What is Opsec? Well, let me give you a brief example. I bought that shirt (left pic) because I thought it was funny. But I don’t wear it outside of my house. Why? Well, what does that shirt tell you? Other than I have a sense of humor, it says that maybe I really do have a plan for the Apocalypse. And if I have a plan….then I have supplies and gear.
While this is true, I don’t want everyone out there knowing it.
That is, in a nutshell, opsec for preppers. But that example is a bit over simplistic. There is more to opsec than that.
Opsec, short for Operational Security, means that you are keeping information from one or more potential adversaries. This includes people that may you not even consider to be adversaries right now, but could become so in a long-term SHTF situation. This could be your neighbors, co-workers, or distant relatives etc. It could also be thugs and criminals in everyday life.
This information you want to keep under wraps can include details about you, your family or group, your gear and supplies, your home, your SHTF plans, etc. This is information that you do NOT want others to know because it could potentially be used against you if everything were to ever go to hell in a hand-basket.
For example, what happens if friends, neighbors, distant family, etc visit you in your home, and see shelves lined with row after row of food, water, medical supplies, etc? You can imagine what will be the first thing they remember in a SHTF scenario. This is especially true if they have gone a day or two without food.
Suddenly, they could be looking to you for help. Help that you may not be able to give. And in a worse case scenario, they could decide to simply take it from you if they are desperate enough.
Another example is purchasing a new, big screen TV and then leaving the box it came in out by the curb for the garbage truck. This tells everyone who happens by your house that you have a new, huge, valuable TV inside your house. Is this something you would want potential burglars to know? Your house could suddenly become a target for thieves. A target that you were not before they saw the TV box.
So with these ideas in mind, I wanted to give you some “food for thought” about keeping and maintaining a low profile with any pre-disaster prepping. And I’ll also talk a little about what to do in situations where you may not be able to keep a low profile.
While I was writing my article on being prepared for terrorism and mass shooting events, I touched some on having situational awareness. And after writing that, I realized that I need to expound on situational awareness even more. This subject is so important, it warrants its own article.
In fact, I’d rate the skill and ability of situational awareness as one of the most important skills you can have as a prepper. (If not the MOST important!) So I decided that I needed to expand, and really take a look at this truly important and potentially life saving skill!
Situation awareness is, according to the USCG, the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team (you) with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you.
By reading this, I hope to make you aware of the varying stages of situational awareness, ways to improve your awareness, things to be aware of and look for/habits to get into, and developing potential plans of action. All of these will increase your situational awareness, which will in turn increase your odds of surviving a dangerous scenario.
I have taken bits and pieces of the mass shooting article and used them here. So if a paragraph or two looks familiar, that is why. 🙂
Stages of Awareness
First, awareness can be broken down into 4 different stages. Some people may have already heard about these four stages, but if not they are as follows: