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Situational Awareness – Part 2
I’ve talked about situational awareness before, but let’s dive in a little deeper and discuss other things you can do to help bolster your situational awareness. As with many of my blogs posts, this is for those who may not have any formal training or those who are looking to broaden their horizons. The purpose of these posts are to help get those just starting out to take the first steps in personal protection.
There are some key rules you should know when talking about personal protection, the biggest one pertains to those who legally carries firearms. Never go somewhere with a gun, you wouldn’t go without one. It really is a simple way to start looking at your surroundings. If you were unarmed, would you still feel confident and comfortable to go to that particular location? The example everyone uses is a dark alley in a big city that is dimly lit with large dumpsters on the walls concealing a ski-mask clad robber with a crowbar. Well truth be told, most of us probably aren’t living in a 1980’s New York murder mystery. But we do have strip malls that may not be well maintained or have abandoned shops in it. There are parts of parking lots that may have burned out lights that create a dark area at night. If you don’t feel comfortable parking your car in the area, you probably shouldn’t be there either.
The other BIG one is going to be hard for some of you to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway: get off your phone when walking or in unfamiliar areas. It’s hard for most of us to multi-task beyond walking and texting. Spending your time focusing on the tiny screen in front of you will make it nearly impossible to see what’s around you. You should be looking around and making brief eye-contact with people. I’m not suggesting staring everyone down to assert your dominance or looking over your shoulder every 15 seconds like a teenager who just shoplifted for the first time, but purposefully and naturally scanning the area for threats. A great game here is to look at people around you and identify people who are oblivious to their surroundings– the people absorbed in their twitter feed on their phone and have no idea what’s happening around them. As you look for those who are oblivious, make note of the people who aren’t staring at their phones. If those individuals are looking at you, glance by them with your eyes so they see you look at them. That short acknowledgement could be enough for some people to exclude you as a target because you saw them and could later identify them. Being vigilant in a small way can dissuade those from picking you as an easy target.
I know these two items seem overly simple and probably common sense, however, next time you are at Walmart look at how many people are lost in their own little worlds. Between their phones, grocery lists, and picking the perfect avocado many are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them or what to do if something did happen. Take the time to look around, maybe even identify alternate exits to avoid bottlenecks in the event of an incident. These are easy, free, small steps you can do to help better prepare and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Bug Out Bag Prep
Continuing National Preparedness month, we wanted to talk about bug-out bags. The bug-out bag should be something you can grab quickly that is already packed with gear and supplies. You can have multiple bags, depending on the needs and how long you expect to be away from your home. We’ve talked about them once before in our blog but we wanted to hit it again. The key to remember is that different situations, emergencies, and geographical location can change what’s in your bag. This post will cover our feelings of the basics, as well as resources for more in-depth information.
There are a lot of things to consider as you pack your bag. One key is to remember that the bag needs to be a fluid, evolving item. Not something you forget about in the back of your closet. It should be reviewed and upgraded as needed. For instance, as we are starting to get towards the fall, my bags are shifting to include more waterproof and cold weather gear. I am also switching my BBQ flavored MRE’s to Pumpkin Spiced ones. All joking aside, food is something you should pack and should be checking expiration dates periodically. These bags need to adapt to your changing environments and the hazards you expect to encounter.
There are tons of lists out there of items you “need” to have in your bag. I choose to have several bags, each packed for different scenarios. I have a 24-hour, 72-hour, and “Never come home” set of bags. Remember to pack for all members of the family as you think about these kits. Include pets and anyone nearby that may bug-out with you, that doesn’t live with you. Think parents, grown children, or kids that may not live with you full time. Here is my take on the minimum items you need to have in a 24-hour bugout bag for 1 person.
• Prescriptions for 3 days (just in case)
• Water (at least 1 gallon)
• Matches/Lighter/Fire Starter
• First Aid kit with tourniquet
• Protein bars/Trail Mix/High Calorie food that tastes good
• Clothes: extra shirt, underwear, and socks
• Flashlight and batteries
• Emergency blanket/sleeping bag
• Moist towelettes/hand sanitizer
Again, there are tons of lists out there to help guide your decision on what you could add. This is not meant to be an all encompassing list, but a place to start for someone who has never tried. There is a lot more in my back including money, extra ammo, and solar charger. But what I pack may not meet what you need. I pack ammo for protection and hunting, you may be in an urban setting where hunting isn’t feasible. Make decisions that are best for you and your family. If you are packing a 24-hour bag, pack comfort food that people will enjoy, your family may already be upset and scared. Goldfish and cheez-its in a time in uncertainty can make a difference.
I am going to sound like a broken record here but Google searches, Ready.gov, and Superesse Straps are great resources as you decide how to build your own bags. Google and Read.gov will give you the free minimum items that most everyday people could use. Superesse Straps takes those lists and puts them into another level, making sure that you are truly prepared. Whatever you chose to do, don’t put it on your “honey-do” list. Get off your phone or computer and go do it. Talking about it does no good if you aren’t prepared when all hell breaks lose, or SHTF.
Bored and Sheltering in Place
Like many of you, we have been sheltered in place for what feels like several months now. During this time a lot of people have been complaining that they haven’t been able to go to the range or practice. Which is bizarre to me, because 80% of my practice happens at home already! I use my range time to confirm what I’ve been doing at home is working. So, with that in mind, here are a few things you can do at home to keep training.
Everything is built on dry firing. As always, make sure your gun is safe. MAKE VERY SURE! You are in the house with your family, triple check the gun! Getting familiar with your pistol on an intimate level doesn’t need fancy lasers. You can practice reloading, drawing from concealment, and more from your couch. One thing I like to do is to give myself a target to react to on TV. For instance, anytime I see a TV, or a plate, or a car while watching a show I need to draw from concealment and dry fire on the target before its back off screen. You will find this is harder than you imagine because those kinds of images are usually only on screen for a second or 2 in the background. But those quick targets can really help push you.
There are a huge amount of options from laser cartridges, SIRT practice pistols, and targets, like those from Laserlyte, that you can use to do more interactive drills. These are active feedback systems where you aim, and fire and it gives you immediate feedback. Depending on the system it could be timing you or showing your groupings. Now these systems can get expensive, going upwards of $150 for home use. There are also bigger and more complex systems like those from LASR that use virtual courses of fire.
Another great option is to give yourself a course of fire or a drill to do. For instance, you need to get out of bed and run to the front door, turn and dry fire on 3 predetermined targets in your house. Or you can set up a bunch of cups at varying distances and dry fire on them in a certain order, kind of like a memory game. All of our phones have timers on them so you can add a level of increased pressure the more you do these kinds of drills.
Just because we are stuck at home, doesn’t mean our skills need to atrophy. Take the time, 5 minutes a day, to do some training. Assemble and disassemble the gun without looking, practice reloading without looking, or do some of these dry fire exercise. And again, I can’t stress this enough, make sure the gun is unloaded before you start pulling the trigger in your home! We have all been given the luxury of time at home to train and be better than we were yesterday. Stay safe and keep training.
Spikes Tactical Partner
Safety Reloaded is continuing to grow our business and our partnerships. Today we get to announce that we are now carrying the full line of Spikes Tactical. This includes stripped lowers, completed rifles, uppers, parts kits, and the awesome HAVOC series. Spikes Tactical is a leader in AR equipment and rifles. They provide quality products for 3-gun shooters, professionals, hunters, and enthusiast. Check out our firearms section for a small selection of their catalog. If there is something you are looking for and don’t see it on our site, shoot us an email and we will get you the info.
N95 Facemasks and How to Make Your Own
As the guidance for COVID-19 continues to shift and evolve, there’s a lot of talk about N95 face masks and the need for them. I want to clarify some information that some people may not fully understand. There are differences between an N95, surgical mask, and cloth face masks. Below there is a link to how to make your own and an info-graphic on the differences of these masks.
An N95 is a type of respirator that has been tested, evaluated, and approved by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The testing is designed to ensure the mask filters 95% of large and small particulates. It is tight fitting and needs to be adjusted properly to ensure minimal leakage around the edges when a user inhale. These were designed to protect workers from non-oil aerosols and droplets. They can be re-worn, although ideally discarded as frequently as practicable.
A surgical mask is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not a respirator and do not have a tight fit. They allow air to leak around the edges when the user inhales. They do need to be properly worn per instructions to offer the best protection. These are designed to be fluid resistant and provide against large droplets or splashes from bodily fluids. These are also designed to be disposable or laundered in some cases. They offer protection for both the wearer and those around them.
A cloth face mask, homemade masks, bandannas, and other improvised coverings are not typically tested or approved. There isn’t much info on the efficiency or protection offered by these. However, they do offer protection. They do stop a certain level of droplets and some aerosols from entering your respiratory system when properly worn. They should be worn covering both the mouth and nose and not removed until you are away from any hazard. They can be made at home and even include some filters. If they are re-usable, they should be washed frequently and dried in the sun.
If you decide to wear a face mask, it’s important to wear it properly and follow CDC and manufacturer’s instructions. Wear them when advised by your doctor, or before there is a hazard present. For instance, put the mask on before you get out of your car to go to the grocery store. Leave the mask in place until you are away from the hazard, i.e. back in the car. Do not remove the mask to talk to people, or on the phone, or sample the grapes. Anytime you remove the mask you could be putting yourself and others at risk.
We are in uncertain times, but we all need to do our part and stay home as much as possible. Allow elderly and parents of young children first option on necessities. And if you have any spare N95 masks, please donate them to your local healthcare providers. There is a huge shortage to keep them safe, and if they get sick, we are all screwed! Below is a link to the CDC guidelines on properly wearing a face mask, as well as how to make your own. Be safe everyone and if you don’t need to go out, don’t go out.
If you are not a seamstress you may have found the link above useless. With that in mind, for those of us with less than an ideal sewing aptitude, or those looking for other ways to make face masks, let me introduce you to HappyDIYHome.com. They put out a post that has 5 alternatives to creating a face masks, 2 of which that don’t require any sewing! Link HERE. I hate to admit it, but the idea of making a face mask out of a T-shirt never occurred to me. Most of us probably have an old favorite shirt we are still holding onto, thinking one day we will fit back in it. This may be a great time to “up-cycle” it into a functional face covering.
Our BIG Announcement Revealed
We teased a few weeks back that there were some big changes coming that limited our visibility on social media and our blog. So, as some of you have seen, I am officially announcing that Safety Reloaded is a licensed FFL in Lawrenceburg, KY. We can buy, sell, and special-order firearms as well as facilitate transfers. We will primarily be focusing on special orders rifles and pistols but will maintain a stock of new and used firearms on our website.
We are already set-up with several ammunition suppliers including Minuteman, Howell Munitions, and we are working with a frangible training munitions vendor to further enhance some of our classes. We are continuing to build partnerships within our community and have found a great range locally that will help grow our capabilities. Lastly, and one we are very proud of, we are an approved Bravo Concealment Holsters vendor! All of these will begin to start showing up on our website as well.
Our passion is still training and serving the community to better prepare families, churches, and businesses for whatever is thrown at them. We believe expanding the business to include sales of firearms and equipment is a logical step that continues our mission. We will continue to partner with other great groups and provide you the best firearms accessories and equipment we can.
Even with this new growth, we are not immune to the pandemic in our country. Given the current climate, we will only be open by appointment until further notice to pick-up or look at our firearms inventory. All on-line orders will be sent out as soon as possible, but we ask for your patience as we continue to work through the same challenges as all of you.
Canceling Training Classes
In accordance with CDC and WHO guidance, we are suspending all training classes until May 1st. We will re-evaluate the situation at that time and make further recommendations. Discontinuing training will help our nation’s urgent need to maintain social distancing, limit COVID-19 spread, and decrease the burden on overtaxed hospitals; thereby preserving their ability to provide healthcare for everyone. Training remains an important priority at Safety Reloaded, and we do not make this recommendation lightly.
We are also an FFL and will continue to sell firearms, holsters, and ammo during this time. We find that service to be a critical need during this time, so we will not stop. However, to comply with social distancing we will be by appointment only. Please, email us at Info@safetyreloaded.org.
We, at Safety Reloaded remain committed to serving the community. Thank you for your patience and support during this trying time.
What if I contract COVID-19?
What should I do if I get the Coronavirus? It’s a question I haven’t heard enough people ask. We’ve all heard what to do to prevent the spread: social distancing, hand washing, etc. But what should you do if you actually come down with Coronavirus? Below is the best medical advice out there right now from doctors and nurses.
What should you have stocked at the house ahead of time? Tissues, Acetaminophen/Tylenol, Ibuprofen/Advil, Mucinex, Robitussin or DayQuil/NyQuil, or whatever your preference of flu medicine is. A a humidifier is a plus. If you have a history of asthma and you have a prescription inhaler, make sure the one you have isn’t expired and refill it. Prepare as though you know you’re going to get bronchitis or pneumonia.
A fever over 101: Alternate Tylenol and Advil dosing every 3 hours. Use Mucinex. Don’t suppress your cough… you want to loosen chest, get that mucus out. Keep hydrating; electrolyte type drinks, half and half with water. Rest lots. If you’re sick, do not leave your house except to go to the doctor, and if you do, wear a mask. You don’t need to go to the ER unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is high and unmanaged with medication.
Most healthy adult cases have been managed at home with rest/hydration/over-the-counter meds. The hospital beds will be used for people who need oxygen/breathing treatments/IV fluids. One major relief to you parents is that kids do okay with coronavirus— they usually bounce back in a few days, no one under 18 has died. Just use pediatric dosing of the same meds. For those with heart or lung conditions, diabetes, or compromised immune systems, you need to take additional precautions. Contact your primary care physician for more guidance for your specific conditions.
The beginning of 2020 has been incredibly trying already and the prolific COVID-19 virus that continues to wreak havoc. Below is a concise info-graphic about symptoms, spread, and prevention. There is a lot of info being flooded into your home from every social media and news outlet. A lot of it is fear mongering, however that doesn’t mean this virus is harmless either.
Here are some of the key facts. The mortality rate according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is 3-4%. Which roughly means 3 or 4 people out of every 100 people who contract this virus will pass away. It is most severe for those above 60, anyone with an already compromised immune system, those with heart or lung conditions, and those with diabetes. For the rest of us, 80% of cases are represented as mild with symptoms last about 2 weeks. But remember, there is up to a 14 day window before you are symptomatic that you can spread this virus to others, which is why it has been so hard to detect early on.
The key with this is educating people about symptoms, communicating with your doctor, and self-quarantining. Wash your hands often and well. It takes at least 20 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water to effective clean them. If you are using an alcohol based hand sanitizer, you need to rub your hands together until they are dry for it to be effective. Clean common areas frequently, such as door handles. If you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your elbow or shoulder. If you feel bad, stay home and don’t risk infecting others.
For more info on Coronavirus, check out the CDC website.