Preparation is the Best Emergency Tool

Ready for disaster - checking off the items on the emergency preparedness form

Do you have a well-stocked emergency kit in your home and/or vehicle? If so, I tip my hat to you. It’s always best to have emergency products in case you need them. The thing about safety products is that they are designed to help you during or shortly after an emergency situation. Wouldn’t it be great to have things that prevented emergencies from happening altogether? Well, there are safety supplies that do this. Rather than tell you about these products, I’d like to talk to you about the situations where you might need them. I’ll also share five tips for choosing the best products for helping prevent emergency situations.

Visual Deterrents Prevent Some Emergencies

What’s a “visual deterrent?” Rather than share a dictionary definition, I’ll share an example that most of us will understand. A police car parked in plain sight on a busy road is as a visual deterrent for speeding. Think about it. Anyone driving down that road sure will slow down when they see that black and white vehicle on the side of the road. The officer won’t have to write a single ticket because no speed limit laws will be broken. People will self-regulate out of fear of being pulled over and given a ticket.

I often wonder what visual deterrent could’ve stopped someone from breaking into our house during the holiday season of 1984. The Buckler family visited some out-of-state relatives that year and when we returned, we found that someone pried the handle off our front door and got inside the house. They helped themselves to my mother’s Hummel set, the family’s VCR, and many other valuables. Even after we replaced the lock on the door, it was months before any of us got a good night’s sleep in that house.

Today, I wonder if something like this cylindrical lockset would have discouraged that break in. Maybe the crooks would’ve seen this sturdy lock and decided that our house was too much trouble to bother with. A bad guy doesn’t want to call attention to himself while trying to force his way into a home, after all. These locks look sturdy enough to be a problem for any punk with a pry bar.

One of the Best Visual Deterrents

Never underestimate the power of a camera. So many crimes are caught on tape these days, which usually ends in successful prosecutions of the guilty parties. (It’s hard for someone to deny they stole a car and led police on a 50-mile high speed chase when it’s all on camera!) There might be statistics on how many people get convicted because security cam footage. What we have no way of knowing is the number of crimes are prevented because of these devices. I’m willing to believe that it’s quite substantial.

Only a complete idiot would break into a home or business that’s protected by security cameras. Even if they “get away with it,” they’ll eventually get arrested. Someone recognizes them and tips off police for a cash reward. In many cases, it’s the criminal’s friends or family. So much for that whole “no snitching” thing, I guess.)

Once you understand that cameras are a visual deterrent, it makes perfect sense to have them at your home or office. You could choose to have anything from a security/surveillance system to something as simple as a doorbell camera. Pro tip: Be sure to put these cameras in places where would-be criminals will see them. This is usually enough to persuade them to not make your property a target of their insidious deeds.

What You See is Important, Too

Keeping your eyes open is one way to avoid emergencies. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the greatest dangers behind us, especially when we’re driving. I learned this lesson from my dad, who was horrible at driving his pickup truck in reverse. No matter how many times he checked his rear-view mirror – and had me do the same from the passenger seat – he would ding someone’s bumper or run over an errant shopping cart. These struggles led to huge spikes in his auto insurance rates which mom didn’t appreciate.

Given Dad’s driving record, I’m glad my siblings and I never played in the driveway. Statistics suggest that at least 50 kids get hurt each week when they’re struck or run over by a vehicle in reverse. About 60 percent of these rollover accidents involve a truck or SUV. Some people just don’t pay attention when they back out of the driveway. Other are too distracted by their cellphones, earbuds, or double mocha frappe to pay attention to what might be behind them. These distracted drivers can ruin lives in a matter of seconds.

Bad people are another danger that can lurk behind your car. For example, my friend Terri was stopped at a red light in a sketchy part of town when her eye detected movement in her rear-view mirror. Being a streetwise city girl, pushed on the gas pedal and roared down the empty street. From a safe distance, she checked her rear-view mirror again. She saw four or five men getting off the ground and standing in the street. Apparently, they used a parked car as cover to try to sneak up behind her vehicle to car jack her… or worse.

Since we’re talking about prevention here, let’s discuss what could prevent both of these scenarios. A backup camera would have been useful in any situation where what’s behind your vehicle matters. When you can fully see what’s behind your car, van, or truck, you can avoid it altogether. It doesn’t get more preventative than that.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Preventative Products

Avoiding trouble is always the best way to deal with it, and having the right tools makes avoiding trouble that much easier. But how do you know what you need? The answer varies from person to person because we all have different lifestyles. For example, jackets and flare guns are some of the safety items that I have. If you don’t enjoy fishing or spend a lot of times on boats, these might night be the best safety products for you. To help you find the items you need to prevent emergency situations, I’ve shared these five tips:

1. Think Like a Criminal

If you want to protect your home, you have to get into the mindset of someone who would want to break into it. We all have a shadow side, according to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, so this exercise shouldn’t be difficult. If you’re the type who would ring the doorbell and try to con your way inside, a doorbell camera might stop you. If you prefer to sneak around the house in the dark, a security cam system with night vision is in order. And if you’re the kick-the-door-down kind of thug, strong locks might be the solution. Be creative and trust your instincts to find the right security and surveillance products to help you stay safe.

2. Tap Into Your Deepest Fears

We all have fears, insecurities, and anxieties lurk in the darkened corners of our mind? Is your vehicle breaking down in a bad part of town one of them? A fully charged jump starter could be something you should have in your trunk. It’s also a good idea to get a tactical flashlight and a few other emergency tools to give you some peace of mind. Only when you can admit your fears will you be able to know what you need to put in your roadside emergency kit.

3. What Did You Wish You Had?

We’ve all been through emergency situations in the past. Not to freak you out or anything but these things can and do happen to people more than once in a lifetime. To prevent or prepare yourself, try to think back to the emergency situations you’ve experienced. Can you remember what you needed or wish you would’ve had when these things went down? Good, because those are the things you’ll need in your home and/or vehicle.

4. You’re Not Alone in This

Emergencies happen to people from all walks of life. Chances are, a close friend and/or family member has experienced a few close calls. Reach out and ask them to share their stories with you. You’ll get a ton of helpful advice from someone who’s already “been there” and made it through to the other side. They’ll tell you what helped them or they wish they would’ve had when the chips where down. Be sure to listen closely if you want to truly be prepared.

5. Be Sure to Ask Questions

If you’re buying emergency tools for the first time, it’s natural to have questions. Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s only natural to want to know you’re getting what you need instead of what the salesperson wants you to buy. The electronic products retailer should be able to answer any questions you have and make a product recommendation if you need it. I recommend writing all of your questions down before you pick up the phone to make that call. This way, you won’t forget anything when you have the product tech on the line. Being fully informed is the only way to make any buying decisions.

I hope the tips and information will help you be better prepared for emergencies. Stay safe and good luck!