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                        Do You Truly Have Passion to Survive?

                        Every time we present our Surviving a Sudden Incident of Violence training, I ask my audience the following question:

                        “does anyone NOT have a passion to survive?”

                        We have taught thousands of students and, not surprisingly, I have not had a single hand go up in response to this question! And I suspect that by far the majority of those reading this would have the same answer. Although we would all expect this to be everyone’s answer, how many REALLY have a passion to survive? Do you?

                        Let me take this a step further by asking you to consider what a passion is:

                        Passion - A “strong and barely controllable” emotion

                        We all know exactly what “passion” is and what it looks like. You can see and feel passion in those who have it when you interact with them. If you have a passion for something, it’s the thing that you cannot wait to do when you are not doing it; it’s the thing that you work hard to improve at; the thing you desire to spend more time doing; and the thing that can’t stop talking about. My passion is improving Blue-U Defense through the expansion of my skills; expanding my general knowledge; improving my understanding of the criminal mind and how it works and chooses its victims; finding solutions to criminal victimization; continuously improving the quality of my course content and finding extremely effective, unique and engaging ways to keep businesses and people safe. I HAVE A TRUE PASSION TO SURVIVE! And all of these things, and others, have been my passion since well before I got into law enforcement! These things have been my passion since I was a young teenager. I work this passion literally morning, noon, and night! And I promise you this:

                        If you talk with me about any of my passions, you will see and feel it!

                        So I ask you again:

                        “Do you have a passion to survive”?

                        If you still answer yes, exactly what are you doing to feed your craving? Are you working at it the way you should be?

                        The Bottom Line

                        The bottom line is that I know that we all have a true passion to survive. We just don’t realize that we need to be taking this far more seriously than we are and we need to be working this passion just like any other passion.

                        So we all have an instinctual will to survive, right?

                        Unfortunately, most completely trust that the survival mechanisms that we have been blessed with can, and will, keep us safe from harm without any work to fine-tune them. So far, they have and they will continue to do so; to a point. You see our survival mechanisms can and should be fine-tuned.

                        The problem with most people is this very common thought:

                        “It’s not going to happen to me/us”

                        Very few go through the course of the day worried sick that they are going to get seriously injured or killed; that they are not going to come home each night; etc. In fact, its just the opposite. We rarely think about our safety throughout the course of each day unless an extenuating circumstance arises. We assume that we are not going to get injured or killed and that we will come home each night. If we went through the course of each day paranoid that serious injury or death may be around every corner, we wouldn’t be able to function or be productive. The fact is, however, there really could be serious injury or death around every corner!

                        There are many, many things in life that are inherently dangerous. So much so that every parent teaches their kids about them (strangers, crossing the street, fire, not getting too close to dangerous water, etc.) and, as we move towards and into adulthood, many schools and employers teach their students/employees about them (Fire, Explosion, Chemicals, Bomb Threats, etc.). This training is supposed to take us beyond our standard defense mechanisms in an attempt to fine-tune them by raising our sensitivity to certain types of danger and hopefully providing the tools to make good decisions and give ourselves, and those that we are tasked with protecting, the best opportunity to keep ourselves safe. So, in theory, there are some things that are accepted as being of higher risk level and therefore extra time and effort is spent on the training necessary to be aware of and prepare for their dangers.

                        Now the question becomes, “how do we train” and is our training truly affective?

                        This question is not as simple as many might think. Why? Because too many times we take what is popular, generally accepted, and “apparently correct” and assume that it’s been tested and makes sense when, in reality, many of these things (training, policies and procedures) are nowhere near what they really need to be in order to do what they are intended to do.

                        Let Me Give You an Example:

                        I was recently called on, as a part of a team, to evaluate a newly introduced system for alerting law enforcement and others to an emergency incident in schools. It is designed to allow teachers to alert local law enforcement of a problem directly, and then provide critical information to others within the incident as well as responding emergency units via a texting application. This system was apparently endorsed by the state’s Attorney Generals Office and State Police. Excellent! It must be awesome then!

                        But it wasn’t (isn’t) – in my humble opinion! In fact, outside of the initial rapid alert to a problem, it made very little sense.

                        I questioned the ability of anyone to accurately input a text message when their heart rate is over 180 beats per minute as a result of fear or panic and we loose all fine motor skills and finger dexterity; I questioned exactly what a teacher’s responsibility is during a critical incident – to prepare our children to remain safe and/or escape or text information into a device (you cant do both effectively); I questioned the ability of those on the receiving end of this systems ability to make sense of a populating screen in a patrol vehicle while responding to the scene at a high rate of speed; I questioned many things about this system . Great thought and theory however not necessarily practical. Some of the features of it, however, may be extremely valuable.

                        Yet, many, many people in highly influential positions thought that this was a great system and apparently endorsed it. How does this happen?

                        It happens because we don’t really sit down and think things through. We don’t think about human response to various stimuli and how that will impact our decision making process and our ability to respond under severe circumstances.

                        This is why lockdown drills and fire drills need to be re-evaluated. These drills always go so well! Its impressive in most cases. But what do you think might happen when there is smoke or flame visible or when there are gunshots being fired and people lying injured or killed on the ground. Do you think the response by those attempting to find a solution will be the same as they are when doing a drill? I promise you that there will be a huge difference when there is true danger.

                        So we have to allow for options. We have to make drills as real as possible. We have to do drills that simulate as little as possible. We have to do drills that are designed to create chaos and confusion. And we have to talk about and see and hear REALITY!

                        Lockdown Only - BAD IDEA!

                        Not teaching the most effective ways to lock down – BAD IDEA!

                        Not preparing for Battle – BAD IDEA!

                        Not providing for an option to escape – BAD IDEA!

                        Not teaching the possibility of a “fight” – BAD IDEA!

                        No policy directing those who decide to escape where to go – BAD IDEA!

                        And this list goes on-and-on!

                        Its Time to Step Up

                        So, if we truly have a passion to survive, and we truly have a desire to instill this passion in those that we love, its time to step-up our games. If your passion is real, you will want to take the time time to improve your survival skills. If you have a passion to survive you will seek out reality and learn from it regardless of how horrible it is to see or hear. If you want your kids to have the best chance to survive then they also need to see and hear reality in order to learn!

                        Question your Passion! If you truly have a passion to survive, work at it daily! It doesn’t take much.

                        Blue-U Defense provides the understanding, foundation, and tactics necessary to form the basis of real safety in both individuals and organizations of all types.

                        Published Dec 17, 2015

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