Another terrorist attack—this time in London. Last night’s mayhem marks three major incidents in the last three months in the UK. Now more than ever, we need to do what we can to protect ourselves, our families and our fellow citizens. And this means all of us—regardless of our backgrounds or current professions.
Much of our training in Special Operations is on planning ahead and staying calm in the heat of the moment. If you can prepare yourself and your family to do only these two things, you will have a much better chance of coming through an emergency—whether it’s a 10-car pileup on the freeway or a coordinated attack in a public place. Here are five ways you can do this:
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings. This sounds simple, but in today’s world of distracted driving, mobile-phone obsession and constant social media updates—many lose sight of this. Be sure you’re looking around and your head is up. Don’t be so distracted that you miss the first signs of trouble. By being aware, you might also be in a position to help someone who is in trouble or be the witness to something already in progress.
- Make a Plan. You don’t need to be paranoid or go to great lengths to try and think of possible scenarios—but you should make a concerted effort to think about what you’re doing, where you’re going and what that means to you and your family. Are you headed to the lake for the weekend? Do you have the supplies and gear to keep everyone safe and most comfortable if a storm knocks out power and prevents travel after you arrive? Will you be at a late-night spot known to attract a lot of attention and activity—sometimes by people you might not want around?
- Have a Way to Stay in Contact with Loved Ones. This means knowing how to regroup if you and your family are separated while out and about—but also how to notify distant family and friends of your situation. If you have small children, be sure to regularly review what they should do if they can’t find you. But this also goes for fellow adults. Having a communication plan is imperative and can help you navigate life’s little bumps or unplanned emergencies.
- Separate Yourself from Danger. Not everyone is prepared to fight. Not everyone is able to fight. And not everyone should fight—if there are alternatives. However, everyone should know what to do if danger presents itself. “Run. Fight. Hide.” is popular—but do you know what that means for you? If you don’t, make a plan and think ahead.
- Take Steps to Protect Yourself. Again, this doesn’t mean to join the nearest martial arts gym, weapons training course or advanced tactics facility. However, there are some basic steps you can take to make sure you’re better prepared. I encourage everyone to seek out experts in a field or on a topic that is relevant to this area. There are great resources out there to help you get the insights you need to help you when it matters most.