Resilience and Security with Kris Coleman
What does it look like to be resilient? Many of us have lost our edge after a year in our homes and many have become unprepared to handle the unexpected. Listen on to find out about five pillars of resilience from our guest’s book Raise Your Resiliency.
Today’s guest is Kris Coleman. Kris has served with the CIA conducting threat and vulnerability assessments and for the FBI as a special agent. He is also an author and the founder and CEO of Red Five Security, which provides state-of-the-art security and protective intelligence services.
What are you prepared for and what can you do to be more resilient in any scenario?
- [0:54] – Kris shares his background and the many paths he has taken on his career which includes everything from minor security to protecting against terrorists.
- [2:44] – When Kris was hired by a private family to redo their entire security platform, he realized what Red Five should be.
- [4:31] – There are some misconceptions regarding what Kris does with Red Five Security.
- [6:24] – Some affluent families that Kris works with are very public facing and some never leave the house. Kris explains the spectrum his clients are on.
- [8:10] – “The more you can stay off the radar, the better off you’re going to be.”
- [9:18] – Kris takes a look at a client’s digital footprint and looks at some things that can be done to help keep below the radar.
- [10:01] – Kris shares common sense tips for security. For high profile clients, this can get tricky.
- [11:37] – Under stress, fine motor skills are hard to execute.
- [12:44] – Chris shares an experience about being in a different country and they did not have ambulances.
- [13:56] – Even when clients travel to another state within the US, it is crucial for Kris’s team to know the environment they’re headed to.
- [15:38] – Even the best neighborhoods can easily turn into a dangerous place.
- [16:37] – Chris illustrates this with a news story of a private party being misunderstood as a huge organized event. Even something seemingly harmless can turn.
- [17:58] – Kris shares a story about an extremely successful businessman feeling completely helpless.
- [19:26] – We need individual resiliency on a national scale. This need created Resiliency for Executives and Leaders (REAL).
- [20:41] – Once Kris has worked with executives and leaders, they have a whole new sense of confidence.
- [21:56] – REAL isn’t just for the wealthy. This program teaches people skills needed to be prepared for anything, especially natural disasters and storms.
- [24:11] – For business owners, is your business ready for anything? Kris shares that his company had a plan for a pandemic prior to Covid-19.
- [25:00] – Kris is the author of Raise Your Resiliency. He planned on writing a book about security, but Covid changed his direction.
- [25:56] – The three units that need to survive and thrive are the individual, the family, and the business.
- [26:31] – The Five Pillars of Resilience are: awareness, mindset, fitness, skills, and relationship.
- [27:54] – Regarding mindset, when it comes to resilience, you need to have a positive, growth, and survival mindset.
- [28:53] – Kris gives examples of a catastrophic mindset that many people had during the pandemic. Mindset and awareness are a choice.
- [29:24] – Fitness applies to physical, mental, and emotional strength in the three units (individual, family, and business).
- [30:14] – Kris lists many skills that a lot of people are not ready for, specifically now after a year of being stuck at home.
- [31:13] – The fifth pillar is relationships. This applies to your neighbors and community and not just your immediate family.
- [34:37] – In a lot of cases, things can be problematic for people in just a couple of hours due to lack of planning and preparedness.
- [37:40] – Things may sometimes feel redundant when preparing for anything.
- [38:33] – Your geographical location makes a difference in the type of things you need to prepare for. Take a risk assessment of your environment.
- [40:23] – Make the situation work for you when preparing for different events. Look at the likelihood of things to prepare for.
- [41:25] – Kris shares how the risk of civil unrest is higher in certain parts of the country over others.
- [43:03] – Prepare for an emergency and if something doesn’t happen, practice using it and restock it. Cycle the emergency food and supplies every few months.
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- Raise Your Resiliency: You, Your Family, and Your Business Can Achieve Resiliency in an Uncertain World by Kris Coleman
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You’ve got a really interesting background including your time at Red Five Security. Can you give me and the audience a little overview of your background and how you got to where you’re at now?
Sure. I’ve been extremely fortunate to take a couple of different paths in my career. I started out coming out of Arkansas where I was born and raised, and I was hired by the CIA. I spent a bit of time with them working in executive protection. I was trained in intelligence tradecraft. I was able to travel to a variety of different corners of the earth, protecting agency protectees. I was very fortunate to really support and enable operations globally. From there, I was hired by the FBI. I went to be a special agent with the FBI. They moved me to San Francisco to work on Russian organized crime.
I spent a lot of time there working on organized crime until 9/11 hit. I became really one of the co-case agents for the 9/11 case in that field office. That was all in addition to doing things like executive protection for the director when he came to town, the Attorney General when he came to town or working on the SWAT team with my colleagues.
Four years later, after having done the Olympics in Salt Lake City, a major banking conference in Hawaii, and a bunch of other operations, it was time to try to get back to the East Coast. The CIA took me back. I went to work back there working weapons of mass destruction as well as traveling the world, training our liaison partners now to protect against terrorist threats, conduct investigations, and providing executive protection for their VIPs.
After all of that, I’ve been paid to travel the world and do really fascinating work, working with two of the best agencies on the planet, frankly. I was headhunted out of the government to work for a private family where I rebuilt their entire security program from soup to nuts.
That’s when Red Five was born. It really came to me and it was like this is what Red Five should be doing. We should be solving some of the harder problems for private families and corporations because I came from a place where that’s what we did. Both of those places—FBI and CIA. We tackle the hardest challenges globally. I can bring those experiences and skills to bear both private families and corporations.
We’ve been running hard now for 17 years at Red Five. I’m very fortunate to have a tremendous team and really with some of the most unique clients on the planet.
I imagine you have lots of very interesting clients that you can’t talk about.
Lots of clients we can’t talk about. A lot of cool things we do that we try to be very discreet about.
To me, it’s a really interesting transition going from protecting government officials and working on the government to all of a sudden dealing with families. It’s people that probably have almost no experience in what you’re training in, no even concept of what it is. I imagine as you rise up in the government, you get used to widening layers of security around you as you move around and as you become more well-known. But I can’t imagine that a whole lot of CEOs have much experience for themselves, let alone their families beyond the guy with the big muscles that walk next to them down the street.
Right. It’s definitely new for them. They have a perception of it due to TV or movies and that’s natural that that’s an input for them. A lot of times what they come to us for is not what they end up getting because it’s a misconception. It’s not the right thing. But we help them through that transition. The other piece of that is a lot of our private families are basically operating as nation-states. These are wealthy, affluent individuals with aircraft and maritime vessels, multiple homes on multiple continents, so very quickly starts to feel like an enterprise, not just a home.
From our perspective, there are aspects of it that make a ton of sense. From a business perspective, we’re taking away the unknown to help them be more effective in business and perhaps more profitable. From the private side, if the family is pretty public, there’s a whole issue there, a public-facing brand that they’re trying to protect. There are some interesting anomalies to that and there are really some unique analogies to it as well, so it works on both sides. It’s been a lot of fun and never dull, as they say.
I can imagine. To me, it’s so much more now that people are the brand themselves sometimes. I can see the competing, “We need to be in the public, we need to be on social media, we need to be seen, people need to know what we’re doing in order for our brand to stay visible.” But then you’ve got to pivot that against the, you want to have security and safety and not put yourself at risk while putting yourself at risk.
Yeah, it is. We always talk about the privacy and security continuum, which is on one end of that spectrum, you’ve got they’re wide open, they’re out there like entertainers, they need the public to further their brand, but there’s no security. There’s very little because they are so exposed. On the other end of the spectrum is you lock them up in a house, they never get to leave, and they are very, very secure, but they’re also very inconvenienced. They can’t interact with the public the way you’d want or the way that they would want.
We’re always operating on that spectrum left to right, where is that balance in the middle? But underneath that spectrum, what we like to see is the resiliency spectrum. Regardless of where they are, to the left, to the right, really very secure or very public, regardless of where they are or not, they should have some solid footing on resilience that they can always bounce back from whatever happens to them. It is a challenge dealing with the public personas, their desire or needs to be out there and gain fans and perhaps in the political world, work with the voters.
On the CEO side, or the research and development side, sometimes they just want to stay below the radar and that’s our client. That’s our best client. They understand the value of what we do, where we came from, and how we do it. We’re not typically the large typical bodyguard standing next to them on stage. We prefer to be the ones that are helping them avoid problems from the get-go and stay out of the spotlight.
Let’s talk a little bit about that and then we’ll work into the resiliency aspect of it. What are some of the things that you train people to do, the preemptive, how to have this base level security around yourself?
We always recommend that if we come up with a new client or even if it’s just giving recommendations to the general public, the more you can stay off the radar, the better off you’re going to be. We always said in the old shop, when I was running around overseas with my colleagues, it was like, “They don’t know you’re there. They can’t hurt you.” That really strikes a chord with some of the CEOs and the wealthy families we work with. You don’t want to run around the black suburban and 10 people jumping out of the truck and drawing attention to yourself.
From the beginning, step one is to stay below the radar. Physically, that’s easier than it is digitally. A lot of our families come to us and they’re like, “No one knows who I am.” I’m like, “Well, the internet’s taking care of that. Everyone knows who you are.” As low a profile as you think you have, the average adversary, the nemesis out there that’s trying to find you is going to find you. It’s going to be easy to find you. They’re going to know a lot about you. We always want our clients to reduce their profile online—we have a whole process of assessing that privacy audit—to understand where they are exposed online—what is their footprint—then help them reduce that over time.
There’s no silver bullet for this. There’s no magic potion that takes you out of the limelight, but it’s almost like a medical approach. We understand it, we diagnose it, and then we start to provide preventive treatment for it to keep your profile down. On the security side, a lot of the typical things still apply. Lock your doors and windows, don’t be flashy about your jewelry or cars. When you travel, don’t publish where you’re going. It’s just like you always told your children. Don’t tell people you’re going on vacation. Don’t tell them that mommy and daddy aren’t at home.
All those really good common sense tips still apply. For our private family clients, it goes really to another level of complexity when you’re talking about multiple homes. You’re talking about perhaps domestic staff working at the residence, pilots, chauffeurs, a whole variety of different people now are in play. Physically, it’s a whole series of security recommendations. Digitally, another series of privacy recommendations. Then once you leave your normal area of operations and you’re going to go overseas—you shared the story about China before—the same thing for us. When you go overseas, it’s not the same. We really start to stress some additional things when they leave their normal area of operations.
One of the things when I was reading your online information about traveling, in the back of my mind was like knowing where the US embassy is, their phone number, that’s a good thing. I never thought about actually programming it on the phones in advance. This mindset of you can always Google stuff. But I suppose that’s probably better to do that in advance rather than wait until in the heat of the moment.
Right, and that’s a good point. There are two elements that I think are important to note. One is that you mentioned the heat of the moment. Under stress, fine motor skills are hard to execute. Knowing that you have it in a 3×5 card literally in your coat pocket may be the most analog simple answer for anything. We like analog a lot because batteries fail, WiFi signals are lost, cell signals aren’t good. We’re a big fan of going back to analog. But to your point, having it at your fingertips as we talked earlier and local language is always helpful, too.
The other angle to that is the preparedness part. What can you do to be prepared ahead of time? The American embassy is a great place to go to, but it might be as easy as going to a nearby police station. The other thing I really like is understanding what medical aid is in that country. An ambulance sometimes is literally a truck to take you from A to B. But there’s not a medic or a single Band-Aid on board.
In one of our travels, when we were in Cambodia, a friend of ours had an allergic reaction to something. They went down to the hotel and asked for an ambulance to the nearest hospital. They’re like what’s an ambulance? They ended up taking a taxi to the hospital. Everything was actually surprisingly cheap and everything turned out OK, but suddenly it was like we thought lights and sirens ambulance, no problem. But it turned out not to be. We don’t even know what that is here.
Exactly. That was always our point of learning when we landed in environments like, “Where is the hospital? What is it like? What is an ambulance-like? Where can you find easy aid?” Sometimes it’s not the medical group that you’re going to call for that. It just depends. There’s a lot of other travel suggestions we make on our website and in our provided training that helps address some of these nuances for travelers going to new environments.
Now, it could be a US city that’s very different. Some cities, right now, we’re struggling with a lot of violence. Our recommendations are before you go to that city, let’s take a look at where you’re staying and what’s going on because it’s not all the same across our very large nation anymore. It’s very different.
Even within cities, things can change quite drastically from block to block. We were up in San Francisco a few years ago on Market Street. Downtown is pretty safe, but you get a couple of blocks off of the main road and things aren’t looking quite as safe anymore. Suspicious characters scattering when police cars drive down the street. You start realizing this is probably not good to be around when you see that sort of thing happening.
Right. That’s right where I worked actually. It was right there downtown at the federal building. My FBI car got broken into. I can’t do anything about it. There is no way to explain that other than they were looking for an easy way to get in and broke a window or two but didn’t find anything to take because we had extra measures to lock things up, but it happens.
It doesn’t take but a block or two to get off the main drag of a well-trafficked road to find yourself in an environment that’s not ideal. But even the best neighborhoods—we learned this in the past 18 months—can find themselves very quickly due to a smart mob or a flash mob on a phone saying, “Meet here; we’re going to wreak havoc.” We’ve got to pay attention to some of those groups that are out there intent on creating mischief in neighborhoods that aren’t used to it. That, again, people need to be ready for.
It’s even more than that. We’re recording here in early June. In late May there was a high school kid that wanted to get together with a couple of his friends down at the beach to celebrate graduation. He posted on TikTok about it. He was expecting five or 10 of his friends to show up. It turned out that thousands of people showed up thinking that this was some organized event.
The riot police were called in. Police agencies from neighboring cities were called in to get these thousands of people off the beach. Even if you think it’s something that it wasn’t, even if it wasn’t an insurrection, there was no ill intent initially, all of a sudden it ballooned out of control very, very quickly.
Yeah. What do people know to do in that environment? That’s where we come in and say, “Divide yourself in these new environments.” Here are some things to think about. Our world has evolved into this. This is now what we have to deal with, whether you’re a teenager or a single mom running through the area doing errands or a single father going to pick up your children at school. Whatever it is—grandparents navigating through the neighborhood—it doesn’t really matter who you are. You have to be ready for uncertain times nowadays.
Is this where the resiliency training comes in at these unexpected events?
We’ve taken the resiliency concept to a different level. This really started when I got several inquiries a couple of years ago. We’ve been working on this now for a while. I think it was fall of 2018, we started working on this. The inquiry was a 30-year-old, very successful businessman approached me and said, “You know, I just broke up with my fiancé. I’m curled up in a corner in a fetal position. I don’t know what to do with myself. My life is a wreck.” It was a feeling of helplessness. He was like, “I don’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t start a fire. I couldn’t change a tire on my car. I couldn’t defend myself.” He just fell into this strange position.
But I think it was a feeling many people are having at this point where we’re living our entire lives on phones and tablets, we’re not interacting with people enough, but we’ve lost that edge. We feel we’re in this false sense of security in our homes and in our cubicles. People approached us and said, “I’ve never camped out at night.” You’re just stunned by that.
We’re coming from a world where the government really inoculated us to stress by sending us to the academies that set their employees up for success, whether it’s the farm or whether it’s going down to Quantico. We were put through numerous scenarios over and over again with a bunch of variables.
We were inoculated by the time we landed somewhere. How to do certain things in certain environments with confidence, that if things go bad, there are ways to recover and bounce back and move through the mission without failing. Really, our entire nation needs that. We need some individual resiliency on a national scale.
That’s where REAL was born—Resiliency for Executives And Leaders. It was going to be about executives. It’s going to be about affluent families and their business leaders for the family businesses. Then it evolved into a family leader saying that the next generation of their family is not ready to lead their business. I’m like, that’s another whole thing.
Julie is going to come up and take over the business but she’s really not had enough experience to do that. That’s where they approach us and say, “Let’s take the family on a real experience. Let’s run this through a series of scenarios which are—call them urgent and have a sense of edge to them.”
There’s a lot of artificial stress, but we conduct them in a safe fashion because of where we came from and what we’ve done. But there’s a feeling of exposure for them. They’re like, “I don’t know if I can do this.” But the reality is, once we’re done with them, after two, three, or five days with them in Moab, Utah or Montana, or Colorado, or one of our training partners’ venues, they’ve got a whole new sense of confidence that they can deal with a medical emergency, a mechanical failure, deal with moving through a house in the dark at night when there’s someone at the door.
There’s a variety of things I think that can really change our mindset and be more resilient. That’s just to get through the day. The bigger planning exercises for civil unrest, for a pandemic, we get into planning for families and planning for businesses, so we get them into longer-term training experiences for them, too.
For people who don’t have a Fortune 500 company that they’re passing along to their kids, what are some of those things that people should be doing in terms of, like planning for a pandemic? Everyone should have some masks in their garage at some point. What are some of the more typical things that people should be doing to prepare themselves, just for the everyday challenges that show up in life?
It’s a great delineation. REAL isn’t for just the wealthy and it’s not just for corporations. There’s a whole series of classes for one day and two days. They’re really simple skills. It’s to start a fire, change a tire, find water, filter water, can you navigate through your neighborhood at night safely? Can you move through an area safely? There are elements of mobility there. There are elements of digital privacy there. There are elements around—do you have enough water and food in your garage if a tornado hits your town?
We’re in tornado season now. We’re several months into this. It’s been a quiet season, but the reality is hurricane season is here. Now what? I think they’re forecasting the biggest hurricane season on record this season. Are people ready for that?
I go back to that individual resilience on a national scale. FEMA is only going to be able to do so many things for people in those zones. If we were to rally individuals to be more resilient in neighborhoods that are prone to storms, whether it be hurricanes, tornadoes, look at wildfires we’ve had in the last couple of years out West, same concept.
Enough supplies and planning in place, we talk about a ready bag. If you need to get out of the city and go to a safe place because of a wildfire or some other issue going on, what’s in that bag? What does that individual have? What does the child have? What does an elderly parent have? What do you do for the pet? That element of planning is really key to the real experience.
But then you get into, what if we’re not going to evacuate? We’re going to shelter in place? Now we’re going to stay in place with no power for multiple days. Do you have potable water? Do you have food? Do you have what it takes to defend your home in case of a looter or some other issue happening? There’s elements around that. There’s the food, the water, the navigation, the shelter, the personal defense. Can individuals be ready for that?
Then we take you to the next level for businesses. As a business owner—you, me, others listening—is your business ready to deal with that? We had a continuous operations plan in place when COVID hit. We simply tested it and then the next week executed it. We were great. We were fortunate to run virtually, but what do you do if you’re a small grocery store? What do you do if you’re a restaurant? What do you do if you’re a different business?
Everybody’s got something different, and we can help businesses prepare that way. It can be a small shop. It can be the large enterprise, but there are really key elements. There are five pillars of resiliency that are really important that we use in all of our training, and it’s also in the book that I wrote.
What’s the name of the book so we can make sure we link it in the show notes, and what are those five pillars?
The book was published in October of last year, and it’s called Raise Your Resiliency. I was going to write a security book in early 2020 and the pandemic changed that pretty quickly. I jumped right on the topic, wrote this last year and published it in October. Really, what it talks about are some really key things about us as a human race and then how do we go from being really vulnerable to being very resilient.
It assumes one thing that everybody has one goal and everybody’s one goal is to survive and thrive. Everybody wants to do that. What we then put forward is that there are three key units to help every person achieve that goal. Those critical units are the individual, the family, and then the business. That could be your livelihood. It could be that you’re the CEO of a company. It’s a whole spectrum of business.
In order for those three units to survive and thrive, there are really five things they have to focus on. Those five things are awareness, mindset, fitness, skills, and relationships. If your family focuses on those five, if you individually focus on those five, and then your business focuses on those five, then you can achieve that one goal to survive and thrive. It’s the five, three, one. Five pillars, three critical units, one goal.
The reality here is everybody needs to be aware of their surroundings, they need to be aware of themselves, their limitations, what’s going on. What that really speaks to is stop focusing on social media. Stop focusing on what the spin is on a topic. Get some real ground truth about what’s going on in your neighborhood. Get real ground truth about what the threats may be.
It could be as simple as paying attention to what a NOAA weather report tells you as opposed to what Facebook is telling you. Pay attention to really what your neighbor is saying about what’s happening down the block as opposed to what went out on Twitter last night.
It’s not that those platforms are bad, but you want to rely on an element of reality in your information, a validity. There’s awareness around your family, your parents, your neighborhood, your country, yourself, and basing your decisions on reality. That’s the element of awareness.
Mindset is really what was beaten into us at the farm and was beaten into us at Quantico. That is, you have to have a positive mindset, you have to have a growth mindset, and a survival mindset. Positive and growth just gets you through the day, right? You want to keep learning. You want to pay attention to what’s going on around you.
Then you get into a survival mindset, which is when the Bureau, for example, we’ve had now several instances of shootings over the years, but we were all trained from the Miami shootout, which happened years ago but became a cornerstone of street survival skills for FBI agents. That is, you fight through it. Do not ever give up even though you may be facing overwhelming odds, overwhelming firepower but you can be smarter and you cannot quit and not give up.
It’s the same thing for human beings. It’s the same thing for businesses. It’s the same thing for families. Don’t have a catastrophic mindset. I can’t tell you through the pandemic, it’s like, “This is terrible. My business is never going to make it. My family is terrible, we’re never going to make it. This is awful. The economy is awful.”
How about, “We’re looking for opportunities.” It may not feel good but we’ve got different opportunities. I’m using my relationships to encourage this growth mindset, this survival mindset. That really is critical to people, the mindset. It’s a choice. You wake up in the morning and you get to say, “I’m going to be more aware of myself. I’m going to have a positive mindset.”
And then fitness. Fitness is really about mental, physical, emotional. And then for business, it’s about how are you flexible, do you have the endurance, do you have the resources to endure something like a downed economy?
Fitness is really about the individual, the business, and the family, but take your family members on a hike. Get them outside. Get them off their devices. We’re just so stuck to them. I get the value of them and everybody has them, we have them, but the fitness element is really important to help manage stress. It’s not about push-ups or bench presses or how many miles you can run, or how fast you can run. It is about endurance. It is about strength. It is about flexibility, both emotionally and physically.
Skills, now we’re really into the core of the real experiences. Can you light a fire? Can you start a fire? Can you defend yourself? Can you navigate without GPS? Can you move through the wilderness without really creating peril for yourself or your family or your colleagues?
Let’s talk about first aid. Let’s talk about fixing the truck when it breaks down. Can you change the tire? Can you deal with the water pump failure? All of these different things around skills are also seasonal. Where do you find yourself in the winter? Where do you find yourself in the hot desert? What do you need to do in a foreign environment where they don’t speak your language and you’re trying to communicate with them to get to the hospital or whatever it is you need?
The skills element is really important to this piece. If you’re stuck in a cubicle all day, and for the last several years, and that’s all you’ve done, we can put you outside. We can immerse you in that environment.
Then lastly, it’s about relationships. The fifth pillar is relationships. That is your family. Yes, it’s your spouse, but it’s also your neighbors, it’s also your community, it’s where you fit in the country, and knowing who in your neighborhood. I know that down the street there is an emergency room physician that lives. I also know that two doors down there is a retired US marshal. I know that in my neighborhood I’ve got colleagues that can help defend the neighborhood and I’ve got colleagues to help deal with medical. But there are also people in the neighborhood that are mechanics. They work on classic cars.
Just inventorying the relationships can really help you sometimes have a better awareness of what’s going on in your neighborhood. Then you know that no one gets through life alone. Someone’s going to help you. I mean, we’re helping each other today on the podcast in hopes that other listeners are going to rely on that. But knowing what those relationships are getting rid of the bad ones. Just have the people around you that are positive and can help you survive and thrive. That’s really the key. Awareness, mindset, fitness, skills, and relationships: those are five pillars that help the three critical units—individual, family, business—to survive and thrive.
I like your reference there under the relationships community. When you’re talking about that, I start thinking, “Yeah, I know the guy over there. He works in law enforcement. That guy, he’s a firefighter.” But I also started thinking the opposite of, “I know this neighbor has mobility issues. Gosh, if there’s an earthquake, I really need to make sure my own household is good.” Then after that, “I know she lives alone. She has mobility issues. I better make sure I check on her before I check on the firefighter.”
Right. During the freeze we had in Texas, one of our REAL instructors was like, “I practiced everything. We had no power. All the water was frozen. I had to help my neighbors. I had to pay attention to what’s going on. I had to drive two hours to pick up my daughter.” I mean this went on and on, but that was a tremendous test for Texas and in those areas in the South that were hit during that freeze.
I see the same thing happening in Southern California as we’ve had an increase in wildfires, which in and of itself is a risk of awareness and being able to get out of your house on short notice. But the utility companies are also now preemptively shutting off power where there’s a concern that the power lines might start a fire. They’re like, “Oh yeah, we’re going to have a wind event for the next week. We potentially may be without power for 10 days.”
You immediately start going, “My fridge will last about three hours.”
That’s right. The fridge will last for three hours. It’s going to be really dark in this house.
It’s going to be really dark. My oven is electric. My stovetop is electric. Running out of resources just to make the basic days through. I think there’s a case that within a couple of hours, things will be problematic for people if you’re not planning for it.
That’s true, very true. Medicines, certain things that you need have to be refrigerated in some instances. You have to deal with clean water. You may have to deal with issues around elderly and keeping them cool or otherwise mobile, as you said. There’s a whole series of things to come with that. Pets are a whole other angle. What do you have to do with pets? We talk about all of these in the books. We talk about how you prepare for these different challenges. Should I stay or should I go during certain challenges?
When is that decision to bug out, to get out of here, to take the ready bag? Is there a ready box in the truck with more gear and supplies for a longer-term duration, or is that stored in the garage where you might need it? Then where are you going to go? What’s the plan? Because leaving might actually create more risk, and that’s really a big challenge.
Or you may not be able to get where you’re trying to go if you don’t have enough resources to get there. My wife is a huge fan of never letting the gas tank on the car get below half.
There you go.
Because it’s like what if we need to go more than 150 miles and something happens? I live in Southern California. The reality of an earthquake and not having access to electricity for a couple of days needs to be planned for more than just, “We might be without power for an hour.” We’ve had those conversations. Where would we go if this thing happens? Where would we go if that thing happens?
For our family—there’s a number of us here in Southern California—and one of the interesting things, historically, that happened with earthquakes, during earthquakes—I’m not sure if that is quite the same with cell services—that local calls were nearly impossible to make during earthquakes. But long-distance calls could go through.
We always had this mindset of like, “We have one family member that’s on the East Coast; if there’s ever problems here on the West Coast and we need to call them and let them know we’re OK. Everyone else to call them to check in with them because they’re not going to be dealing with trying to find power, phones and things like that.” They probably have the wherewithal to be in a different mindset, a different frame of mind than we would be.
Sure. I mean we’ve gone so far as to set up different little SATCOM messaging receivers. We’ve got a little comm plan in our family that we’re always going to have these available if everything goes. Redundancy is part of that resiliency piece. It makes a ton of sense. Know the workarounds, know what you’re going to do.
You mentioned sat phones, I think is what you said. How do you set those thresholds at what’s enough for my family? Because someone who’s struggling to pay their mortgage, they’re not going to be out and they’re not going to have sat phones.
For your clients, where do you set that threshold or where’s the conversation around setting thresholds for what is enough?
It’s a conversation around risk appetite. What is your risk appetite? I mean, if I’m in rural Arkansas, the reality is of me being involved in civil unrest is pretty low. But there’s also a pretty good chance I’ll have the ability to find water, that I’ll have access to food whether it’s local or I’m going to be able to find it in the wilderness there if things really go bad for a long period of time. But if I’m in DC or I’m in a major city, then we have different problems. It is really almost like a risk assessment of your environment.
I would not have thought that a couple of years ago my home would be without power for nine days here inside the Washington metro area because of a storm that went through. What are we doing in the nation’s capital where we can’t restore power within eight days for what was a significant storm but not a devastating storm? But they just simply couldn’t get it together and figure out that we did not have power. We kept reporting, “It’s fixed.” I’m like, “It’s definitely not fixed.”
This risk appetite is where it comes back to for individuals. Understand the environment you’re in, understand the likelihood of these things are going to happen, understand the consequences if they were to happen, and then you’re into the space where I probably don’t need a sat phone. I’m probably going to be fine. I’m going to be down for a couple days of power, but I don’t really need to talk to a lot of people. Maybe it’s more of a contingency plan that if my environment goes down, the communication that I’m all right with is that you’re not going to hear from me.
You figure out the right mechanism here that you’re going to call someone on the East Coast or they’re going to call back, but it might be that you don’t need a sat phone. But you’re going to make an effort and make contact if you do need help, whether it’s through local law enforcement, et cetera, or it’s through another, but make the situation work for you.
I’ve got people coming in all the time like, “I’m going to buy a 1972 pick-up because it doesn’t run electronics in the vehicle. It’s not going to be hit by an EMP.” OK, electromagnetic pulse is what we’re talking about. I agree that an EMP is not a good thing if it happens over the United States. I totally agree with that. But we have to get into likelihood and consequence.
Do I tell people to prepare for EMP? It’s like telling people to prepare for 9/11. It’s highly unlikely, it is very hard to detect, and it’s going to be a massive consequence if it were to happen and if they were successful. It was a tragic event but it was one of those in that fourth quadrant of the risk analysis chart. It was definitely a “Can they pull it off, and if they do, it’s a big consequence.”
Same thing for people preparing. Figure out what your risk assessment is for certain things happening. Did you see civil unrest for the last couple of years? Really pretty high. I would not have expected that same rating in a town in Arkansas, but there was that in the last year. You’ve got to pay attention—back to the awareness piece. What’s going on in our neighborhood? What makes sense? Then really clearly line up what your budget is and be reasonable with that risk assessment.
“I’m going to spend X. I’m not going to go crazy. I’m not buying the bunker in Ohio and refurbishing it for $1 million and then I’m going to go live there.” That’s not practical for anyone, honestly. I’ve had families call me and say, “I want to go build that.” I’m like, “I don’t think you understand that was tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of US dollars spent to build that bunker in that location.” “That’s OK, I want one.” I’m like, “OK, that’s not the normal response for most Americans.” “I understand that.” I think people just need to make the best budget decision for themselves.
That, to me, is you want to think of all these things. Start thinking about this when there’s not an event going on.
That’s right. Exactly.
Plan for the emergency before the emergency happens as opposed to trying to figure it out in the midst of all the drama and all the chaos.
Yeah. Spend the weekend. Get the water in place, get the food in place, get the supplies you need, and then organize it right, put it away, and enjoy your life. Then six months later, break it out and go camping. Make it an exercise of your resiliency plan. Then you can replace the foodstuffs and the water and you’re refreshed and ready to go, but you also get practical exercise out of it.
It’s funny that you mentioned after six months, cycle the food out. I don’t know what the event was, but there was some event. Maybe it was an earthquake. I thought, “I really need to make sure we have food in the cabinet that will get us a week, but I need to have some longer term, it’s not going to be really good tasting, but if we’re down for two weeks, we have something.” At some point, I went back and checked and it was, like, “This expired three years ago.”
It was something that had a five- or 10-year lifespan. We really shouldn’t just take it with us camping. Once you set these things up, there’s some level of maintenance that has to go on with these plans, whether somebody moves or your supplies have to get cycled out. It’s not quite as easy as setting it and forgetting it. For all of these things, there’s an ongoing maintenance aspect to it.
I totally agree.
If people want to learn more about Red Five and services that they offer, how can they find you guys?
We’re most easily found on the website, www.red5security.com. I’m also on LinkedIn—Red Five is also easy to find on LinkedIn. We now have a REAL Experiences web page that is live, and we also have REAL Experiences on Instagram. They can find this out there. If you need to go find REAL Experiences today, it’s easy to find on our Red Five website. It’s a tab at the top. That will take you right to the E-commerce page.
We’ll make sure that we link straight to that page from the podcast’s show notes as well.
Excellent. Then the book is available on Amazon, Raise Your Resiliency.
We’ll make sure to link that as well.
Kris, thank you so much for coming on the Easy Prey Podcast today.
My pleasure, Chris. It’s really great to be here, and I hope everybody enjoys the tips, and I hope everybody stays safe out there.
- Easy Prey Podcast
- General Topics
- Home Computing
- IP Addresses
- Online Privacy
- Online Safety
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