Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Got Insurance?

As promised I've been nothing but sporadic with regards to my postings of late...bear with me, I'm in the middle of moving and will be in limbo until I find my new place.

Thought I'd grab a moment in between loading up boxes of stuff to mention the need for renter's insurance for any readers who rent their digs as opposed to own them.

One of my students, who ironically enough is an insurance agent, was burgled two days ago while he and his room mate were at work. They assumed their landlord carried insurance against just that type of things and he was stunned to find out that's not the case.

Landlords will almost always carry property insurance against the possibility their tenants will inadvertently burn the place down but they never carry coverage for their tenants belongings. As Dan found out the hard way, that falls squarely on the shoulders of the tenant.

The great thing about it is it's cheap. I insured all my stuff (including a $7,000 Rolex) for about $125 for an entire year while renting a place, which covers against fire/flood damage and burglary etc. If you haven't got it, get it and save yourself the headache.

By the way, I have a great referral for any US readers who fall into the tenants without insurance me and I'll send you the link to the people I use for all my insurance needs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Memphis TN

Just returned from Memphis TN where I was part of a program for SunTrust Bank speaking to local female business owners on the subject of personal protection.

The other speakers were brilliant, Alan - one of the bank's security specialists - talked about the common Internet scams and Kerry - a female US Secret Service Agent - talked about the ramifications of ID theft.

In the next couple of posts, spotty though they may be, I'll go over some of their stuff as it's always good to know. Also, given the huge amount of people who fall victim to both the Internet scams and ID theft, it's obviously good stuff for everyone to take to heart.

A quick tip that I was going to write about the other day, before it slipped my mind, is that if you carry a wallet, slip a large rubber/elastic band around it if you keep it in your back pocket. It snags just enough that it makes it incredibly hard for a pickpocket to lift it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Convenience Again

In my last post I talked about the three enemies of self protection being ego, complacency and convenience.

Yesterday I was at the local mall and I saw a woman putting her toddler in the kids seat in the back of the car. Her pocket book/purse was on the roof of the car, she was bent over inside and totally absorbed with the job of getting her kid strapped in. Had I been a criminal it would have been so easy, given the fact she was so task-fixated, to attack her, or swipe her bag.

The proper way to do that is to get in the car on the opposite side of the child safety seat and lock the doors while you strap in your child. Then get back out and walk round to the driver's side and leave.

Now, how often do you see anyone doing that? Almost never, because it's not convenient.

Criminals are counting on that so I guess it depends whether you want to deal with the inconvenience of the few extra seconds it takes to do it the right way, or the inconvenience of being a victim of serious criminal assault.

PS: Sorry for the spottiness of the posts...have some major personal and business things going on right now which should be resolved in the next few weeks then it will be back to a regular posting schedule.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Our Three Worst Enemies

We're usually our own worst enemy when it comes to self protection and that's because we know the bad guys are there but we don't do enough about it.

I suppose it's human nature...look at how many people are overweight. They know they are, they know it's bad for them, and they know what they need to do to correct the problem but they don't. Usually it takes a monumental event such as a mild heart attack to wake them up, just as it takes a neighbor being attacked to make them realize the need for some self protection training.

With that in mind I started reflecting on some of my training when I was learning to be a body guard. The big three enemies in executive protection (and self protection) we learned are Ego, Complacency and Convenience.

Ego says "I don't need to learn that stuff. I can handle myself.
Complacency says "It hasn't happened to me yet, so it's not going to"
Convenience says "I know I'm supposed to - fill in the blank - but it's too much work."

Just as we had to check ourselves every day on executive protection teams against those three so must anyone who's serious about not becoming a victim of a violent human predator.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Get Back

Time and time again I see motorists drive into parking spaces nose first...and then back out. From a self protection view point that's disastrous.

When you arrive somewhere such as the movies or stores you generally have time to back the car into a space i.e there isn't an emergency (or you wouldn't be going to either of those locales)

The emergency, if it comes, will be when you are out and about on regular business and, if it's like most emergencies, every second will count. That's not the time to run to your car and struggle with backing it out.

If it's nose out already, leaving in a hurry will be a breeze.

Secondly, if you go in nose first and are followed to your car the open driver's side door forces you in to what I call "the fatal funnel." You turn to see someone approaching you from behind and there's nowhere to go but into the car. If you'd been nose out you'll have the door between you and the bad guy which gives you options and a barrier of sorts.

We'll cover another trick regarding the door tomorrow but in the meantime, get into the practice of backing in to parking spaces.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Your Fired...

Most people by now have heard the advice about counting the doors from your hotel room to the fire exit. That's because in the event of a fire most of the hallway will be filled with dense smoke and the only clear area will be about 30 inches down on the floor.

The smoke will obscure the exit signs so your only recourse will be to crawl along the floor counting doors until you arrive at your exit door.

Well, here's some more advice for you concerning hotel fires right out of the body guarding play book...

1. Check out the location of the fire extinguishers on your floor

2. Determine what type of fire they'll put out

3. Look at the card that should be on the handle and check when it was last serviced

4. Look at the gauge and make sure it's fully charged.

5. Familiarize yourself with its operation (some work upside down for example)

This will ensure you don't experience such a snafu as to grab an extinguisher that doesn't work, blows up in your hands, isn't there or doesn't work on the sort of fire you have.

Most people do none of the above but the day you're in a hotel and there is a fire (and it happens more often than you think) you'll be glad you did.

PS: This goes for your place of work as well

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

S.I.V.A. Cont

Sorry for the break in transmission...I was just in Florida teaching a two day seminar on target hardening and awareness and avoidance strategies for a group of personal development coaches et al.

The last letter in S.I.V.A. simply stands for "assault" or "attack." If the criminal has chosen you, isolated you and then determined by process of the interview that you are suitable prey the attack will come next.

Typically, in an all out criminal assault such as a rape, a mugging etc, this attack will be in the form of an ambush. In other words, his dialogue during the interview process will be innocuous and designed to put you off guard and the attack will come out of the blue.

In a bar scenario when some drunken clown has singled you out to pick on (and gone through the same steps as above) the verbal portion of the program may go on for some time (with some tit for tat exchange happening) before the assault begins which then becomes the "brewing" form of assault or one in which you had some inkling it was coming.

The purpose of learning S.I.V.A. is that it teaches you to avoid being selected in the first place by lowering your profile, or changing it (more on that at some time in the future); it alerts you to the fact you might be being followed anytime you leave the safety of numbers and to use some counter surveillance measures to detect that happening; and, to recognize seemingly innocuous conversation by a stranger may be the precursor to an attack and to be on your guard.

If you can do that you can change the intended assault from an ambush to one that is brewing by recognizing the signals in advance and, as has been mentioned before, a brewing situation is a lot easier to get out of than an ambush.