When you think of spies you probably think of fictional spies like James Bond or Jason Bourne. Maybe you think of historical spies like Mata Hari or George Blake. But whatever you do, you probably don’t think that spy secrets will help you grow or even protect your business.
And no, I’m not talking about industrial espionage either.
My family is very important to me. Keeping them safe is my top priority.
As a long time Bond and Bourne fan, a book with the title Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life (affiliate link) immediately grabbed my attention.
As the book title suggests, this is a practical guide to safety and survival techniques you can use to keep you and your family safe.
The book by Jason Hanson a former CIA intelligence officer and former Shark Tank Contestant – covers a wide range of skills like honing your “survival intelligence” to expert techniques like advanced driving skills or disappearing “off the grid”.
Whilst most people of course probably won’t need every technique in the book, there’s a number of things that everyone should know (such as the safest place to sit on a plane in the event of an crash or emergency landing – sit within 5 rows of an exit maximises your chances of getting out alive)
It pays to be paranoid.
In an increasingly volatile world, do you really know who’s on the other side of your front door when someone rings your doorbell?
Some of the advice you may never need unless you travel to high risk countries or live a life where people might want to cause you actual harm, however, you never know and it pays to be aware.
For example: how often have you left your kids toys outside at night? Have you ever thought that they could be used as a weapon or used to break windows to gain entry to your house? Me neither. My son’s toys are safely locked away at night now.
For me, living in New Zealand, one of the biggest threats we face are natural. New Zealand is situated on the Pacific Rim or “Ring of Fire” (an area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.)
In 2011 a huge 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the city centre of Christchurch killing 185 people and injuring several thousand. Of course, that was the immediate effect. Power, water and basic services were disrupted for days and 5 years later the city is still scared from the devastation.
Here’s Christchurch Cathedral 5 years after the earthquake:
Unlike a volcano, with an earthquake you get no warning.
It could happen in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping in bed, when you’re at work or when you’re out enjoying yourself. This video was taken shortly after the earthquake struck.
But what happens next and how prepared you are, could literally save your life.
For example whether you have access to clean, safe drinking water, food and shelter.
Consequently many people keep 3 days of water and a similar amount of tinned food in the event of a disaster occurring. Equally, many people don’t.
Who do you think stands the better chance of surviving?
If you don’t run the risk of a natural disaster occurring, maybe you spend time in your car, maybe you spend time driving at night or in isolated areas. Maybe with patchy mobile reception.
What happens when you break down or are involved in an accident, could also literally save your life.
Say you breakdown in a remote area, or involved in an accident that leaves you or someone else injured, do you have warm clothes, food and water or a first aid kit to hand?
Like many people I spend a fair amount of time in the car on family trips or visiting clients.
One of the sections in the book “Vehicle Gear” really made me stop and reassess what we keep in the car and in other locations which we can get to quickly if we needed to.
For example, Hanson recommends keeping a tool box and a 72 hour kit in your car. (Other 72 hour kits can be kept in your office, boat, home).
Here’s some suggestions as to what to keep in your toolbox:
Items to include in your toolbox:
Axe – for clearing branches that might be in the road
Tow rope – for hauling your own or someone else’s car
Hand cranked radio – so you don’t run down your car battery or worry about batteries to find out information about what’s going on (also doubles up as a torch and source of power for your smartphone)
Cigarette lighter in case you need to light a fire
First Aid Kit
Local Map – as a back up to your GPS/Cell phone
Knife (Single blade) 0r Multifunction tool like the Leatherman
Collapsible shovel (Hanson likes the Glock Entrenching – Tool) which is handy for digging you out of snow or mud.
Seventy Two Hour Kit
Hanson states that a seventy two hour kit is an absolutely critical items for you to have in your car.
Quoting directly from the book…
“Should you end up in an accident in an obscure area, your car breaks down, or you’re trapped in snow, the items in this small backpack can keep you alive.
This kit contains 3 days worth of food and water. This pack is small and is not going to take up much space in your car and it’s just not something you can afford to go without.
It’s easy to buy these pre-made packs or make one yourself. A good pack contains the following items:
Food bars – you want at least 6 high energy bars about 400 calories each. They should come wrapped in water proof packaging.
Six boxes of aqua blox – this is enough water to last 3 days. This emergency water is Coast Guard approved and has a 5-year shelf life.
Water purification tablets – you should have at least 10 purification tablets. Ten tablets will purify as many as five two litres bottles of water. To use them simply drop them in the water, wait a few minutes and the water is safe to drink.
AM/FM radio – make sure you also have batteries. The radio allows you to monitor the weather and the other radio stations in the event of an emergency.
Thirty hour survival candle – this candle comes with an adjustable wick and can also be used as a small camp stove to heat food.
Five in one emergency survival whistle – in addition to the whistle, the five in one has a signal mirror, compass, waterproof match container and flint for starting fires.
Waterproof matches – you want a box full of waterproof matches in case your gear gets wet during an emergency.
Emergency sleeping bag – The bag should be waterproof and windproof and retain 90% of your body heat.
Emergency poncho – get a poncho that includes a hood to protect your entire body from the elements.
Survival knife – some survival knives contain as many as sixteen different tools, including a Phillips-head screwdriver, can opener, corkscrew, reamer, manicure blade, sturdy reamer, hook, disgorger, slot-screw driver, key ring, toothpick, fish scaler, tweezers, woodsaw, cutting blade and cap lifter.
Respirator dust mask – you want a mask that is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Pocket tissues – have at least 3 packs of tissues
Safety goggles – to protect your eyes from debris during a disaster
Sewing kit – to use for sewing clothing or to repair tears in tents or other shelters. Make sure you have safety pins, needles buttons and thread.
Twenty four hour hygiene kit – consider having a toothbrush, toothpaste, Wetnaps for your hands a bar of soap, shampoo and conditioner, dental floss pick, hand lotion, body lotion, deodorant, razor, comb, sanitary pads, shaving cream and a wash cloth [I also add SPF 50 suncream and insect repellent]
Small First Aid Kit – you want to have bandages in different sizes, fabric strips, alcohol pads and gauze pads.
Once you’ve got all that kit together, you’re going to want a bag to keep it secure in.
Remember that the bag you use you might need to walk some distance with it so a bag that’s comfortable to wear will be worth it’s weight in gold to you. A good source of suitable bags is your local army surplus store – failing that, the Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack isn’t too pricey and gets 4.5 stars on Amazon, or the more pricey 5.1 Tactical Rush 24 Back Pack with 5 stars.
Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life by Jason Hanson is a really practical book that will really change the way you think about every day situations and how being prepared may well save your life. I highly recommend it. Well worth checking it out.