Being Your Own First Responder, Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

Are you ready for the attack? The home invasion? The attack on your livelihood and well-being? Can you fight like you used to or have things and time changed you?  What’s the average law-enforcement response time for emergencies in your community? Even if it was 30 seconds, is that fast enough when critical incidents can begin and end in less than that much time? 

The clock is ticking, are you ready?


These are all questions you should be asking yourself and preparing with those answers. 

Being your own first responder is more than just a catchy tagline or motto. 

In the world of preparedness, you set aside paranoia by being prepared. In order to be prepared, you need to think through various scenarios that you could be posed with throughout your day. This “when-then” thinking prepares you for surviving an encounter through mental rehearsal, problem solving in advance, having the tools you might need, and executing a plan that you have rehearsed.

Are you ready to be your own first responder?

The fire plan for your home doesn’t have to just be for fires. Having a designated place in your home that you have staged tools, thought-out ways to barricade, or even choosing a place in advance to hide can be invaluable. As your doors are crashing in or the window is breaking, it is not the time to try to come up with, “what am I going to do?”


One of those staged tools should maybe be a firearm.  If you choose to have a firearm, you NEED to have training and knowledge.  Knowledge of using a tool like a firearm needs to include the right attitude, manipulation skills, marksmanship, legal use, and the most efficient use of the tool. 

Selecting a firearm

When selecting a firearm for home defense, the intended purpose should be the driving force behind your pistol selection.  
New firearm owners tend to get the selection of the firearm wrong on a regular basis.  Small and light firearms can be great for concealed carry but with the small size and weight, you feel more recoil and sometimes lack an ability to attach accessories such as a flashlight that make threat identification and two-handed shooting a challenge.  Consider purchasing a firearm that is at least .380 in caliber and that allows for installation of a weapon mounted light. 
Mental preparation and physical preparation are just as essential as the tool.  The firearm is a tool of last resort and you should address, in advance, if you are capable of deadly force.  You must address the question of “can I” before you are faced with that decision in real-time!   

Never Give Up!

Whether you choose to use a firearm for home defense or not, having a mindset of never giving up is the best way to survive.  When you think of never giving up, visualize the old cartoon of the frog choking out the bird as the frog is being swallowed.  Have a will to survive and a mindset that you’ll never quit.  


Practice Visualization

See critical incidents in your mind before they happen.  Take this to the next level when it comes to your home and draw out a floor plan.  


Remember when you were young or when your children were young and in school and America’s favorite second responders, the firefighters, would come into the schools and talk to the kids about fire safety?  Part of that discussion with the kids was to visualize a fire in your home.  

Once you are visualizing that fire, come up with solutions of how to respond to the fire.  One of the solutions is to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher.  Another option is to escape the home by getting out a window or some other means.  And yet another option for response to the fire is to barricade yourself in the home with wet towels under the door jamb etc.  

Enough about fires, take this mindset we just talked about and apply it to your home for deadly threats coming into your home.  That fire extinguisher now becomes pepper spray, a pistol, a flashlight (or preferably two flashlights), a large dresser to push in front of a door to barricade it, a house key in your upstairs bedroom that you can throw down to law enforcement when they arrive to help, and many other things that you need to figure out specific to your home and your “fire escape plan.”

have a plan, practice the plan


Practice the Plan

Once you have a plan, you need to practice the plan.  Kind of like the stop drop and roll, you need to make sure your plan actually works.  Are you physically capable of pushing that dresser in front of the door or should you instead have a solid core door installed to your bedroom with a quality door jamb and deadbolt? Does the location you retreat to in your home offer the best angles of defense?  The list of questions goes on and the only way to answer them is to practice the plan.


Get Training and Continue to Train

Training for a critical incident is just as important as the investment in tools.  A tool without knowledge is worthless or maybe even a liability.  

Start with the simple before you move to the complex.  Understand the fundamentals of marksmanship well before you try to shoot like the pros.  Shooting quickly when the decision is made is important but having the ability to hit what you’re aiming at is equally important.  Only hits count.  

If this conversation interests you and you’re ready to invest in training and tools to survive the currently unimaginable, do something about it.  If you’re anywhere near SW Washington State, come see us at Willapa Firearms Training and we’ll help you on this journey.  In addition to the more advanced courses, we teach basic courses on pistol and rifle as well as the NRA Personal Protection in the Home and NRA CCW courses.  

2 thoughts on “Being Your Own First Responder, Are You Ready?

  1. Heath Layman Post authorReply

    Our next NRA Personal Protection in the Home course is sold out but we still have openings in our NRA Basic Pistol Course in February. Check out nrainstructors.org for course listings using zip code 98577 to find our listings. If you don’t find them, email us and we will send direct links.

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