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Your self protection plan: prioritizing your resources

Your self protection plan: prioritizing your resources

When it comes to personal security, family safety, and home protection preparation, sometimes getting started is the hard part. That’s why I had you do the threat assessment exercise, because the results help you decide where you should start. That assessment can help guide your self protection plan so you know what to do first!

Self protection plan: by the numbers

If you’ve completed the threat assessment — identifying and ranking the dangers you might face — you now have some numbers to look at. By ranking them by both incidence (how common they are) and consequence (the amount of effect they have on your life), then adding those numbers together, you ended up with a figure that gives you some idea of the importance of each threat.

What do I mean by importance? You can think of it in two ways: first, how much of your preparation resources you choose (or perhaps should) devote to it, and second how urgently you should prepare.

Deciding how to allocate your scarce resources

You’re probably tired of hearing me say this, but your preparedness resources are limited. No one has unlimited money, energy, or time to train, equip, and practice for every possible threat. The resources you spend learning how to defend yourself with a firearm can’t be spent learning how to home-can food or learning how to deal with severe life-threatening trauma!

Even within each category you might need to make resource decisions in your self protection plan. Let’s take self defense shooting, for instance. You need the shooting skills and knowledge, but at the same time you also need the knowledge of when it’s appropriate to use those skills. If you’ve allocated some amount of your preparedness resources to learn how to defend yourself with a firearm, you’ll need to decide how much of that goes to a shooting class and how much to a self defense law class. (Hint: most people don’t even bother with the latter, because the former is a lot more fun! Some of them end up wishing they’d made a different decision when they wind up in jail for using their gun inappropriately.) Or, you might decide that a class in how to recognize potential attackers might keep you safer by avoiding trouble altogether.

The higher the Importance figure, the larger the percentage of your preparedness resources you might want to put in your self protection plan.

Prioritizing by urgency

Urgency is more of a nebulous idea, but it’s still important. Should you start on preparing for any given threat now, or should you do something else first? Even if they have the same numerical value, you might decide to do one before the other simply because you feel a compelling reason.

This brings up an important point: don’t be a slave to the numbers! It’s easy to get overly fixated on rankings when doing this exercise, but you may find your gut telling you to prepare for a “lesser” threat than one which ranks higher. Sometimes this is a sign that you’ve overstated or understated something when you did your initial rankings. If so, be honest with yourself! Go back and re-rank those items to more accurately reflect your assessment of their incidence and consequence. Your self protection plan is first and foremost about YOU!

Even if you believe the rankings to be perfectly valid you may still feel a desire to prepare for one before you bother with another. That’s perfectly fine, as long as your feelings aren’t driven by the entertainment or pleasure value of the activity.

For instance, shooting is (for a lot of people) a fun activity and taking a shooting class is even more fun. For some, there is entertainment value from getting out and playing soldier or SWAT cop for a weekend. Don’t let that blind you to the actual preparedness value of the class, however. In reality the vast majority of defensive gun uses are relatively mundane and undemanding of shooting skill, but almost all of them are very demanding of judgement and self control. Learning how to perform three different kinds of reloads doesn’t usually do much for learning how to process information. If you use your resources having fun while skipping out on what actually keeps you safe, have you really made the best of your time, energy and money?

Your self protection plan categories are not mutually exclusive!

Remember that there will be some overlap in the coverage of your self protection plan (or there can be with some slight alterations.) For instance, the work you do to prevent residential burglary will also often reduce the chances of a successful home invasion — and vice-versa. Preparing for severe weather? That’s a lot like preparing for being stranded away from home (and the former is often the reason for the latter!)

Looked at in that way, you might decide that two (or more) of your items can use the same set of resources. That combination might move up in importance in your rankings even if their numbers are relatively modest, simply because you’ll make much more efficient use of those resources. That leaves more for the other stuff!

What about the other members of the family?

Keep in mind that the numbers you have are for you, but they might not be accurate for everyone. If you were to re-run the exercise for other members of your family you might find them shifting a bit. For instance, abduction attempts occur with children far more than they do for adults, and the preparedness resources you spend on your kids might need to change to reflect that reality.

Decide how much time, effort and money to budget for each item in your self protection plan — then get started!

– Grant Cunningham


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  • Posted by Grant Cunningham
  • On July 11, 2016
Tags: realistic, security