WHITE PAPER: 10 Things That Can Save Your Life

Common sense: not so common when it comes to security

Today more than ever, women are traveling around the globe pursuing their career goals. And as good as we are, we must remain vigilant because women are often seen as easy crime targets, often times by virtue of our own behaviors. This can be said about men as well. Generally speaking, many instances of violence have occurred that could have been avoided with some of the precautions that we will share with you.

There are only three elements to a crime: a victim, an offender, and of course the opportunity. What if you had the power to eliminate the opportunity by simply transforming your behaviors? This article is designed to help you do just that— transform behaviors to change a dangerous and potentially deadly outcome to the best outcome, your survival.

Recognition and avoidance of a violent encounter is the best practice. Certainly there is nothing wrong with taking a physical self-defense class. In fact, anything that you can do to better prepare yourself in the event of an attack is an advantage. But while both authors of this article are considered “expert marksmen,” they steadfastly maintain the philosophy that they “would much rather avoid a firefight than be in one.”

This philosophy is not based on physical strength, but rather mental preparedness. It is a mindset that we choose to embed in every thought and every emotion. It is the God-given instinct to survive that we are born with combined with the unwavering determination to protect and defend ourselves … violently if necessary. This mindset emphasizes a level of consciousness that forces us to practice vigilance. It is based on the theory that if we make a conscious effort to change the simple things that we do every day, we can control in part the outcome of a situation.

It is not one specific action, but rather a series of actions that requires training and a “survival mindset.” It is a conscious and continuous act of scanning and assessing. In short, it helps you to prepare, recognize, and avoid a potentially dangerous situation. To achieve this, we focus on training that is particularly illustrative of the dangers of inattention to potential threats in situations where people tend to be complacent or distracted, and that offers excellent opportunities to teach specific, potentially life-saving behaviors as a response to those threats.

Here are our Top Ten Survival behaviors that everyone should know. Learn these behaviors, practice them, and be prepared if and when things do not go as planned. Empower yourselves and take control of your personal safety. No one else will.

Top Ten Survival Mindset Safety Principals you can follow to significantly reduce your chance of being a victim of violent crime.

1. File a travel plan.

Tell someone where you are going, the route you plan to get there, and when you plan on being back. If the police do not know where you are, they don’t know where to start looking.

2. No one should love your life more than you!

Do not rely on the police to protect you. Police officers and security officers will respond to the scene after the crime has been reported. Bodyguards, armored cars, security officers are good, but nothing can protect you better than yourself, your instinct, your preparedness, and being aware of your surroundings and willing to do what it takes to save yourself.

3. Know the lay of the land.

When you are not familiar with the area, either nationally or internationally, research your destination in advance; learn the place, look at a map, know your surroundings. What do you see from your position that “stands out,” perhaps a bridge, a factory, a lake or stream, a hotel or service station? If you should have to call for help, knowing where you are and what is close to you will be very useful information and vital to survival in the event of an attack.

Always look for things that are out of the ordinary; suspicious people who are loitering or attempting to conceal their actions. Pay attention to your senses. If you feel uncomfortable do not exit the building or your vehicle.

Many times during our travels we encounter people traveling to a foreign country who have no idea about where they are going, with only knowledge that they will be picked up by someone from the local office of their company to be taken to the office of the company abroad. This provides plenty of opportunities for a potential attacker to devise a plan for you to become a victim.

4. If you think you are irresistible, think twice.

Confidence is important, and we all know confidence is attractive, however if suddenly someone wants to get to know you, follows you, becomes very interested in you, knows too much information about you, or you have already seen them in various other places you have been, think twice. You may have been followed or are being targeted.

5. Trust your gut feeling.

Pay attention to your senses. Think of your body as a perfectly fine-tuned instrument. Our senses will alert us to danger, but we must listen. Just as an animal can sense danger, so can we. The problem is we are often too busy or distracted, and we often tune out signals when our senses are alerting us to danger.

Our senses will alert us to the threat. Victims choose to ignore the warning signs and make the deadly mistake of dismissing their sense of fear, assuming that nothing will happen.

Being in tune with our instincts allows us to recognize when we may be in danger. When we do not like a situation or when we are uncomfortable, we need to escape the danger zone. And despite our mother’s teachings of being nice, proper and graceful, more survivable is to be alert, trust your gut feelings, and act accordingly.

Herein lies one basic principle relating to your personal safety that you can always rely on: “When in doubt…don’t.”

6. Hit it and quit it.

Approach your destination like you are “on a mission.” It is perfectly acceptable to make direct eye contact with people passing you. Look behind you. Let those around you know that you “see” them. Walk with confidence. You have probably seen people searching aimlessly trying to find their vehicle in the parking lot of crowded shopping mall, or perhaps women with their heads buried in their purses searching for their keys. This type of behavior is exactly what an offender will be looking for.

7. Trust no one.

Remember what we teach our children: “Strangers are anyone that we don’t know.” If you are approached by someone who is attempting to engage in idle conversation to win you over, trust your instincts. Remember that bad guys can look like good guys. It is okay to be rude and never allow anyone into your home or hotel room that you do not know. Always look through the privacy hole in the door to see who is on the other side before you open it.

8. The more the merrier.

We all have woken up jet lagged at an odd hour, miles from our own bed and find it impossible to go back to sleep. Many are tempted to go for a run, a stroll, get to know the place you are in. We have seen many instances when these circumstances have produced victims. Work out in the hotel, do push-ups in your room, read that book you have been meaning to read for ages, or get someone to go for that run outside with you. There is safety in numbers, however you still need to let people know your plans, know your surroundings, and of course be alert.

9. Refuse to be a victim.

Regardless of the circumstance, never get into a vehicle with the offender or go to another location. If you see yourself in this situation you must attempt to flee, fight, scream, and do whatever is necessary to get away. Fight the good fight.

10. Never forget the 3 Hs: Hit hard, hit fast, and haul ass.

Statistics show that if you react in the first few seconds of an attack you have substantially higher chances of escaping. So be alert, and if you ever find yourself under attack, act without hesitation. Your attacker is expecting 100% compliance, so you must do the unexpected and react quickly. This is where training is paramount. Have a plan, and practice it.

  • Hit hard!
  • Hit fast!
  • Haul ass!

Try to run and get some distance between you and your attacker. It is very difficult to hit a moving target. This is where it counts so you need to “run for your life,” literally.


You are the most important person when it comes to your security. Follow your instinct, be alert, be aware of your surroundings, have a plan, and be confident about it. If you do this, you are not only you are minimizing your risk, but if you ever are a victim under attack, you can react rapidly and your chances of escaping are substantially higher.

Learn and practice the behaviors above. They are not about fighting to hold on to your material possessions; your purse, you vehicle, or your expensive jewelry. They are about survival.

Fabiana Lacerca-Allen is president of Ethiprax LLC and director of the board and audit committee member at ArthroCare Corporation. She was featured in Hispanic Executive's "Best of 2013."
Fabiana Lacerca-Allen is president of Ethiprax LLC and director of the board and audit committee member at ArthroCare Corporation. She was featured in Hispanic Executive’s “Best of 2013.”
Major Donna Kinsey (ret.) is the founder of TEC III, LLC Training Enhancement Center.