Do You have a Personal Safety Plan?

Do You have a Personal Safety Plan?
Do You have a Personal Safety Plan?
Do You have a Personal Safety Plan?
Do You have a Personal Safety Plan?

I was recently talking to a fellow shooter and he told me what he thought of a recent shooting that resulted in a murder locally. He thought the victim should have practicing their ABC’s and this may have ended differently. I was surprised by this and asked what the heck the alphabet had to do with the event. He laughed and said “Oh, guess I have not spoken with you in a while. I came up with the ABC’s.” So I bit, not really knowing what his ABC’s were going to be. I told him to explain them. He says “I’m surprised you did not come up with it first – Always Be Carrying.”

The suspect was a 38 year-old male who recently had two protection orders filed against him by his mother and girlfriend after he was arrested for an assault on his current girlfriend. After the incident it was revealed he had another twelve to fourteen protection orders filed against him in the past by various people, including ex-girlfriends, ex-wives.

On the day this occurred he went to the day care where his children were and took them from the woman who was the day care provider, at gun point and tied her up with zip ties and left. When he arrived at the current girlfriend’s employer’s parking lot, his girlfriend’s boss saw him in the parking lot with the children as she was leaving in her car. At this point the she calls inside the business and warns the employees, as she is aware of the protection order her employee has taken out against the suspect. She then pulls up to the suspect and confronts him, no one knows what was said but we do know he used his handgun to fire one round striking the victim in the head killing her instantly. The suspect then entered the business and fired one round grazing another female employee in the leg. He then used zip ties to tie everyone up. About twenty minutes later, for some unknown reason, he let everyone go including his girlfriend and children. It is not clear how long the suspect was inside alone, but while he was inside he used the handgun to end his own life.

Before I go any further, this woman as a hero. She did every thing she could to protect her employee from this suspect. It is saddening that her actions resulted in her death. She showed true courage by facing a person she knew to be dangerous and capable of violence against other people in her efforts to protect her employee.

When looking at the situation it is important to remember “Mental Preparation”. If you are not practicing this first step, you may end up in a bad situation with limited good choices available once you realize you’re in the thick of it so to speak. Many people have written about levels of awareness. I have found the NRA’s method to be the best and easiest to remember:

  • UNAWARE – A state where a person is unaware and not alert to the immediate environment.
  • AWARE – A state where a person is aware of their surroundings and what people are doing around them.
  • ALERT – A state where a person has identified a specific or potential threats or threats.
  • ALARM – A state where the threat you have identified in the ALERT stage, has now become a real threat to your own safety.

After we address these four levels of awareness you need to have a PERSONAL SAFETY PLAN.

A personal safety plan is one designed by you for you based on your hypothetical plan of action to respond to a threat. This plan will enable you to act quicker than be in a state of reaction to a possible threat. The plan may consist of avoiding the situation, fleeing the area and or the situation, issuing verbal warnings to the possible assailant(s), calling law enforcement, other options, or as a last resort even the use of deadly force. You must make the plan flexible enough that it allows you alternatives in the event the situation has changed. It is important to remember your plan does not have to involve the use of force if it is some thing you are not comfortable with doing.

During my career as a law enforcement officer I had experiences where I dealt with domestic violence situations. The victims of these crimes were typically women of varying ages. Most of them could or would move, or go stay with family, change their email addresses, and phone numbers, and even avoid mutual friends they had with the suspect. When I was talking to the victims I would advise them they did have the option to seek an order of protection from the court, some did seek a protection order while others did not. The one thing typically none of these victims ever changed was Daycare providers and Employers. All of them would inform their daycare providers and employers.

Now when considering your personal safety plan, you should also know what to expect of the places you may be if something does happen. Do they have a safety plan? Where can we possibly be that we need to consider this? Well it could be your church, daycare provider, employer, school, medical provider (local clinic, doctor’s office, nursing home, hospital), local gym. In each of these places you should still have your own plan, but you should know what their plan is in the event something happens. Many of these places are required to have safety plans in place.

Most people probably do not realize every employer has a duty to protect their employees.

“OSHA’s occupational safety laws require companies to maintain a safe workplace, which embraces safety from violence”.

So once you learn what the safety plan is, you need to incorporate it with your own personal safety plan.

While many of us will incorporate the ABC’s into our safety plan, it is important to remember there maybe times and places the ABC’s will not be available to you. Having a multilayered safety plan will help you compensate for events where you will not have the ABC option.

One of the best resources available to people seeking training on how to develop their personal safety plan is through the NRA and its courses such as: Refuse To Be A Victim® Seminars, NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home, or NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home Courses. To find a course in your area click here.

Woman Killed Before Standoff, Suspect Found Dead
NRA Personal Protection in the Home Instructors Manual

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Matt Schlueter is a retired Deputy Sheriff from South Dakota with over 19 years of combined experience in corrections and law enforcement, and held the position of Firearms Instructor and DARE officer with the Sheriffs Office he worked at till his retirement. He is also a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, and owner/chief instructor of Schlueter Firearms Instruction. Matt’s goal is to provide the best information possible for those who want to further their knowledge and skills in shooting handguns. Matt’s goals also include providing the best training courses possible for students who attended courses he is offering. For those wishing to contact him please visit his website at, or or you can join him on Facebook at
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Jim Effinger

“So I bit, not really knowing what his ABC’s were going to be?” is not a question.




My girlfriends Personal Plan:
My girlfriend was followed through a mall 3 weeks ago. The guy said a couple rude things to her like, “hey bitch, you too good to talk to me”…….then at some point left and she didn’t see him anymore. When she walked out to her car an hour later and was in the motion of sitting down in the drivers seat, she said he came sliding up behind her, blocking her in. He rolled his window down and was yelling, “you’re not going anywhere till you talk to me.” Luckily, it was mall closing time and there were people walking to their cars. She yelled out, “let me leave or I’ll call the police.” A handful of people definitely heard her yell and the guy drove away.This was at the Boca Raton Mall in Florida. If I recall, 3-4 women (one child) were killed there by a stalker who followed them to their cars and then tied them up and kidnapped them in their own cars, then killed them.NOW……how did he know where her car was to be ready and waiting to pull up behind her? He couldn’t have just followed her out, gotten to his car, then drove over to her car. I explained to my girlfriend that this means he most likely watched you park your car, then go into the mall…..decided to follow you around and maybe talk to you inside…..then when that didn’t pan out, he waited for you to walk out as he sat in his car.She doing her CWL class in 2 weeks when the gun show comes here, we already bought her a nice little compact .357 Mag and she already put 500 rounds through it. She can shoot great for a little 100 pounder.Anytime she’s at a mall now, well after she gets her CWL of course, she will walk to and from her car with her hand on the gun, in her little bag. Next time anyone approaches her aggressively, that gun will come out (posture) and they will see it. No waiting for someone to get close to her, screw that. She’s 100% prepared to empty the magazine if someone gets within grabbing distance of her, especially after learning of the multiple murders at that mall……and the guy is STILL out there, they never caught him.


I am good with the notion that this victim was a hero up to the point that she confronted a known to be dangerous person without means of combating him. That was stupid. She was likely driven to that irrational action by emotion rather than good sense. I too am saddened by her death but she didn’t have to die.
Had I been in her situation I would have been carrying but I would not have confronted the nut job straight away so she certainly had no business doing so.
Obviously, your article is about how the situation could have been thwarted but I just had to comment on that one important detail that could have saved a life in my mind.


Out of doors, my personal safety plan is a 4 parter. Escape if possible. A good run beats a bad stand 10 times out of 10. Conceal–hide yourself, don’t be in the bad guy’s field of view. You are responsible for YOUR safety. That complete stranger has the same opportunity as you to own a firearm and use it. Cover–get behind something bullets won’t penetrate. A car door is useless. The car’s engine block and transmission and wheels are useful. Engage–its your last element of personal protection. If forced to engage, shoot accurately until the threat stops moving. Those of you who believe in a one stop shot are deluding yourself, unless you are lucky enough to evacuate the cranial vault, or destroy the aorta. That said, when weather permits, carry enough gun. I prefer a 1911 in .45ACP, but sometimes am limited to a Ruger LCP. I always carry the LCP, even when carrying the 1911.
In my home, its decidedly easier. There are only 2 of us, sharing a back bedroom. I have a defensive perimeter established. Break it, and you will be shot until you stop moving. Sounds cruel and dispassionate, but its me or the bad guy.


One of the most important things you can do is ensure that people maintain a safe distance from you – especially, if you think they might be a threat. If you feel threatened, yell at the person to stand their ground and come no closer. This will give you time and more importantly distance to react. If the person continues to close the distance, you need to react – run, fight, yell, whatever. If they don’t continue towards you, then simply continue to distance yourself and leave. Don’t let them get close to you. Never be afraid to ask someone to stand down. And of course always have a gun 😉


Coming from a really dangerous country ( Africa), I find the USA’s obsession with “personal protection” to be quite entertaining if not paranoia. Most incidents can be avoided by being street smart and one does not need to carry lethal weapons in daily life.