, etc.
Following strength, we need to have endurance. Endurance is the ability to perform for extended periods of time. Think of a marathon runner, versus a sprinter. The long-distance runner must build up their ability to continue over long distances and periods of time. When thinking of stamina, think of the old tale of the tortoise and the hare. The rabbit may be faster than the tortoise, but in the long run, the tortoise wins out due to its tenacity and endurance.
Next, in importance is stamina, which is a combination of strength and endurance. Without stamina, which doesn’t improve without effort, we can’t be on the go for extended periods of time while overcoming obstacles, etc. Unfortunately, in a disaster scenario, having stamina can result in serious problems. Imagine trying to escape from a danger zone, only to be winded and unable to continue after a short time. By not working on your stamina, you are setting yourself up to not be able to do long and strenuous tasks.
Lastly, we need to work on our mobility. Mobility entails being able to move through a wide range of motions, angles, etc. Think back to when you may have had a sore back or an injured leg. Were you very mobile? Probably not. It’s because of the difficulties that come with not being very mobile that we need to make sure we focus on this aspect of fitness. Heck, if you’re stiff and unable to bend over to pick up something you dropped, how well do you think you’re going to deal with a more interactive and critical problem?
Training is a critical part of performing any task. Without training, we are all non-experienced rookies who have a high likelihood of failure at any unprepared for the task. When it comes to training, there are three key areas that we all should pay attention to. Those key areas are awareness, defensive capabilities, and generic skills.
When it comes to awareness training, we all need to ramp up our game. Awareness is crucial to any situation. When we are aware and practicing good situational awareness, we can anticipate events. Not only are we able to anticipate events, but we are also able to anticipate the outcomes of those events. By being in tune and having good situational awareness, we can predict problems and minimize the negative effects we might otherwise experience.
As we become better with our awareness we will become better prepared to defend ourselves against potential adversaries. However, to defend ourselves, we need to train on and develop our defensive capabilities. It’s these capabilities that include the ability to be ready for a physical confrontation as well as to be mentally prepared to plan a wide range of actions against us.
Lastly, we should all train on generic security skills. It is the generic and unforeseen skills that will help stop the unexpected. After all, we all know Murphy is waiting to catch us unaware. Therefore, we should always expect the unexpected and plan for the impossible. The only way to successfully do that is by training on the mundane and preparing for all eventualities.
Education is a key to every personal security scenario. You can be completely fit, but if you do not educate yourself on the ways of the world. You may be unprepared when a bad event happens.
Think about it this way. You can give someone every tool in the toolbox. You can have them do all kinds of physical exercises so they can physically use the tools. However, if you never train and educate the person about the tools, or about what they are doing with the tools, they will never be successful with those tools.
Heck, what will happen if you give someone a box of tools who has never been trained or educated how to work on a car and ask them to fix a vehicle problem. Odds are, you won’t be driving your car anytime soon. Then again, if you teach them how to work on the car, you may be up and running in no time. In the education, it’s all about learning and training together.
Personal Security Summary
Personal security is possibly the most crucial segment of our security mindset. If we do not keep ourselves secure, we will be limited in securing our loved ones and the assets that matter. Therefore, whenever working through your security thought processes, make sure you give great consideration to your personal security. When you do, you will find that you are more safe, secure and prepared to deal with the threats that may cross your path.
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about personal security, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared,