Fall is known for change; time change, temperature change, and change in clothing. Sometimes, change can welcome chaos. With the upcoming hectic season, we want to offer a few tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this autumn. Many of these tips may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook something so seemingly simple when you’re in the midst of chaos (no matter how fun that chaos may be). Below, you’ll find a few ways you can upgrade your preparedness this season, as well as some tips you can share with your family.
Don’t forget to check out our bonus tips at the end! These are our top 5 safety tips to share with your family as we head into a new season.
Time to bust out your favorite hoodie! Cooler temperatures mean you’ll naturally be wearing more clothes, which is great for the EDC community. Sweatshirts and jackets make it easier to conceal larger firearms without printing. Unfortunately, this is true for the “bad guys” as well, so we also recommend taking a look at your EDC bag to make sure you have everything, like a med kit and flashlight. Vertx Tactigami accessories are great to store these items, plus extra mags, or any other EDC essentials you can’t go without.
Of course, we’d be foolish to not mention that it’s easier to wear body armor with the cooling weather. Consider switching from off-body carry to a concealable vest like our Discreet Executive Vestwhich provides a significant amount of coverage but doesn’t scream “I’m wearing body armor”.
An often neglected aspect to consider is the safety measures involving your vehicle. It’s wise to include a warm blanket in your car; under the circumstance of a breakdown, you won’t regret having a blanket to keep you warm, especially if you’re stranded for quite some time.
Speaking of breaking down, colder weather also takes a toll on your vehicle’s battery. Be sure that you have jumper cables in all your vehicles, and that everyone in your family knows how to use them. Tire patch kits and a DC powered air pump are also great to have on hand. I also keep a get home bag in my truck. It has all sorts of useful tools. It obviously has one of our backpack inserts, a bleed control kit, a multitool, firestarter, gloves, and hat.
Remember that blanket we mentioned above? You could also use it to hide your valuables in your car. The theft of personal items or gifts from cars are 28% higher on Black Friday than any other day of the year.* When you’re Black Friday shopping, remember to cover your valuables and Christmas gifts!
Studies show that property crime reaches its maximum during the winter months*. Therefore, it’s wise to park your car in your garage if you’re able. If not, be sure your home has a working safety light or flood lights to deter any unwanted visitors at night. The same can apply when parking in public. If you or your family are out and about at the grocery store, mall, or sporting event, try parking under a light. Not only will it cause someone to second-guess breaking in, but it also serves as a great landmark for finding your car quickly and easily.
Dorothy said it best; there’s no place like home. When travel and deliveries are at an all time high, it’s important to remember your home safety. The first major fall holiday, Halloween, brings a 60% increase in property crime.* By making sure doors are locked and you keep your garage closed, you can deter any unwanted theft. If you haven’t already, consider an outdoor camera system like Ring, Blink, or Toucan to help monitor any movement.
But what about all of those deliveries that may pile up as we get closer to the holidays? If you know you’ll be getting packages delivered, try to arrange deliveries on a day you know someone will be home. With Amazon, you can group items at checkout so everything arrives in one box, drawing less attention than a stack on the front porch. You can even have deliveries shipped to a secure locker location, which may not be as convenient, but ensures you are the only one retrieving the package.
With traveling increasing during the holiday season, up 54% over Thanksgiving and 23% during Christmas and New Year’s, according to the US Department of Transportation, make arrangements for a friend or neighbor to collect any mail delivered while you’re gone. A full mailbox can be a signal no one has been home.
Many people also use daylight savings as a reminder to check the carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries for the winter.
It’s important to be fully aware and present in a parking lot. The first step would be to consider where you park. It’s best to park under lighting and away from vans with sliding doors. When walking in a parking lot, walk confident and keep your head on a swivel. You should be able to know who is walking in front, beside, or behind you.
Criminals often judge people by observing their body language and taking note if the potential victim presents awareness of their surroundings. Most attacks can be prevented by looking around to see if anyone is in the area or following you.
The only time you should use your cell phone in the parking lot is as an additional safety precaution. You could use your cell phone to call someone so a threatening person knows there is someone on the line to hear an attack. Otherwise,your cell phone is a distraction for you, and welcomes an opportunity for attack.
Tricks and treats aren’t the only thing you can get on Halloween. On average, crime-related claims spike by 24% on Halloween. With the cover of darkness and people gone from their homes and cars for extended periods of time, make sure you and your property aren’t a target by keeping your doors locked.
When it comes time for your kids to dress up and trick-or-treat, make sure they know a few simple situational awareness skills before heading out. If they will be going out with friends, make sure they stay together and have them check in with you every so often to keep you updated. If you are planning to go with them, designate meet-up spots along the way, like the top of a smaller cul-de-sac. That way, you can keep an eye on everyone moving from house to house and reconvene at checkpoints. Remind them to keep their head out of their phones and be aware of their surroundings as much as possible.
In all of the excitement, make sure everyone is aware of cars. Halloween sees a 43% rise in pedestrian casualties, according to a study cited by the Institute for Childhood Preparedness.* Many families find it safer to trick-or-treat in a neighborhood instead of along a more trafficked road, but it’s always best practice to stay on the sidewalks.
We all know there is an insane amount of foot traffic around the holidays. Parking lots, malls, and stores are flooded with people. When leaving your car unattended to go shopping, again, it is important to keep your valuables covered and park under lighting.
If you’re shopping with your kids, always keep them within reach. Have your kids walk in front of you if possible. If you choose to split up from your teenage kids, have them check in with you periodically.
It’s important to note as well that a high percentage of attacks occur near ATMs in busier locations, even if it is in broad daylight. Never flash your money, but keep it concealed until it is time to pay. In some cases it may be wise to have your money spread in different locations like your purse and pockets.
It’s starting to get darker earlier, which makes it easier for people wanting to harm you to have the courage and cover of darkness on their side. When walking to your car, park under lighting and as close to an entrance as possible. Make sure your hands aren’t full and you have something easily accessible to defend yourself, like your firearm or pepper spray. As soon as you get into your car, lock the doors, and don’t sit scrolling on your phone, distracted, before driving away.
The darkness doesn’t have to be scary, but being aware of your surroundings and keeping your head up can make you less of a target. If you enjoy getting outside for exercise or a run, be mindful of where you choose to go, and keep your earbud volume down (and off noise cancellation) so you can hear what’s going on around you.
The great thing about our backpack armor is that it is TSA approved for travel! If you’re traveling to a city with a high crime rate, you’re able to take ballistic protection with you. Just because you’re in a gun free zone, doesn’t mean you should be completely without a line of defense. Consider traveling with armor in your backpack, wearing an Everyday Armor T-Shirt, or putting a ballistic insert in the purse.
We’ve all seen Home Alone and know what robbers will do once they realize you’re out of town! Your home is vacant, you’re away, and who’s to stop them from breaking in? Be wise. Don’t post on social media that you’re traveling for the holidays or that you’re out of town.
Have someone you trust collect your packages if you do receive a delivery, or schedule deliveries for when you’re home to receive them.
We know some of these may sound like common sense, but when life gets busy, you and your family's safety shouldn’t be something that gets put on the back burner.