General Rule of Thumb Behaviors
1. Confident Body Language. Alert, assertive body language shows you are prepared to act and may put off potential attackers. Avoid looking down at your cellphone, wearing earbuds or reading while walking. Being distracted makes you an instant target. Carry keys on a lanyard not your purse.
2. Avoid a Fight. The surest way to win a fight is to avoid being into one in the first place (thanks, Karate Kid). When faced with conflict, calculate your chances of emerging victorious. If the odds are against you, back away. Be prepared with skills and knowledge to fight back if a confrontation is unavoidable.
3. Train Your Mind. Your mind is the best survival tool you have, and luckily it’s available to you at all times. Train your brain to stay focused no matter what happens. Just like a Navy SEAL, you have to train it by visualizing scenarios or even putting yourself in adverse situations.
4. Mind Your Business. A strong sense of self is essential. Act naturally, be genuinely friendly and try not to make too much eye contact. This can attract the wrong crowd so it’s best to just mind your own business.
5. Trust Your Gut. The more you train, the more your gut decisions will be right but you should trust your instinct no matter what. Dangerous areas and emergency situations require quick thinking. If your gut tells you something isn’t right, back off until you’re sure it’s safe to continue.
6. Establish Ground Rules. If you’re bugging out with other people, you may need to lay down some ground rules for how the group should operate. The actions of one wayward individual can have harmful consequences to everyone.
7. Drive an Old Car. Choose a car, powerful enough to bug out with, that doesn’t stand out and attract attention. A 4×4 Diesel is what most preppers choose. Older cars and their parts are cheaper and if old enough, could be EMP proof.
8. Stay Calm on the Road. In case of road rage or harassment stay calm. Don’t give anyone the finger or pull over to argue, because the other guy may have a gun. If you can, call the police or drive to a hospital or police station where an officer is likely to be found.
9. Play-act. Sometimes, pretending you’re someone you’re not can get you out of hot water. If corrupt authorities have taken charge of the area, they may try to arrest or detain you. Sometimes acting like a foreigner is a good defense so you can get out of there before suspicions arise.
10. Watch for Fake Checkpoints. Keep a look-out for fake checkpoints post-SHTF. Fake guards may be donning law enforcement uniforms and even driving “official” vehicles. Checkpoints in unexpected places, like on a bridge or highway, are suspect.
11. Blend In. Don’t attract attention with the way you look. Wear neutral clothing with different shades on the top and bottom to avoid being mistaken for a uniformed officer. Never wear camouflage clothing unless you’re in the wilderness.
12. Photograph Cautiously. Be careful how you use your DSLR camera. Your innocent recording or flash photography might be mistaken for a weapon and you might be taken down. In emergency situations, you definitely shouldn’t waste time taking photos, anyway. Sun glare on a lens may look like light reflecting off a weapon from afar and could trigger an air strike from aircraft overhead.
13. Watch for Strange Vehicles. Any time but especially in a hot zone, keep an eye out for strange cars near your camp or shelter. If you notice one, write down the number and keep an eye out for it to return.
14. Know Your Equipment. Give yourself a crash course on how to use the gadgets and equipment you have on hand. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to figure out the proper way to use your survival knife, compass, water filter, and other gear.
15. Have Visible Security. Your alarm system should be visible and display warning signage in prominent places around your property to warn against intrusion. Dummy “alarm system” stickers may keep intruders away even if there’s no actual security system in place.
16. Have a Backup Plan. Remember than no initial plan works out exactly as you imagined. Always have a Plan B, or even a Plan C for everything. Keep in mind the “two is one, one is none” rule.
When Shots are Fired
17. Stay Indoors. If you hear nearby shots, implement your safety response procedure. Stay indoors, get everyone inside, keep communication equipment nearby, lock the doors, stay away from windows and call 911 if you can. Always evaluate whether or not it is safe before venturing outside your home or safe room.
18. Move to Safe Room. If the shots grow louder and more frequent, it could mean that there is an attack or that you’re looking at a home invasion. In this case, move inside your safe room, or into a room with no exterior walls.
19. Prep your Home. If you have enough warning, remove the glass from the windows and prop soaked mattresses against the walls to act as a cushioning device to repel bullets.
20. Take Cover if Outside. If trapped outside when things go downhill, first take cover to avoid being shot. Crouch in a gap or hole in the ground, under a tree, in a doorway or against an embankment. Don’t look to see where the shooter is. Instead, use your senses to move inside or as far away from the sound of fire as possible.
21. Use a Car for Cover. Don’t hide near the gas tank of a car. Try to position yourself behind the engine block, next to one of the front wheels.
22. Hide Smart. Don’t take cover in a location that someone recently used as a firing position. They may return there.
23. Keep your Head Down. It’s natural to want to stand up and look around when things are going wrong. Get behind anything solid – a sturdy table, a retaining wall, and cover your head and neck.
24. Lighten your Load. If you need to make a run for it, ditch any extra equipment such as your bug out bag that might slow you down.
25. Inventory your Gear. If your primary strategy is flight not fight, make sure your BOB is lightweight but has enough gear to get you to your next destination.
Avoiding Terrorist Attacks
To avoid getting caught up in a terror event, consider all of these safety measures:
26. Air Travel. When air travelling, book non-stop flights if you can.
27. Avoid Tourist Targets. Avoid vacationing in countries that are popular with Western tourists, which are clear targets for terrorism (such as Tunisia).
28. Beware of Strangers. Every stranger you meet is potential dangerous, even your friendly taxi driver. Report all suspicious people to your local US embassy or consulate while abroad.
29. Familiarize yourself with Safe Zones. Know the address of local police stations, embassies and hospitals, memorize phone numbers, and know routes to get there.
30. Airport Safety. After checking in for your flight, head immediately to the secured area of the airport. Keep an eye on your luggage at all times.
31. Conservative Clothing. Dress conservatively without attracting attention.
32. Low Key Items. Don’t add distinctive markings such as bumper stickers to your car or even luggage. Bright markings identify you as a tourist and make you more visible when it’s better to just blend in.
33. Shop During Off Hours. Avoid peak hours inside malls. Shop early mornings or late evenings, if crowds aren’t too bad. There’s less chance of an attack happening at these times of the day.
34. Stay Alert. Keep your guard up at all times in public. Watch for unattended luggage, abandoned packages or suspicious items in general. If you see any, report them to authorities.
35. Know Your Route. Map out your route ahead of time so you can walk quickly and with purpose instead of wandering slowly and looking for landmarks. If need be, step into a public building such as a cafe to check your route and get your bearings.
Avoid Being Kidnapped
36. Keep Your Wits. Although you can’t always prevent a kidnapping, it helps to stay alert. If something does begin to happen, keep your wits about you and watch for a chance to escape or get help.
37. Ask for help. If you suspect that you may be a target for kidnapping, recruit someone local to help you map out a safe route to your destination. If you’re in a foreign place, consult the local advisor on clothing, behavior, and other cultural norms to minimize your risk of being targeted.
38. Avoid becoming a target. If you are wealthy, work for a controversial, or wealthy company, or carry large amounts of cash, you are at risk. Protect your information and be careful who you share personal details with. If you or your company has kidnap and ransom insurance, keep it a secret.
39. Assess People. Take note of people around you, especially newcomers. Always make sure you have someone you trust as a barrier between you and the rest of the world. They will do the vetting before they let anyone get close to you.
40. Keep friends informed. Trusted people should know your movements: where you’re going and for how long. Give your call list to one of your closest confidantes.
41. Carry Some Cash. In some hot zones, safe passage requires ‘protection insurance’. This may range from a small token to millions of dollars, but it’s a good to have some cash on you.
Surviving a Riot
42. Beware of Crowds. An angry crowd can be a very powerful force, you may feel invisible, until they realize you don’t belong or are scared. Avoid eye contact, don’t try to look tough. Steer clear of crowded streets and narrow spaces. Keep pace with others in the crowd.
43. Give Up Valuables. If someone asks you for money or your gun give them what they want without any objection to avoid a fight.This is probably the best advice to avoid being beaten to death during a riot.
44. Avoid Trouble. If a peaceful protest turns ugly, go home at the first sign of unrest. Don’t stick around to watch or take photos. Things can go from calm to bloody in minutes. The Romanian revolution was a carefully orchestrated coup d’etat:
45. Fake a Call. If you suspect someone following you, pretend to be on the phone with someone or with the police. If they engage you in conversation, talk loud and act like you’ve been through this countless times and know exactly what to do. They may back off.
46. Fight Back. If attacked, hit him with all you’ve got – elbows, fists, knees and feet. An upward palm strike to the nose is enough to floor him. Then, grab a weapon from your surroundings – an umbrella, a broom, a brick, railing, windscreen wipers, your cell phone – and unleash it on him.
47. Know the Exits. If you’re indoors, know where all the exits are but stay put until it’s safe to venture out.
48. Talk to your Attacker. Women can some times talk their way out of rape. If you play on underlying emotions, you may evade a nasty situation. For example, a young Canadian aid worker kept her attackers at bay by comparing herself to one of their sisters. Another woman spoke gently to her attacker and stroked his head, like a mother would. Fortunately the S.O.B. backed down!
49. Carry a Weapon. Make sure you check your state and federal laws on what you may or may not carry. Consider pepper spray, folding knives or even a handgun. Having the means to protect yourself against bigger and stronger attackers could literally mean the difference between life and death.
50. Safety in Numbers. A group of two or more people that are obviously together is less of a target. If alone when trouble approaches, walk up to a group of people and ask a for directions or give a wave and call out a name as if you’ve just seen someone you know ahead in the crowd.
Regardless of where you are, whether home, traveling in another country, or even in your local neighborhood, disaster can strike. While some disasters are unavoidable, your valuable prepping skills minimize your risk of becoming a victim or target in any environment. Do you make a point of following safety measures to steer clear of trouble and away from crisis?