Situational Awareness is a key prepping skill.

Most preppers understand that skills are more important that stuff.  But which skills are the important ones?  Situational Awareness specifically is one of the key skills that you can develop as a prepper that could potentially save your life.

What is situational Awareness?

For the purposes of prepping and disaster readiness you can define situational awareness as understanding of your current situation and predicting how it may change.  In scientific circles it is broken down into 3 progressing levels: Perception, Comprehension and Projection. Perception is simply being aware of your environment. Comprehension is understanding your environment and what is shaping it.  Projection is determining what happens next.  We should all aim for the highest level of situational awareness in disaster situations.

The highest level of situational awareness is predicting what will happen next. Click To Tweet

Although you’ve probably never put a name to it you are likely already using situational awareness regularly.  A good example is if you have ever been driving along and just knew another driver was going to cut you off before it happened.  This is an example of Projection and the more experience you have with driving and the more you pay attention when you drive the more likely this is to happen.

How is situational awareness useful?

The advantage of situational awareness at the highest level is that it could give you a head start on any situation.  It allows you to start reacting before a specific situation starts to play out and this can make all the difference.  Lacking situational awareness on the other hand is a primary factor in accidents attributed to human error.  Simply said people that are not paying attention or not understanding what they see are more prone to screwing things up.

This skill is not limited to observing people either.  If for example you are cutting down a tree with a chainsaw have you taken a moment to look around and be aware of your surroundings?  Are you on level ground? Is there wind and if yes in what direction? Are there other people around?  Is the tree dead or diseased?  Where will the tree fall if cut a specific way?  Taking the time to notice and understand these things can make a big difference to your safety and to the safety of people around you.

How do you improve situational awareness?
The first step to improving situational awareness is looking up from your phone. Click To Tweet

The first and most important things is to take the time to observe your environment regularly.  Become more aware of your surroundings.  If you would normally be staring at your phone take a break to look around, become aware of what is occurring around you and try and figure out what will happen next.

Always be on the lookout for things that aren’t normal or seem wrong.  Is someone’s behavior off somehow or are they acting inappropriately to the place or situation they are in?  Are they somehow uncomfortable?  Ask yourself why.

Get comfortable with your tools and how to use them.  The more comfortable you are with them the more awareness you can maintain of your surroundings while using them.  Don’t get too focused.

Understand your current head space and how it’s effecting your perception and judgement.  Are you hungry or tired?  Could this be reducing your awareness or pushing you towards incorrect assumptions?

 

Interested in learning more about situational awareness and how to improve check the links below:

Do you know of other good blogs or articles about situational awareness?  Let me know!

 

Stay Safe

Prepper Montreal

What’s your #prepping communications plan?

Communication is a hugely important and often overlooked part of prepping.  Even for “Minor” emergencies an effective communications plan can be the difference between chaos and order or even life and death.  This post will therefore provide a framework for creating effective communication plans.

I deal with this subject in three different sections.  How to prepare before the emergency, how to find out about the emergency and how to communicate during an emergency.

Communications Preparation
A key part of communications #Prepping is actually having a plan Click To Tweet

This may seem silly but this is something you should think out and prepare ahead.  It will mean that when things go bad you know exactly what to do.  You may even want to have a list of steps that you can simply follow.  That way you don’t need to think about it or can hand this off as a task to someone else.  A few things to consider if you are starting to put together a plan:

  • Who do you contact?
  • Are you giving a heads up or expecting action?
  • What will you expect from them?
  • Do they understand your expectations?
  • How will you contact them?
    Consider text message as your go-to.  It uses less bandwidth and is more likely to get through when the cell system is likely to be strained.  Creating a text group ahead of time is a good idea.  Something online like WhatsApp might also be a good option.

In addition to having a plan there are a few others things you should do:

  • Ensure you have ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts on your phone and that they are accessible without unlocking your phone.
  • Keep your phone charged and keep a spare battery charged.
  • If you will be travelling ensure that you know what the local emergency numbers are (911 in North America, 999 in the UK, 112 in the EU, etc.)
Emergency Awareness
Ensuring you are aware of emergencies as they occur is key in #prepping Click To Tweet

Frequently overlooked this section is vitally important to ensure yourself the best possible head start should things start going wrong.  If everyone else around you knows things have suddenly gone bad and you don’t this is a huge disadvantage.

As a Canadian I cannot overemphasize the importance of installing the Weather Network App.  The reason is that this is the only app that officially supports the Alert Ready network and is the only way for you to be alerted on your smartphone.

This however should not be your only option.  You should also consider having a radio setup to broadcast any alerts as soon as they arrive.  This can either be through a dedicated alert channel or by tuning that radio into one of the official NPAS stations. In addition to those measures I also follow several local emergency twitter accounts (in a list) to ensure that I can immediately get more details as soon as I find out something is wrong.

Communication during an Emergency
Situational awareness and inter group communication are key during emergencies. Click To Tweet

Things have definitely gone wrong now.  You have sent out your first round of communication as detailed above and need to establish a more sustainable infrastructure for communications.

Keeping awareness is important.  You will need to have some form of radio which can be charged easily.  Crank and solar options are quite plentiful.  This will be a key way to keep yourself informed as things continue to evolve.

Inter group communication is also important.  Having some method of communicating with the rest of your group or team when you might be separated will be important to ensuring your mutual safety.  A portable hand-held radio can be a great option for this.  There are options out there like Firechat which will allow you to communicate without a grid in place however they are currently quite limited due to lack of adoption and technological limitations.

For longer term and great distance communication it may be a good idea to get familiar with CB Communication.  There are many resources out there who are better prepared to get you up to speed on this.

The Catastrophic or End of World level of preparation for all of this is to keep your technology stored in a Faraday cage.  It is very unlikely this will be needed but if you are storing them out of the way already then it probably won’t take much time or effort.

That’s all I have for now.  Can you see anything I’ve missed?  If so give me a shout out in the comments below!

Stay Safe!

PrepperMTL

Your style choices will kill you.

Please share!

What you wear out in winter could really hurt you. Follow one simple rule to stay safe.


Please share!

It’s undeniably and unequivocally winter here in Montreal.  On bad days there is snow halfway up to your knees or a slushy slurry of snow and near frozen water that could very quickly result in frostbite or worse.

..and yet I still see people making fashion choices that could potentially kill them.  The worst offenders are often a complete and total disaster but many others could still do a lot to keep themselves safer.

The way I see it there is one basic rule of thumb that could save your life when leaving the house in winter.

Winter Prepping: Could you walk home in that? If not then you are endangering yourself! Click To Tweet
Let’s start this discussion from the bottom up as usually that is the most frequent and blattant offense (especially for women).  Appropriate footwear is an absolute must in winter.  You never know when you may need to walk outside or how far you will need to go.  Sure the sidewalk might be fine right now but if it really starts to come down how are you going to fare with what is on your feet.  At the very least you need something that is warm and waterproof.  The higher the boot the better to keep snow out and yourself warm. Most people won’t want to wear winter boots wherever they are headed so just bring a change of shoes.  No real Montrealler will fault you and most bars will have a coat check or something similar that will accept your boots.

Next top offender is the jacket.  No matter how fashionable you think it looks, if you are shivering you look like an idiot.  The secret here is proper layering.  You don’t need a jacket good to -60 C but you do need layers that will see you through at least 10 C lower than forecast.  Take the layers off when you get where you are going and use the to moderate your body temperature on the way.  Everyone will still be able to see your expensive coat and you can stay warm and safe.  Try and remember when you first try it on you need some room to layer.  In this case something longer is also better.

Third are a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens.  Your fingers and ears are among the parts most likely to suffer frostbite.  A good hat or tuque needs to cover your ears completely.  Warm and waterproof gloves are also essential and dependant how cold it is you may want to layer here as well and keep a thin pair inside a larger outer pair. The scarf is necessary so that you can cover most of your face if the wind is blowing.

Next I would suggest a quick review of your EDC (Every Day Carry).  Personally I keep several extra things in my primary winter coat including:

  • Extra cash in case I really need a taxi
  • Hand/Foot warmers
  • Kleenex/Facial tissue
  • An extra flashlight

Although not stritly a clothing choice being informed about upcoming weather can also be key.  I never put all my faith in the weatherman knowing it’s an inexact science, but I do still check for any weather warning signs.  Freezing rain, snowstorms and extreme cold can be very dangerous and should be treated with respect.

None of this is rocket science but it is the uncommonly found ‘common sense’.  You simply never know when things could go bad so you try and make sure you are as prepared as possible.

Winter Prep: When leaving the house ask yourself. Could I walk home in this? Click To Tweet

Stay Safe!

Prepper Montreal