Emergency Travel Safe Havens

Rarely does catastrophe strikes or a threat emerge at an opportune time. This means you may be away from your home, or bug out location when it becomes necessary for you to take shelter or hold up somewhere till it blows over, the threat dissipates or you find a way to deal with it.

Safe houses are pre established clandestine facilities usually setup in relatively public or easily accessible areas. The public owner records are usually done in a way to not give away the true owner of the property to allow for more privacy and security. There is usually a high financial bar to clear to set this up and will not be an option for most people but are an example of the best possible option. These are designed for both emergency and planned stop off scenarios usually with a cache of emergency supplies.

Now some options for the average person are…

Embassies(when traveling over seas): in most cases embassies are a haven for the embassy’s citizens from the reach of the host territory in extreme instances. The grounds of the embassies are considered the soil of the embassy’s country where the host nation has no jurisdiction. They are also usually afforded a decent security detail with reinforcements not too far away if needed in case of unrest or host country collapse. Now as we have seen in an ever growing list of incidents however your home country coming to the rescue is not a guarantee and you should always expect to have to self rescue and have a plan to get out on your own.

Places of business or civil service buildings that are open to the general public as self service spaces, are minimally staffed or require little interaction with them to be present. This can range from libraries, internet cafes and churches to homeless shelters, or train/bus stations, airports, and in some short term cases hotel lobbies.

Vehicles are most effective for active evasion. They serve as transportation and temporary shelters. This can be your car or a rental car or bug out vehicle but can also be

airplanes, buses, boats, trains and so on. Each of which may have different privacy and security considerations you will need to consider.

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How to Secure Your Valuables at the Beach

Enjoy the view her friends are stealing your shit.

At very crowded beaches it is not unusual to see a beautiful women walking along the beach, distracting the beach goers(usually men just saying)

What most people do not see is the the small crew following slightly behind her and off to the side snatching what they can from anyone who is side tracked by the beautiful view. This is a petty theft version of the honey pot which is a tactic that is used in almost every aspect of society. Ranging from business sales to criminal activities to espionage, it boils down to the age old adage, “Sex Sells”

Now whether orchestrated as a honey pot or not the majority of thefts when traveling are going to happen at the beach even if the beach is in your home town. Average beach goers are often distracted by one thing or another or leaving their valuables unattended to take a dip in the ocean.

Swim wear is not usually good for carrying an EDC or any other items more than maybe a set of keys and there is little to no way to truly secure belongings, however there is things you can do to better your odds.

Personally I have never been big on the whole go to the beach to sit around thing so I recommend getting off the beach and exploring more whether thats the urban areas or the wild areas is up to your. No for the people that “Have” to go to the beach, Most consultants advise only taking to the beach that which you are willing to loose, I agree to a point, but as I have covered before I am not a fan of leaving your stuff unattended in your room either especially if that is your passport or other important documents.

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Urban GHB

Being crisis “proof” is a misnomer, crisis resistant is a more accurate description. Regardless becoming that way is more about your mind set, your skills, and your ability to handle stress.

Generally I recommend splitting the gear into what you carry on you and what you carry in your GHB (get home bag) In my case in the colder seasons I pull some stuff out of my GHB and put in my jacket as well. We covered EDC in a past post to this one will revovle around your GHB

GHB/GO BAG

I use a Mystery Ranch 3day assault pack right now for my GHB. It is not too out side the base line for areas in my usual life while getting the size, organization and durability that I Look for in a pack.

Water: A titanium/steel non-vacume bottle is best because you can use it to boil water if needed.

24hrs of calories: Power bars, Freeze dried food, MRE etc. For the average person would range between 2200-2500 calories. In an emergency situation or if your stuck in the elements you’ll want 3000-3500.

All black shemagh: Shemaghs offer a number of uses beyond being a scarf. In urban environments they typically stand out however and the all black pattern finds a balance to my satisfaction. I still keep it in by pack and out of site unless being used.

Backup lighter and fuel: A zippo lighter in a pyrovault with an additional capsule of fuel.

Roll of quarters: when grasped in a fist this can offer some more umph to your punches as well as can be used for pay phones or vending machines if needed

2 locking carabiners with a length of either 8mm cord or climb spec tubular webbing: This can be used for a host of reasons including creating a harness and using for escape from multi story buildings in case of fire or other incidents.

Headlamp: Allows for hands free light if needed

GPS + paper map: 2 is one one is none, this GPS should use standard batteries that you can scavenge if need be and you wont rely on having to recharge like your watch. Always have a low tech way of navigation as well and know how to use it.

Full size lensatic compass

Back up communications: This can be a beartooth, gotenna, Ham radio, a DIY Lora device like meshtastic or a combination. I currently use beartooth with Iphone but am looking into a DIY device. I also recommend having an un activated burner phone on an alternate network than your primary phone with what ever minute cards etc required to activate them in a time of need.

Change of cloths +/- a hat: Make these clothes match the base line but be different colors or shades than what you are currently wearing. This gives you quick change capability. If you don’t wear a hat bring one to throw on if needed. Bonus points if you choose clothes that can also just be added as an additional layer if you get caught in bad weather. I also carry a small compressible rain layer.

Additional assorted small escape/bypass tools:

Fixed blade knife if not on your person (check local laws)

Battery pack/spare batteries and charging cords for all devices you carry. You can also find small solar panels for recharging if you are in a blackout or more rural scenario

Faraday bag(s) for any of the electronic device in your bag as well as for stashing your phone if needed.

Headphones: Hands free comms or in minor scenarios for podcasts or music when delayed. They can also be used to appear less threatening if you appear to be paying attention to them and not the world around you.

Deck of cards or some form of analog entertainment: If stranded or delayed when traveling and don’t want to or cant run down your batteries or maybe you want to play a friendly game of cards with the stranger at the cafe.

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Disaster Ready

There is no cut and dry method for preparing yourself for any and all emergencies or life-threatening situations

there is not enough time to allow you master all of the skills needed to successfully defeat these situations either. You can However determine what skills are most likely to be useful to you in your daily life, as well as the emergencies you are most likely to encounter. As well as getting in a good mindset of never giving up and always learning ( this will come in later)

What type of person you are will partially dictate what you determine to be an emergency but for most people the true genuine emergency that most people will encounter is a medical emergency of some kind, whether trauma from a shooting, car wreck, a larger scale incident such as a natural disaster, a heart condition or someone having an allergic reaction at work.
One of the most useful skills you can acquire is medical training.

Another basic skill if you can call it that is your physical fitness. If you cant move your body around how will you get your self out of a situation if need be. Don’t forget in a real emergency no one is coming to help you it’s up to you. Get used to moving your body around. Even if this is all you do, you will be better off than most. Even in a fight, an untrained fit person stands better odds than untrained unfit person.

Next is a martial art of some kind. Now if you are really looking to fight I don’t believe you should stick to any one system as I have not found a system that is truly complete. Not all systems train weapons, not all train ground work and so on as well you might not be able to find the system you want at a convenient to you location.

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Threat assessment and Area Study Part 2

Once you have the area(s) figured out you need to identify What type of threats exist, It is up to you to understand your enemy (the threats) so that you can know how to best counter them Is it organized crime? Violent crime? Narcotics? corrupt government, terrorism etc. As well as which ones have the most impact on your time in the area.

There are many tools available to you that can be used to gauge and understand the threats in the area. Mainly being information. You can find much of this information online without leaving your desk. While you cannot find everything this way in many cases it will be a good place to start at the least.

Other good sources depending on if your in the area already is coworkers, neighbors, local workers or business owners, local law enforcement agencies, community networks, and of course Personal observation and situational awareness.

Once you’ve gathered as much research as you see fit, outline the various threats in your area, their tactics and techniques who the shot callers are if applicable etc.

Finally, you must determine the plausibility of becoming a victim or attempted victim of any of the threats in your area.

In short, analyze the information to predict what your enemy will do next. For instance if a serial killer only targets short blonde females, a large black haired male is not likely going to be targeted by them.

You can use historical trends, law enforcement reports, or personal research online to try and identify how your enemy (for instance violent crime) will act. Have they targeted innocent bystanders, targets of opportunity, or do they surveil the big fish targets?

Based on what you come up with from the analysis, determine possible actions they might take and how you could counter it.

be sure to identify the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How factors in order to produce the most specific profile of the threat you face. This will provide you with the info necessary to come up with a way to counter the threat (ideally).

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Threat assessment and Area Study Part 1

Don’t underestimate the power of information.

You need to understand the environment and threats in the area you are or will be in. Whether thats your home, hometown, work or when your traveling.

The first step is to identify the environment. In short you need to know your immediate situation and the various areas that your activities and needs will take you into. Where will you spend the majority of your time? What areas do you visit frequently, or work in most often? What information about these areas is available?

Take into account any factors in your area that could affect the way you go about your day to day, this could include. Geography, Terrain, Weather, Ethnic, religious, income, & age groups in the area, Political and socio-economic factors, Transportation systems and other infrastructure.

Next you must figure out how these factors could affect you. Identify any limitations or opportunities in the area. Where is the local police station? Are the police there straight or crooked? What’s the neighborhood like? Is it a safe area for criminals to operate? What is the weather typically like?

Is there more crime in certain times of the year (the summer months when everyone’s outside)? Is this crime generally located in a certain area? Is the public transportation safe and reliable? Do you need certain clothing, shoes, or gear for the terrain or weather of the area?

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Faraday bags

We are starting a series of posts covering surveillance/counter surveillance or offense and defense and the equipment used and thought of no better place to start than faraday bags.

Faraday bags are a very simple but important piece of defensive equipment that serves basically two purposes. Blocking signals from entering or escaping and device protection from outside EMFs.

They come in sizes ranging from small for your key fob for newer high end luxury cars to prevent cloning and car theft on up to full on back packs and suit cases for those needing to carry around lots of sensitive equipment. The most popular sizes though are for Phones, tablets, and laptops.

Faraday bags consist of a special fabric that blocks out 100% of wireless signals being either sent or received by what ever device you put in them. (or at least they should) you should always test your bags before you are needing to rely on them.

Some can also offer protection from EMP and other sources of EMFs that can damage your electronic devices if they are strong enough. This is where the protection category falls as well as they prevent anyone in the immediate area from connecting to your device, usually this is done over bluetooth.

They come in sizes ranging from small for your key fob for newer high end luxury cars to prevent cloning and car theft on up to full on back packs and suit cases for those needing to carry around lots of sensitive equipment. The most popular sizes though are for Phones, tablets, and laptops.

There are many reasons you will want to use a faraday bag/pouch. Ones of those cases would be….

Privacy. Placing your devices in a faraday bag cuts off and keeps anyone or thing from connecting to your device with out your knowledge. This applies if you want to avoid being GPS tracked by apps or having your phone or device wifi/blutooth hacked. Another privacy related reason is that cities are starting to place blu tooth tracking nodes through out the city to track “traffic patterns” or so they say. These nodes connect to any device that enters their range and logs the information. Even if this is for traffic patterns it would not surprise me if this is used to look up who was in an area at a certain time when law enforcement needs too. Or in relation to our previous post when a rouge employee wants to track their girlfriend

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When you go some where keep it to your self

The biggest home safety precaution you can take is to keep it to your self when your home will be unattended.

This means if your going on a trip don’t post it on social media until after your back. Especially don’t post specific dates or times prior to leaving and do not post pictures or anything about your trip until after you get back.

Making it known that you are gone is asking for something to happen to your house while you are.

Other precautions to take is not getting your Mail held or stopped but have some one you trust pick it up every day, especially if your mail box is at your house to keep up appearances and have them check on your house daily or better yet have them stay there and house sit but ONLY if you really trust them.

A house with mail or news paper piling up is a dead give away. Now if for what ever reason you don’t have any one you can trust it’s better to hold your mail than have it pile up. The only con is mail and newspaper staff have been caught giving their hold list to a criminal colleague to rob the house but it is a lesser occurring issue than a thief coming across a house with mail piling up.

Bailing out and GHBs

Could you drop everything leave your office/house/hotel room in less than a minute and still be operational or able to survive or conduct your everyday life if you had to?

Any skill takes practice, even escaping a situation. Have you ever tried to quickly pack the same day you needed to leave for a trip? Bailing out is the same concept just with an even shorter time frame.

The key is practice and some organization. Start by makeing sure that you keep your supplies or important items in a designated place when they are not in use so that you don’t have to search for them when you are in a hurry. Pre-stageing important equipment is also important and this is where what a lot of people call a go bag/get home bag comes in.

A go bag or Get home bag is a small bag that you have with you whether in the office or traveling(its contents can change depending on the situation but has enough to operate for about 24-48 hours) we will cover GHB use when traveling in a future post for some special considerations.

If something kicks off when you are in your away from home, in your office/on your drive home etc you can grab your bag and the majority of your necessities are covered to get you home. This frees up time to grab the loose items or additional items/equipment that you may need or that would be nice to have.

In your GHB/or Go bag we recommend some basic practices when ever possible and the more dangerous the area you’re in the more important these become. Keep in mind that your GHB is a supplement to your Every day carry which we will also cover in a separate post.

1 Use pouches, packing cubes and organizers to organize your bag internally so you only have to remove what you need and so your different equipment is easy to locate quickly.

2 only unpack what you need when you need it

Some recommendations for your GHB

The bag should be between roughly 10 liters and 27 liters with at least two separate compartments for organization and can be worn hands free.

The bag should not be brightly colored nor military patterned.

Now next time you have some free time put your self on 1min-30 sec clock and see if you can get what you need and get out the door before the alarm goes off

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Common Sense and Life Skills

Look around how many people do you see on an electronic device? How long do you think they could go with out one? How long could you? What about going other forms of technology in general?

As a society we are becoming so dependent on technology that most people have lost all common sense and are not able to function without some form of it with even the most basic of tasks.

If you need proof Look back at the news interviews from from the google black out or Texas “snowmageddon” black out or even just try to talk to a younger person or anyone these days in person and see how awkward that gets.

When google went down people couldn’t turn lights on in their own houses, or unlock their doors(I don’t know if they forgot you can unlock manually or if google locks don’t have a manual override).

If you try to talk to someone in person if they string a sentence together your luckiest than most. This was one of the biggest problems for law enforcement recruiting prior to 2020 because people cant communicate or function without a device or keyboard in front of them.

Now in Texas they were hit with snow, ice, and subzero temps knocking out the power for multiple days.

In the interviews from Texas you will hear stories of running out of food, food spoiling because they had no power, or having no access to water, no way to cook, no heat, The stories are becoming common place any time there is a new “catastrophe”

Now lets break that down for a moment, Subzero temps, and food is spoiling…. No water….. 5+ inches of snow out side, no way to cook….(Some had gas stoves, or grills) but all should have been able to make a fire.

You can make a fire to cook and melt snow to make water(But few know how to make a fire). If you have a gas stove you can still manually light it with out power. The farther generations get from a time when technology wasn’t everywhere our fridges weren’t “smart” and our lights weren’t connected to the internet, the worse this is going to get.

Now look at yourself and honestly answer can you survive with out your phone, can you start a fire, change a tire, be comfortable or not run out of food if you loose access to power or grocery stores for more than 48 hours.

If the answer to any of these questions is no then make it point to learn. No one thinks they will be stuck in a catastrophe “it can never happen to me” but it can and likely will happen to you on some scale at some point

Now if you answered Yes, Good, now make sure your family knows how too, especially your children. Teach them the basics life skills and how to keep them selves alive. They will not learn this stuff any where else.

For those that don’t know where to start here are some ideas or these may be some things that you just haven’t thought of…

-Starting a fire
For reasons above

-Melting snow/ice to make and treat water
Reason for this is obvious you need water to live

-Change a tire (even or especially your daughters)
This can keep them from having to rely on the good will of strangers and keep them from being preyed on by predators on the roadside.

-Basics of how a car works, what breaks and how you can fix it or what can be limped to safety
This can get them out of a dangerous situation if their car breaks down in the middle of no where as well as the same reason for changing a tire.

-Basic home skills
Breakers, shutting off water, shutting off gas etc in an emergency all of these can cause issues if the systems in your home are damaged.

-Corded land lines work with out power
Allows communications in times of emergency if you can find one(buy one now)

-Basics of first aide
They could save their own life or someone else’s

-Emergency signaling( especially with out power) mirrors, lights, sound, symbols
IF hey get lost or are caught in an emergency/catastrophe they will be able to signal to rescuers where they are.

Now for the people that are better off in this regard, on a day off put your phone in airplane mode and flip the main breaker in your box and go 24 hours without power(probably want to warn your loved ones your doing this) This will show you your weak spots and things that you didn’t think about.