Sunday, 21 April 2019

Book Signing: The Saga of Eagles & Wolves: The Defenders of Dolpheim at Chapter's Chinook 16 Mar 2019

Exchanging Signed Copies!! 
On the 16th of March 2019, I met up with Bruce Nickel, the author of The Saga of Eagles & Wolves: The Defenders of Dolpheim at Chapter's Bookstore in Chinook Mall, Calgary, AB to support his book signing.

Bruce and I have known each other from our service days in the PPCLI, 1st Bn based at CFB Calgary, before we shipped out to keep the peace in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. I was very impressed when I learned that Bruce had written a book and I purchased a copy for my eReader right away. It was a great read. (Here is the review of Bruce's book I posted on Mountainman's Mantra: barbarians-kicking-roman-legion-ass

When I learned Bruce was having a book signing, I wanted to visit, show my support and exchange signed books that we had discussed doing previously. See pictures below.

I know Bruce's book will be very successful and I eagerly await the next chapter in the saga to be published and released.

Thanks, Bruce, I will treasure my signed copy. 


PS - Support Your Local Authors, Buy a Book!!

Signing The GOOD Plan for Bruce

Bruce Signing a copy of The Defenders of Dolpheim

To Success!! Cheers!!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Open House Success for The GOOD Plan

The GOOD Plan at Briden Solutions Open House
It was a cool, damp Autumn morning when we arrived at Briden Solutions, West of Calgary for their open house on the 15th of September 2018. I was given a choice setup location between Mobile Escape - escape rooms trailer and the food truck. I was in the right spot to grab the attention of everyone coming outside for their free lunch.

I setup a basic BOV (bugout vehicle) display, incorporating my tarp awning, collapsible table, camp stove and pot set. I had my hobo bed setup inside the BOV and I had the dash covered in copies of The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge. I also unfurled my new banners for the first time. (I think they look good.)

 Needing to leave the path clear to the food truck I used the second set of grommets on the tarp to shorten it and also provide a bit more side cover to stove setup under the tarp. The tarp awning is very versatile. I also improvised with the pallets, thus not damaging the tarmac will large spikes. Emergency preparedness is all about assessing the situation & improvising a solution. 
While inside for a few minutes I picked up a few items for my pantry. Mountain House Chicken & Rice (a family favourite), Teriyaki Chicken  & Rice (new flavour for us) and Peak Refuel Chicken Alfredo. The new Peak Refuel line of food products were the star of Briden Solutions Open House. They has rep onsite and were preparing and sampling all their products. I sampled the Chicken Alfredo and was very impressed. There was no lack of flavour nor a lack of meat. Many companies would go heavy on the noodles and have a few bits of chicken or chicken flavoured TVP(textured vegetable protein). Peak Refuel prides themselves on only using real meat. The meals cost more, however, you are getting more. So if you want to be surviving with meals close to home cookin', add a few #10 cans of Peak Refuel to augment your emergency ration pantry. Store what you eat, eat what you store. For a price comparison the #10 can of Mountain House Teriyaki Chicken & Rice is about $38 a can, while Peak Refuel Chicken Alfredo is about $74 a can. Both of these are good to eat, even when it is not an emergency. They both store for up to 25 years and come with plastic lids to seal the can once opened. Even if you have rice & beans as your family main stay, every once in a while you will want to reward good behaviour with a change of meals. Peak Refuel will fill this properly.

New Banner
As I spend most of my time out near my BOV display I did not get to see everybody who arrived, however, the lineup for lunch was steady and well populated. I did manage to sell a copy of The GOOD Plan and one was earned as a prize. Would have sold two if the prize winner hadn't just purchased a copy. 

Thanks again, Dwight, it was great coming out to your shop and helping you, helping others to be more prepared.

Until next time......stay connected with your supplier!!


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Briden Solutions Open House 15 Sep 2018

Open House Poster
Folks, sorry for the short notice. I have had some technical issues here, which will hopefully be corrected today.

More importantly, we need you to RSVP to Briden Solutions to let them know you will be attending their open house on the 15th of September, 2018 from 1000 - 1400. (See poster to the left for more details.)

Dwight Briden and his company has been supporting the emergency preparedness community for many years, as both a business and as a place to gather more knowledge. If you need a local source for long term storage food items that have up to a 25 year shelf life, Briden Solutions is the place for you. If you need water storage solutions or filtration options, they have those as well. Visit their website ( ) to learn more about what you can get locally. 

An open house event like this is also a great place to meet other like-minded persons who share an understanding about the need for being prepared. When the emergency preparedness community gets together a lot can be achieved - from learning new skills to meeting new friends.

So, I hope to see you there!

Until next local business
& your emergency preparedness community!


PS - Copies of my book, The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge, will be available at this event. Autographs, too. Limited number of copies will be on hand.

PPS - Yes, this was copied from Mountainman's Mantra, with permission. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Combating Crime In Rural Alberta, A Hypothetical Solution

What can landowners do when targeted by criminals?? The current situation has landowners trapped by a justice system with a victim mentality and a legal system that coddles & protects criminals. The solution required needs to resonate with the offenders, that rural crime is too costly to consider. Let's explore this subject into hypotheticals the RCMP & provincial government representatives would not risk discussing. I am a former soldier. I think like a soldier and I solve problems like a soldier. Please, consult legal counsel before acting on any suggestion(s) given in this article.

We have to approach fighting crime like we would fight a fire. We fight fire hard & fast. We have a fire fighting plan. We mitigate fire hazards. Upon discovery of fire we call for help (9-1-1). We attack the flames with all available tools/resources. Our neighbours come & help. We knock down the fire before it can spread & injure any people or livestock. We do not stop until the fire is completely extinguished. And flare ups are hosed down until extinct. We do not limit our actions to calling 9-1-1 & then sit & wait for the Fire Department to arrive. Nor do we only use an A-B-C Extinguisher. We use every possible fire fighting tool at our disposal – pumps, hoses, sprinklers, axes, shovels, tractors with plows or harrows, dirt, mud, dry chemical extinguishers, fire fighting foam, etc.....if we got it, we use it.

So, why can we not treat crime with the same solution?? Why does the legal system favour the offender?? Why do the police want me & my family to call, then hide?? Why am I the bad guy if I stop the offender(s) from completing their criminal act(s)?? What can a landowner do when targeted by criminals??

Here are the basics of what you can do:

  1. Create layers & property hardening ( Link:
  2. Put up signage
  3. Create an active network of neighbours/Build a community
  4. Setup a system of communications/sensors/CCTV/video/alarm(s)
  5. Create a safe, defendable position. Think – bunker.
  6. Create a set of Rules of Engagement

Sample: Rules of Engagement
  1. Call 9-1-1
  2. Circle the wagons/Gather your family
  3. Ensure recording devices are actively recording
  4. Give verbal orders via PA system or loud hailer
  5. Activate Network – Call Neighbour(s) for help
  6. Prepare to defend family/self (Do you fear for the lives of your family?)
  7. Occupy your stronghold – get your family in the safe place
  8. If invaders are not satisfied with your stuff outside, use all necessary force to prevent your family/self from being harmed
  9. Threats must be neutralized to be sure they do not present a risk/threat to your safety or your family's safety
  10. Have fire fighting equipment. In case invaders set fire to your property
  11. Have first aid equipment. In case you or your family gets injured
  12. Pray the calvary arrives in time
  13. WIN THE FIGHT!!!
  14. Gather as many witnesses to your property as possible
  15. Cooperate with law enforcement
  16. Stay together

As I stated at the beginning, I am a former soldier. I think like a soldier. I solve problems like a soldier. So, here is a soldier's hypothetical solution.

  1. Identify The Threat. Who is doing the crime?? Independent, low level thugs?? Small unit gangs working for a criminal organization (the mob)?? Specialized units of a criminal organization?? Or a government unit??
  2. Change The Rules. Favour the law-abiding landowners. Label organized crime as domestic terrorists. Treat threats as a military target.
  3. Declare War On Domestic Terrorism. Including all known terrorist groups. Including all known criminal  organizations. Include rogue units/elements – a catch-all for independent criminals.
  4. Engage Threats & Neutralize. Organize a rural militia/reserve army unit. Establish Rules of Engagement. Declare “No Go” zones for Organized Crime. Identify, engage & destroy organized crime units inside the “No Go” zone. Coordinate intelligence between civilians, police & military.
  5. Stand Down Operation. Once rural crime has been suppressed, stand down the military operation. Return to civil police jurisdiction.

Although, I personally favour a black & white solution, like the soldier solution; we must work together to establish a middle solution. Something between the victim model on one extreme and total war on the other extreme. How do we get tough on crime inside our current system?? Is it even possible?? If a solution inside the current system is determined as not possible, we may need a solution that is outside the system.

To sum up. Rural crime impacts all of us. The solution includes working together, hardening our properties, having a plan and making rural crime too costly for criminals to commit. In these politically correct times, I am not allowed to suggest the old solution for cattle rustling – Tall trees, Short ropes & shaky milking stools.

Stay safe out there.


Sunday, 25 March 2018

Rural Crime in Alberta - A Layered Security Defence

The Foothills Rural Crime Watch Association will be hosting their 2018 Annual General Meeting in High River, Alberta at 1900hrs in the I.O.O.F. Hall. This meeting is open to all residents in the local area. 

In anticipation of this meeting, I have prepared a small brochure on basic security layers that can be adapted to meet the needs of ranchers, farmers and rural acreage owners. In fact, these security layers work for all situations. The more layers of security you apply around what you cherish the most, the longer and tougher it will be for the bad guys to get what you have. It may even discourage lazy criminals from even trying.

A free copy can be downloaded for personal use from the SATAS Co website on the resources page. Here is the link:

Layered Security Approach

Defined Perimeter


Clear Lines of Sight

Proper Lighting

Gates / Access Control Points

Early Warning Devices

Locks & Keys (& Their Control)

CCTV / Video Surveillance

Inner Perimeter Fence

Designated Purpose Areas / Buildings (Compartmentalize & Isolate)

Doors & Locks


Policy, Procedure & Plans

Security Force

Communications & Network

Defined Perimeter:

The entire outer perimeter of the property needs to be defined to show ownership. Traditionally, this is achieved with a perimeter fence. In the context of a rural acreage, farm or ranch this can be achieved with a simple fence line – post & rail, barbed-wire or page wire. Under most situations this outer line of defence is too cost prohibitive to make secure. Having said that, it is still very important to define the perimeter to show ownership. Any barrier that must be crossed, climbed over or crawled under, shows the intent of the intruder. The intruder did not accidentally get onto your property.


Signage must be posted, preferably on the perimeter fence, to state ownership and notify consequence(s) of failing to obey. Wording can be very simple & direct to be effective. “Private Property – Violators Will Be Prosecuted” Signage should be placed on along the entire perimeter at no more than 100 meter spacing between signs. The signs want to be weather-proof and visible. Replace faded signs. With proper signage intruders cannot claim to not know the property was owned. Perimeter signage should meet legal requirements of providing warning when intruders are charged for trespassing.

Clear Lines of Sight:

From a security point-of-view, all obstructions along the perimeter fence want to be removed or minimized for at least 10 meters inside and outside the fence line. These cleared areas reduce the possibility of an intruder crossing the fence line unnoticed. Sheds, bushes, trees and machinery want to be removed from these zones if possible. If not possible, then these areas need to be noted and proper alternative plans for dealing with these “dead” zones must be made. These areas will invite intruders to access your property as they cannot be observed or monitored.

Proper Lighting:

In a rural setting it is unlikely for the entire perimeter to have proper lighting. However, strategically placed solar powered LED garden lights could be helpful, especially, to mark corners and gates. As you get to the inner security layers, lighting becomes very important. Two useful types of lighting are direct lighting & back-lighting. Direct lighting can be motion sensor, controlled flood lighting that turns on when activated. These lights face out from the inner property and confront intruders or unannounced guests/visitors. You can see out but they cannot see in. Back-lighting can use any light source to create a wall of light that must be crossed. Thus, the intruder will be noticed in contrast to the bright background. The inner perimeter wants to be fully illuminated with no dark paths that lead to inner areas. Unless, you are using dark zones to channel intruders to areas that are protected by other means – IR lights and IR cameras, motion detectors, dogs, or deadend alleys.

Gates / Access Control Points:

To move from the perimeter to the inner layers of the property you will need to control movement of people, machinery, vehicles, livestock and intruders. Gates are the most common method of getting from one zone to the next. Usually, in security, the level of security increases as you get closer to the centre. Your most valuable items/people stay inside the most secure zone. Where a single cable or chain may be adequate to be a gate to a field, a reinforced steel gate may be more appropriate for accessing the residence zone of your ranch/farm/acreage.

Early Warning Devices:

Early warning devices include any device that is triggered/activated remotely by an intruder. This can be a solar powered LED light with a motion sensor. The motion sensor and the light do not have to be located in the same location. Any remote located motion sensor can be attached to a number of different devices to aid in early detection of intruders – auto-dialers, security alarms, sirens or devices to record evidence – game cameras, CCTV, video cameras.

Locks & Keys (& Their Control):

The old saying, “Locks only keep the honest out.” While, it may be true when contenting with career criminals or very desperate people. The fact still remains that locked gates, doors and windows buy you time. Time to acknowledge a threat is in your vicinity. Time to enact your security plan. Time to request assistance. Time to respond, not just to react. To this end, on a ranch, farm or rural acreage, purchasing high quality locks that are keyed-alike can help buy time. Quality locks can take more abuse before failing and are more difficult to by-pass with lock picks. Keyed-alike is the compromise between high security and convenience. With one or maybe two keys you can access all required areas on your property. The compromise is if one key is lost or stolen, the bad guys can access all areas, too. Keep keys secured when not in use. One set per authorized employee or family member. Do random key audits to ensure no keys have been lost or stolen. IF KEYS GO need the locksmith to change the tumblers in all the locks and new keys have to be issued. This can get expensive, but not as expensive as having criminals taking all your property or injuring any of your family, friends or employees. Key control can include a daily sign out/sign in logsheet.

CCTV / Video Surveillance

The sad fact is video surveillance is becoming more necessary for all citizens to deter criminal activity from happening on your property. Those with ranches, farms or large rural acreages it is just too difficult to be watching all places, all the time. Cameras may deter some criminals but not all. The use of quality cameras and recording devices hopefully will gather enough information to positively identify the bad guys and assist in their rapid capture. I would recommend a mix of high profile, easily observed cameras as a deterrent and a second layer of cameras that are not so easy to spot. A mix of video and still (game ) cameras would be a good idea. Cameras with capturing images in the dark would be worth the upgrade. Recent brazen daylight raids on rural properties do occur, but many low level criminals are generally cowards who slink in during the dark hours to remove high value items to fence for cash to purchase drugs.

Video drones. A new piece of technology to become available is the remote controlled aerial drone with live streaming video camera(s). Drones are available for you to keep an eye on your property from the ranch house – monitor the herd, patrol the fence line, inspect irrigation effectiveness. However, the bad guys have drones, too. The criminals are using drones to sneek in and look in the windows of homes and determine if anyone is home or not. If not, they take advantage of your absence to plunder. This is not being said to raise your fear level. This is to educate you on threats presented against you. Once a threat is identified, then defences can be devised. Obstacles like nets, clothes lines and trellis/lattice can help keep drones away or slow down their flight to aid in spotting them. Also, drones need to be controlled from somewhere. Keep an eye out for vehicles that are parked on the side of roads near ranches, farms or acreages. If they are there, too long. Take a picture of the vehicle &/or notify the Rural Crime Watch patrol to do a drive-by.

Inner Perimeter Fence

The Inner Perimeter Fence is the first tough layer of defence. In security applications this fence is usually a minimum of 8' tall with 3 strands of barb wire on top. High security facilities put a coil of razor wire on top of the barb wire. None of this is aesthetically pleasing. This fence wants to be tall, clear of foliage, well illuminated, with lockable gates. Signage on this fence will not hurt.....but, if they ignored the signs on the outer perimeter, they are probably up to no good. The purpose of the inner perimeter fence is to establish where people belong. Owners, family, friends and employees belong inside at the correct times. This is one more layer for criminals to defeat or by-pass. This helps establish intent for incidents that end up in court.

Designated Purpose Areas / Buildings (Compartmentalize & Isolate)

Similar to an inner perimeter fence, by having buildings or areas with designated purposes – branding, loading trucks, fixing equipment, parking equipment, refueling, grain/hay storage, irrigation, fertilizer storage, etc; it helps determine if the right people are in the right area at the right time. If need be, different locks & keys are used to secure these areas. If there is only fields and a general non-field area, it will be more difficult to suggest intent.

Doors, Locks & Windows

Like gates, doors want to be designed to keep the bad guys out. Steel doors with dead bolts are viewed as the minimum standard for exterior doors to buildings, garages and homes. Dead bolts want to be long enough to go into the door frame. Door frames want to be steel as well and securely fastened to the structure with long screws. Windows on doors want to be small. Large windows allow easier access to those who do not mind breaking glass to gain entry. Multiple dead bolts are not too much effort. Same with locking bars that reinforce doors at night or when not expecting any visitors.

In a high security structure, there are very few windows on the outer walls on the first or second story. Homes built in high crime parts of the world use a courtyard design. Walls that look into the courtyard have a lot of windows and balconies, but the outer side has very few until the third floor. Even then, these third floor outer windows are usually tall and narrow.

To retro-fit a traditional rancher style bungalow to increase the security level would be a major undertaking – in time, materials and money. The best advice is to ensure all windows are closed and latched/locked when not home. Placing dowels in the slide track of windows will prevent the latch/lock from being easily by-passed. But, anything made of glass is vulnerable to being broken.

An alternate strategy would be to lock all entries except one that looks forgotten. This one entry point would be well covered with video surveillance devices. To at least capture evidence of who committed the crime for later prosecution.

Policy, Procedure & Plans

Ranch policy, procedures & plans need to be established for a safe & secure operation. Like fire drills aid in the rapid evacuation of a building that has caught fire, security functions need planning, policy and procedures, too. The better planned and practiced the smoother the operation will run. Develop standard operating procedures.

Security Force

In the security world, all of the previous steps have been pro-active and make unlawful entry as difficult as possible. What happens if someone is willing to go through all the layers?? You need someone to respond. Contract security staff are not likely to be affordable to most ranching or farming operations. If your operation can afford the investment, a professional security team is likely the fastest response to threats that money can buy. If not, at least a few of your family &/or your employee base will need to take on security functions and response. Untrained personnel should avoid direct contact with criminal elements. Untrained persons should be aware of who does not belong, notify those on the ranch security team of the situation and contact law enforcement.

A well trained security force can be cross-trained to perform ranch/farm functions. They just need to be performing these function in or near their primary area of responsibility. Security first. Other duties second.

Communications & Network

Rural crime presents a unique environment to defend good folks from the criminal scum. Time & distance. Each ranch, farm or rural acreage is not that different from the castles of days-gone-by. A remote, isolated kingdom that has to be able to hold its own until the calvary can ride to the rescue. Unlike, those days, today we have access to communications tools that can get the message out quickly and to a wide audience, if needed.

As great as these tools are, they can fail. So, a collection of alternate communication tools needs to be considered. We have landline phones, cellphones, texting, email, social media and a variety of radio communication tools. To ensure a safe and secure rural area, any and all of these may be needed.

However, as important as communication tools are, having a network of fellow land-owners is probably even more important. The remoteness of each homestead means neighbours have to know who their neighbours are. And during times of distress, neighbours need to know they can count on their fellow neighbour for aid in dealing with the criminal element. More eye watching for suspicious vehicles and activity. If your neighbour is in town getting supplies or groceries and you notice a strange vehicle entering their yard, take note of the vehicle, license plate # and notify the Rural Crime Watch patrol. Take a picture of the vehicle. If it was nothing, oh well.

Working together is probably the most powerful weapon to combat crime in rural Alberta. 

Working together is the best defence against hostile forces, no matter if they are a gang of criminals or a terrorist group. Again here is the link:

Be safe out there!


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Situational Awareness For Everyone - Lesson Plan: SAFE Lvl One (Part 5 of 5)

Situational Awareness For Everyone - Lesson Plan: SAFE Lvl One Part 5 of 5

 in education •  23 hours ago
Banner Pic SAFE On The Lookout 2018.jpg
This is part five of a five part series of lesson plans for the Situational Awareness For Everyone (S.A.F.E.) level one course I developed at SATAS Co. I believe those in the emergency preparedness community will find this very helpful. This course is designed to be meaningful to all citizens. You are free to review this material, you may even share this material - so long as links to the original material and credit are given to this author, me, V. Andrew McMillan of SATAS Co.
Lesson Plan
Topic/Title: SAFE 1 – Lesson Five/ Response Plan
Presenter/Instructor: V. Andrew McMILLAN
Lesson Length: 20 Minutes
Required Resources:
Supplies/Reference Materials
Demo Items
Pens, Pencils & Stationery (PP&S)
Once we can recognize threats, we need a multitude of response plans to have the greatest chance of defeating any identified threat. Like lighting a fire in a survival situation, you need to program your mind with multiple methods of responding to threats. Not all threats can be defeated by brute physical force alone. In fact, that is probably your last resort response plan....when all other plans fail.
Main Topic:
Our Response Plan wants to be layered and have a progressive scale of responses. Like securing an industrial complex, you want more than one layer defending your site.
A response plan is not linear or sequential. You do not have to go individually through all your layers to get to the response that the threat requires to respond properly. If the threat facing you requires a 5th level response and time/distance do not allow for escalation through the 1st to 4th levels, then you go from identifying the threat directly to a 5th level response, no regrets, no guilt, no shame. Whether the threat is a sinkhole on the highway or an armed mugger, time and distance may prevent you from a slower response cycle. That is life and if you wish to preserve yours, you may have to act quickly at times.
Your response plan is an action plan to get out of trouble(s). Many times this will be short term. However, having a response plan will allow you a quicker response time than someone who has not planned at all.
Response Plan Options:
1.Avoidance – If you don't have to be there, then don't.
2.Minimize – reduce your exposure and get away as soon as you can.
3.Flight – Runaway to a safe location. (Ensure to check that you are not followed or pursued.)
4.Fight – You may have to defend yourself. At the earliest possible time break contact and escape to a safe location.
5.WIN THE FIGHT!! If escape is not possible, win the fight. Use any & all means you have to defend yourself.
6.Get a safe distance. Re-Group, Re-Assess Threat, Re-Evaluate Options.
7.Review. Once you are safely away, review what worked, what didn't and what can I do better next time.
8.Update your response plan. What do you need to add. What should you delete. What options do you need.
9.RESET. You must let go of the last incident. Flip the switch & be prepared for the next challenge in your life. You cannot continually re-live/re-play the last incident. Re-Focus & Observe your world.
10.Continue your journey through life.
Once you have gone through an incident, whether avoiding a killer pothole on a urban roadway or just escaped a raging forest fire, you need to invest your time to review what happened, how your plan worked, note what didn't work or didn't work as well as you want and then make changes to your plan. The review process is first aid for your mental health, do not neglect your total health.
Next, because the challenges in life do not wait for you to be ready, you must quickly reset your mind to be looking for the next challenge to intersect your path on your journey through life. Do not dwell on the whatever it was that just happened. If you stop looking out for life's challenges you will be hit and blindsided. Stay vigilant.
To add depth to our action plan we also want to actively improve our success by being prepared, like a Boy Scout. There are many ways to pre-plan for challenges, the easiest to describe will be for wilderness or urban survival and then adapting those processes into all aspects of your life. The combination of skills and gear provide each of us with the most options to survive our daily lives, as well as, any life changing challenge that may be thrown at us by the Universe.
Let us start with first aid kits and bandaid packs. I expect all of you who do not have first aid training, will be seeking that training in the very near future. With minimal first aid training and readily available first aid supplies we can treat ourselves when we experience those minor injuries that seem to happen everyday in life. Without even minor supplies of clean dressings or antibiotic lotions a minor scratch could become infected and then it becomes a life threatening injury. So, with a basic first aid kit in each vehicle and at least one in every home, we will have the resources necessary to treat minor injuries, quickly and without any fuss. If you do any outdoor activities you will want to have a first aid kept in your rucksack or daypack , every time you depart for those activities.
Survival kits should also be considered in this same category. Get training. Practice. Get some experience using your skills. Build a kit with gear you know how to use. Survival training can start when children are 4 or 5 years old and get progressively more thorough as they get older. By 14 or 15 years old a child/youth should be able to survive a night without any adult assistance. If you cannot do this right now, add basic survival to your training to get list. You deserve to have these skills. You are worth it!!
After first aid and survival basics we come to a category called EDC – Every Day Carry items. These will be a blend of first aid and survival items. In some countries the items you can carry will also include firearms, however, here in Canada that is not an option most can do legally. EDC includes things like what is packed in our vehicle(s), what is in our jacket or parka, as well as, what is in the pockets of our jeans or in our purse. (Have items to display to class.)
Here are a few examples:
This Jacket shell – has most of the pockets pre-loaded with gear. The front cargo pockets contain: gloves, a toque, a balaclava, & headlamp. The arm pockets contain: a small signal mirror, cord, pen/pencil & Bic lighter.
This flight jacket – has gloves, toque, balaclava and headlamp in the inner hand pockets. The jacket also reverses from black to international orange to help being found. In the arm pocket there are: pens, Bic lighter, signal mirror and a mini-flashlight.
This parka – has gloves, a toque & scarf in the front cargo pockets. The chest pocket has a Ziploc bag with a notebook & pencil, as well as some cord.
These are like most jackets/coats in my closet. Each one is pre-packed with the bare minimum of gear. You never know when all you have time to do is grab a jacket before you run from your home or have to get away from a burning vehicle after a motor vehicle collision. This is as much about pre-planning as it is about programming your mind to be thinking ahead. I think about function and I am not concerned with fashion. Being stylish is fine, until it gets you killed. If fashion is a primary environment you must operate in, then we need to discuss how we can take the concepts presented in SAFE One and adapt them to a fashionable world. I believe you have the knowledge to make these adaptation if you really want to. Most days this means having function-based gear in your vehicle or at your office to augment or supplement your fashionable requirements with items that will help you get to safety if the necessity arises.
The Get Home Bag (GHB), is the item most used to keep the basics at work/in the office so you always have the gear you need. I, would also recommend keeping a GHB in each of your vehicles. The GHB only has enough gear and food stuffs to get you home. It is small, light and easy to carry. How far do you live from work?? How long would it take you to walk home??
What items should you carry??
Wallet – with cash, credit cards, identification
Keys – house, vehicle, storage locker
Fire – matches or a lighter
Knife – folding, locking blade – Gerber Paraframe
Light – flashlight or headlamp
Fold flat 500ml water bottle.
What is the minimum gear to get home??
Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots
Socks – inner poly pro & outer wool
Weatherproof jacket
Sweater or fleece – for warmth
Hat – shade in warm weather & insulating in cool weather.
Mitts/Gloves – keep hands warm
Safety glasses – yellow lens type. Protect from flying debris.
Bandanna/Triangular bandage – sling or face cover if dusty.
2x 500 ml bottles of water
4x Energy bars or bags of nuts.
Other considerations when planning should include:
What if training/game??
Know the location of fire exits when in public buildings, malls, schools, etc.
Know the location of stairs. If the power goes out or there is a fire the elevators will not be safe to use.
Know where to seek help – security, police, EMS, fire.
Know the location of the AED or first aid kit. Know the symbols.
Know the location of fire fighting equipment – extinguisher, pull station, hose, or the fire axe.
Know how to call for help – cellphone, landline, payphone, CB radio, HAM radio, signal fires or ground-to-air signals.
Questions From Class (QFC):
In this lesson we have explored what we can do once we have identified a threat to our BUBBLE. We know we need an action plan that has multiple layers, so we can have options when we respond to a threat. We know sometimes we will need to act FAST!! We also explored some training and gear options to give our plan more depth. By pre-packing this gear and leaving it ready to go 24/7 we increase our chances at survival in the journey through life.
Questions To Class (QTC):
Name 5 things you can carry on your person everyday that will assist you if you ever need them?
Explain Get Home Bags? Where would you keep one?
You have been an attentive class and I believe you all have shown a genuine interest in this lesson. You now have the foundation of knowledge to continue your journey through life as an situationally aware person. By building on this foundation you can only grow as a person.
Thank you.
Your next lesson is with: ____________________________________________
Who will be discussing: ____________________________________________
At: ________ hrs, in the main lecture room. (or __________________________.)
And to keep this to only five parts, the conclusion.
Lesson Plan
Topic/Title: SAFE One Conclusion/Summary
Presenter/Instructor: V. Andrew McMILLAN
Lesson Length: 10 Minutes
Required Resources:
Supplies/Reference Materials
Demo Items
Pens, Pencils & Stationery (PP&S)
Thank you for attending Situational Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) Level One. You have all received a great foundational understanding of situational awareness and how it can be used to impact all areas of your lives – whether at home, work or play. During times of crises or just everyday.
Main Topic:
I truly hope each and everyone of you have found this information to be of benefit to you. I also hope that you now see that being situationally aware can benefit you in all aspects of your life.
You all have a better understanding of your BUBBLE and at what range something becomes a threat to you. You have also worked through your personal response plans and have a working inventory of responses you can draw upon to get yourself out of trouble should you find yourself there.
You all know how important it is to review your plan after it has been tested by any event large or small, to improve your plan so it will work even better the next time it is required. You, also know, that you will be challenged often as you travel your path through this life.
Finally, we have explored some methods of pre-packaging gear and resources in common areas to always be ready for your use any time of day, any day of the year. We know that these preparations are very important to your personal survival in the event of an emergency occurring on short notice or during the middle of the night when you may not have time to pack even a few items before having to evacuate your home.
Before we wrap this up, are there any final questions from you?? Are there any areas you feel have not be covered in sufficient depth??
Questions From Class (QFC):
Questions To Class (QTC):
In closing, I would like to thank you again for taking SAFE Level One. This is just the beginning. If you chose to pursue this further we have two more levels to this program: SAFE Level Two – Family Situational Awareness & SAFE Level Three – Community Situational Awareness.
You have been a great group to work with. You ask awesome questions, and I hope you will continue down this path. The skills you have learned here in this program will be transferable to all aspects of your life, as well as, to any other training you do – whether that is martial arts training or business programs. Being situational aware is being aware of what is happening around you, at all times, in all places. Once this door is opened it is hard to close. It is difficult to go back to a state of unknowing.
Your certificates will be mailed to those who have provided a shipping address. The rest of you, your certificates will be ready for pick-up next week on Thursday.
That's it folks. I hope at least one person out there found this course material educational or at least entertaining. I will review the response to posting lesson plans and then decide if I will publish more in the future. If you enjoyed this material and feel inclined, please send me some feedback in the comments section.
Take care & stay aware,
V. Andrew McMILLAN.
Links to Parts One, Two, Three & Four:

I hope everyone has enjoyed these lesson plans.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Situational Awareness For Everyone - Lesson Plan: SAFE Lvl One (Part 4 of 5)

Link to original post:

Situational Awareness For Everyone - Lesson Plan: SAFE Lvl One Part 4 of 5

 in education •  yesterday
Banner Pic SAFE On The Lookout 2018.jpg
This is part four of a five part series of lesson plans for the Situational Awareness For Everyone (S.A.F.E.) level one course I developed at SATAS Co. I believe those in the emergency preparedness community will find this very helpful. This course is designed to be meaningful to all citizens. You are free to review this material, you may even share this material - so long as links to the original material and credit are given to this author, me, V. Andrew McMillan of SATAS Co.
Lesson Plan
Topic/Title: SAFE One Lesson 4/Threat Assessment
Presenter/Instructor: V. Andrew McMILLAN
Lesson Length: 20 Minutes
Required Resources:
Supplies/Reference Materials
Demo Items
Pens, Pencils & Stationery (PP&S)
Threat Assessment, this is theory being put into action. We will first review some of the current theories for programming your critical thinking, as well as, working through a decision making flow chart. We will discuss how our personal lens/filter alters and interprets what we see and how we perceive threats. Finally, we will explore some real world examples and discuss observation techniques for identifying threats before they are threats and how not to be deceived by those using role camouflage. Once we can identify threats we will be ready to advance to making response plans – which is the lesson after this one.
Main Topic:
Threat Assessment is the critical thinking process of taking what we observe, how we filter this information, come to recognize that we are in harm's way, and then know we need a plan.
Currently, USAF Colonel John BOYD is recognized as the first pioneer of taking gut reactions to a formalized plan. He was working on training air force pilots to survive dogfights with fighter jets during the Vietnam War. He created the OODA Loop or Boyd's Cycle:
(Link to Wikipedia -
Observe – Orient – Decide – Act = OODA. The diagram on Wikipedia shows that this is more than just a single dimension loop, but an interactive feedback loop. Hard to draw but easy enough to understand once you have worked through it a couple of times. BOYD was working on a simple plan to program the pilots thinking process so they can make decisions faster and ultimately interrupt the OODA Loop of their adversary, thus winning the aerial dogfight.
Other organization also use formatted thinking to help leaders make the best decision in the time available. Anyone familiar with search & rescue operations will be familiar with SCORPA, an acronym for:
Size up the Situation
Objectives & Goals
Resources required
Critical thinking is always a balancing act between the information available and the time allowed to make a decision. Whether flying a fight jet or driving at highway speeds, the time available will be less than a second or two. However, because of repeated practice exercises of what would I do mind is already programmed to make those action happen when you need them. Some decisions however, you may get minutes or hours to devise a plan, and hopefully you will have more information/data to base your decision on. Just remember the most important phase is to actually action your plan. In situational awareness, failing to make a decision or failing to action your plan will both have consequences, usually negative. Making a decision and actioning a plan may also have negative consequences but this has to weighed against not doing anything and balanced against how much time or information was available at the time it was needed.
To help with this process, let's have a look at the Threat Assessment Flow Chart. (Insert full page illustration.)
T A Flow.jpg
Thinking is not a pure linear process, so we will start with you enjoying your journey through life.
1.The first point is when we observe, identify or recognize a threat to our journey through life.
2.Next we have to quickly filter what we have identified – Can it hurt me? If no, we short cut to the review process. If it can hurt....
3.Can I avoid it? Yes, then avoid it – then short cut to the review process. If not......
4.Can I minimize the impact or damage? Can I escape? Are there any other options? If not primal programming will select “fight”.
5.If you can escape, are you being followed or pursued??
6.If you have to fight, can you break contact? Yes, then break contact. If not...
7.WIN THE FIGHT. If you escaped earlier and find your are not out of danger you too will be forced to win the fight.
8.Once you are safe or after winning the fight, you need to get a safe distance from the threat.
9.Review the incident – informally or formally. What did I do right. What did not work well. What can I do next time to achieve a better outcome.
10.Adjust your plan – internal or formal plan.
11.Now you have to reset your mind and be ready to enact your threat assessment again.
12.Continue on your journey through life. Be observant. Be ready.
This process happens hundreds to thousands of times a day, everyday. By programming your mind to make decisions in this manner, each time you experience a new situation you add to your knowledge library of responses and you know from previous outcomes what are you best first options to try. For those who are still young, you will have the option of learning from your mistakes or chose the path of wisdom and learn from those who have been through similar situations before you. Their experiences, if you take them to heart, will help speed up your learning curve.
Now that we have an understanding how we have our mind react. We need to spend a little time on developing our observation skills. It is by observing the world that we first learn that danger may be in our BUBBLE. We can all look at the world around us but how many of us truly see what is around us??
Observation is the process of taking in the information from our eyes, ears, nose/tongue & skin, filtering it through our BUBBLE and then making an impression on our mind. Thus, things we program into our mind to be “normal” can come back to harm us, when we do not recognize the threat because we overlooked an image because the pizza delivery man is not a threat. But was it really the pizza dude?? I will explain “Role Camouflage” in more depth in a moment.
So, who do we overlook on a daily basis?? The mailman?? Newspaper boy?? The lady who delivers the Chinese food?? The cable repair guy?? Taxi drivers?? Dry cleaner's delivery person?? How about construction crews?? First responders?? Would you notice if any of these people listed were the regular employee or an impostor?? Do you know your pizza delivery guy?? How about the paper boy?? How about your neighbours?? People who are normalized to us as “servants” are not really perceived. Period. When you want your pizza in 20 minutes or less, the pizza dude is damn important, but other than attention is paid.
There is more to this than just people we expect to see. How about when in any retail shop, ever pay attention to how many people carry a knife in their front pocket?? Right pocket for right-handed or left pocket for left-handed, the easy tell is the metal pocket clip that is on the outside of the pocket. Never noticed, I am not surprised. Night clubs and bars, the bouncer or security staff usually disarm these folks before they get into a place that serves alcohol. Weapons and mind-altering substances is a poor mix.
How else can we protect ourselves.....ever left your mail in your car, just for a few minutes while you go into the store to buy some groceries?? Did you leave the mail face up so strangers can read your address?? Did you put your mail in the backseat where it is harder to be read?? Do you consciously pay attention to whether you leave your mail face up or face down?? Or do you keep your mail in a daypack when not in your vehicle?? How about your cellphone?? Do you use a password to lock the keypad?? Do you ever leave it unattended?? Do you ever talk on your cell while walking in public?? Have you heard of phone snatching??
Speaking of walking....going back to the article On Sheep, Wolves and Sheep Dogs; when the wolves are on the hunt they watch the flock. They focus on the lambs that do not take any precaution to protect themselves. Those who walk in crowds by keeping their eyes focused on the sidewalk a step or two in front and never look up....guess what the wolves have spotted you. Then they work themselves to a location to interfere with your path of travel. Then they force you off your path and take whatever they want. Now, back to observing. When you are walking in downtown Big City, if you keep your head up, and you look side-to-side and occasionally look behind you or look up at overpasses or down at underpasses; the wolves will see this and they will pass you by......the wolves know you are situationally aware and you are looking for hazards/threats. The wolves will avoid you, if they can find the helpless lambs who are easy kills.
Role Camouflage – is the active art of deception, by adopting those roles in Society that no one pays attention to – the janitor, pizza dude, cable guy, taxi driver, etc. As we discussed previously, these are occupations that are seen as below the people, however, they are necessary. As such, those who “borrow” these roles to mingle with neighbourhoods or to infiltrate buildings, when their actions are finished and the police investigate the witnesses will always say, “I saw a copy repair guy enter our floor. His visitor access pass was not working and he was needed to fix the copier on this floor and I let him into our office area.....” How was that employee to know that the copier had just been fixed in the morning?? Nor was that employee to know that they just granted access to their work area to an industrial spy?? If the employee was situational aware, they would have directed the copy repair guy to the security kiosk on the main floor or at the very least told the repair guy that it was a firing offense to allow unauthorized persons to by-pass security checkpoints. Those who are playing a “role” are very good at seeking sympathy from caring people to achieve their mission goals. They will lie. They will tell tall tales. They will use emotions against you. They manipulate people as part of their profession and they are very good at it. If something does not seem right, listen to you gut....something is probably wrong. Use your moral compass to guide your actions. This does not only happen at work/office. These “role” players can come to your home, too. Gas company. Electrical company. Cable company. Once they are in your home, who knows what their mission is & whom they work for, much less where you fit in. Situational awareness is “on” 24/7. The more often you are aware the easier it becomes.
Questions From Class (QFC):
In this lesson we have started to put our theory into action by observing and recognizing hazards and threats that are around us everyday, whether at work, at home or at play. We have been introduced to role camouflage and how that can be used against what we have programmed our minds to believe is “normal”. We have started to use the Threat Assessment Flow Chart to start programming our mind to filter and identify threats.
The Threat Assessment is only part one of a two part system. Part two will be your Response Plan.
Questions To Class (QTC):
Who do we not notice when walking downtown any city?? Street people?? Garbage man?? Couriers??
You have been a good class. I believe you have quickly absorbed this material. I can see many of you have your eyes wide open now. You are hungry to learn more, specifically how do I deal with these things you just opened my eyes to see.
Your next lesson will continue with developing your Response Plan.
Thank you.
Your next lesson is with: ____________________________________________
Who will be discussing: ____________________________________________
At: ________ hrs, in the main lecture room. (or __________________________.)
Part five will follow in the next day or two. Thank you for reading. V.A.M.
Links to Parts One, Two & Three: