How do you know what to prepare for?

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Figuring out how to keep you and your family safe can seem overwhelming, but knowing what you face is a good way to gain the clarity you need to act. Today let’s look at some of the kinds of information might be valuable to you in your quest for personal safety!

Part of the planning process for your personal security preparations is knowing what external risks you face. That information can help you apportion your limited resources to provide you (and your family) with the maximum protection.

This is true for all hazards; knowing, for instance, that your area is prone to wildfires or earthquakes or tornados tells you what you need to prepare for. Let’s say that wildfires are common in your neck of the woods: you might take steps to reduce the fire danger by making a “defensible zone” around your house (your local fire department can give you some pointers); roofing with fire-resistant materials; writing (and practicing) an evacuation plan; and so on.

Someone who faces a tsunami risk, on the other hand, would likely need to spend very little time preparing for an encroaching forest fire but would definitely need to spend much more time on how to evacuate to higher inland ground. That would mean things like how to bypass crowded roads; having a well stocked “go” back in each vehicle; and planning for both home and work evacuations on, quite literally, a moment’s notice.

Even something as seemingly benign as employment statistics can be important. If you live in an area (or are in an industry/business/profession) which is undergoing economic upheaval, stocking up on foodstuffs and other necessities to weather a job loss could prove to be vital to your comfort and mental well-being.

Preparing for criminal activity also has to be a major factor in your preparedness. While it’s true that there is no completely “safe area”, some are demonstrably more prone to various types of crime than others. For instance, many people believe that only big cities have high crime rates; a recent article from, however, shows that some small cities have violent crime rates that are actually higher than many major metropolises. Just because you don’t live in Chicago or Detroit doesn’t mean you won’t face a violent crime, and if you live in one of the small cities profiled you might want to take another look at how you’ll deal with violence which comes your way.

That might include things like preventing forcible entry into your home; surveillance and alarm systems; making a “safe room” (and practicing how you’ll use it in the event of a home invasion); and, of course, personal defense options that include both armed and unarmed responses.

Even within a metropolitan area there are some neighborhoods which are more dangerous than others. Sometimes the inner city is less dangerous than the surrounding suburbs! A recent article on Huffington Post profiled an organization called NeighborhoodScout, which looked at violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault) and correlated them with census tracts to come up with the twenty-five most dangerous neighborhoods. Some of them were surprising, and if yours is on this list you might want to put more of your resources into preparing to deal with a criminal attacker both at home and away from home.

There are a lot of resources out there that can help you, but the first step is to acknowledge that there isn’t single place in this country which is absolutely risk-free. Find out what your risks are, find out how to mitigate those risks, and then spend your resources on realistic, plausible defenses!

-=[ Grant ]=-

P.S.: would you take a moment to like and share the Personal Security Institute’s Facebook page? Or, if you’re a Flipboard user, perhaps you’d like to follow our Flipboard magazine – full of great personal security and defense information you won’t see here!


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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