Get Out Of Your Safety Comfort Zone

safety-comfort-zoneBack in the early 1970’s, I spent some time on my uncle’s land up in Redding, California.  One of the most memorable things I did was to learn how to drive a car with a clutch.

He gave me a 5-minute explanation and demonstration, then tossed me the keys to an old, beat up VW Bug and let me go at it.  I was doing donuts in the flats on his property in a few hours, and was very proficient in driving (at least in my eyes!) by the end of the week.

I didn’t drive a clutch again for probably a year.  In the meantime, I had received my drivers license by driving an automatic transmission, and didn’t need to use a clutch until I bought my first car.

It was horrible!  I bounced and jerked and stalled.  On top of simply forgetting how to properly use the clutch, I was now “constrained” by having to stay in my own lane as I drove!

My clutch transmission skills had evaporated by not using them.  Virtually all skills are perishable.  If you take a class on knitting, and don’t knit, you forget.

You may take an Emergency Preparedness class and learn how to make fire without a Bic lighter, or how to purify water, or tie certain knots needed for survival.  If you don’t practice those skills, you lose them.

For instance, to keep my Emergency Prep skills sharp, I have a reminder on my calendar that pops up every month.  I have a half dozen knots that I spend 20 minutes practicing.  I review our emergency plans and stored supplies and equipment once each month.  All of this helps me to “stay on top” of a potential emergency.

People will generally seek to expand their personal safety education because of a real or potential need.

  • They may have had their home broken into, or know someone that has had this happen.
  • They may have an estranged relationship where the other party doesn’t understand that, “No means No”.
  • They may have a job that regularly puts them in one-on-one contact with individuals they don’t know very well.  Jobs like real estate agents, government social workers or delivery service personnel.

They take the class, and figure they are all set.  Like the Emergency Preparedness students, they get comfortable.  Since they haven’t had to use the skills they learned in the class, the sense of urgency that propelled them to take the class has waned.  Instead of going to the range once a month, or practicing with their pepper spray, or re-evaluating their home security plans, they let their skills degrade.

Having your Personal Safety skills degrade has a much more significant “down side” than letting your knitting skills slip.

So what can you do?


Practice your skills once each month – every month.  This is so critical and takes so little time.

  • An hour at the firing range each month.
  • Rotating, replacing and testing your pepper spray canisters.
  • Doing a mental “walk through” of a threatening scenario and considering your options and responses.


Then, Enhance Your Skills. Take an advanced or specialized class.

Then practice some more!

I want you to consider the training regimes of police officers, firefighters, the military, paramedics, airline pilots and anyone who MAY come into a situation with their job where an emergency may occur.  They train – on a regular basis – for the unexpected.

  • I’ve known police officers who had 30 year careers and have never fired their gun on the job.  Yet they go to the range once a month.
  • Airline pilots regularly use Flight Simulators to train for those “one in a million” situations most will never encounter during their career.
  • Firefighters regularly train to pull an occupant from a burning, crumbling building, yet most are never apply the skill they’ve learned.

Isn’t your life – and the life of your friends and family – valuable enough to stay sharp on your safety skills?

Look what’s happening around the world with regards to “lone wolf” terrorist attacks.  If you’re a Concealed Carry gun owner, and you suddenly find yourself in a mall, restaurant or other public place and there’s an attack, what are you going to do?

How will you react?  What steps will you take?  How will you handle the situation?

You need to figure this out – and train for the event – right now.

Get out of your Comfort Zone.  Don’t let complacency take the place of competence.


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