Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

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5 Items For Your Family When the Lights Go Out

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This Week: Quality for your family… One of the best axes… My favorite revolver… Why I don’t walk around with earplugs… And, a reader’s thoughts on tactical pens.

Like many parts of the country, my hometown has been slammed with snow lately. In the past week alone, we’ve had about three feet and it’s still snowing as I write this.

Thankfully, we’ve only lost power for a short period of time and haven’t had to go days without power yet as we have in the past when an ice storm caused a huge tree to fall on a power line.

But, since winter may be here for a few more weeks (and I’m pretty sure it’s coming next year too) I thought I’d share with you a very short and simple list of items to help your family stay safe and comfortable during a short-term power outage.</>

  1. Sleeping Bags– Every member of my family has a quality sleeping bag so we can stay warm in the house. These are sleeping bags that are rated for 0 degrees and are not the cheap $30 sleeping bags you get at Wal-Mart that are rated for 40 degrees. Since I enjoy camping we get a lot of use out of these bags so for my family they’re not just for power outages. An example of one of the bags we own is the Mountain Equipment Helium 400.


  1. Flashlights– I own enough tactical flashlights to equip a small army. But for a power outage you don’t need a flashlight that’s so bright it can be seen from the moon. The inexpensive Eveready Lights (the big yellow ones) will last 100 hours and provide plenty of light for you to maneuver around your house. I’ve got these things all over my house so I don’t have to walk far without the ability to get a flashlight.


  1. Axe– I’m fortunate to have a wood stove in my house. And, although I’ve got lots of wood already chopped, if I run out I don’t have to worry because I have a quality axe to chop up more. If you have a wood stove or fireplace (or even if you don’t) make sure you’ve got an axe that won’t fall apart when your family depends on it. One such axe is the Fiskars X27.


  1. Large Camping Stove– Like several of the items on this list (flashlights, guns) I own several camping stoves. Some are smaller for use while hiking and camping and others are large for camping only. One of my large stoves is the Stansport 2-Burner Propane Stove. If the lights are out I still want to be able to cook warm meals and boil hot water and this stove has worked well for me.


  1. Guns– I like guns, what can I say. It’s possible that one day I’ll create a checklist that doesn’t involve firearms, but today is not that day. When the power is out because of a snowstorm your alarm system may be down as well and the cops will likely take longer to get to you because they’re tied up with traffic accidents.


Criminals know this and just because it’s snowing it doesn’t mean they don’t want to rob people to be able to pay for their next drug purchase. This is why, at the very least, you’ll find me walking around my home with my Ruger LCP or Smith & Wesson snubby (Airweight 642) in my pocket.

Like I said, this is a very small list for short-term power outages and not an “end of the world” list. If you’ve got suggestions on items you think I should add, please let me know.

The Mailbag

From Eric F: Hi Jason! In your everyday carry you do not include earplugs. They are small, lightweight and can be extremely handy. If you are doing your situational awareness properly, there might be a time when you might want to put them in to preserve your hearing if a gunfight appears to be a possibility.

A: I try to be as practical as possible and I don’t see myself or many others ever putting in earplugs in a lethal situation. Things happen so fast in these situations and I believe that earplugs will be the last thing on most people’s mind when they’re getting ready to defend their life. I realize people may disagree with me, but I’ve been in some “tight spots” and would never have taken the time to put earplugs in.

From Chris F: Big congrats on being on Rachel Ray!! Glad to see you and your business continue to grow and broaden since Shark Tank. Look forward to taking a course with you soon. BTW, I know NYC knife laws are strict and as a NYC resident, are tactical pens even allowed in NYC? Congrats again on everything.

A: Thank you Chris, things are going very well. And, for now, Tactical Pens are allowed. I always fly in and out of JFK with mine. But, of course, your politicians did try to cap the amount of soda people can drink so who knows what they’ll try and do next.

From Benedict W: As a TSCM service provider in Africa, I can confirm that many of the bug detectors advertised online will not help. The biggest threat today is from GSM monitoring and the use of WiFi to transmit audio signals covertly. This requires CyberTSCM equipment and the requisite skills set. My advice would be for the library worker to share personal information in her workplace that she does not mind being in the public domain.

A: Great point. Unless she’s willing to pay to get her office professionally swept, then she shouldn’t say anything she’d regret having others know.

From Jerry B: I have bought many of your pens and I give them to the female members of my family.  My wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and all my nieces now have pens and know how to use them!  However, I cannot get my wife to remember to carry hers at all times. She just will not come to terms with the reality of the threat. Any suggestions?

A: See if she’ll take a local self-defense class to make her feel even more empowered by the fact that she’ll be able to properly use the pen to defend herself. If she carries a purse maybe see if she’ll just leave it clipped to a strap so she doesn’t have to remember to find the pen when she leaves the house. Also, try and emphasize how much you care about her safety and how it’s really important to you that she carries the pen. (I think wives do this all the time to husbands who don’t realize how much something means to them.)

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

P.S. The registration for the Las Vegas Spy Course closes this Saturday at midnight. If you haven’t signed up for the Spy Course yet, visit today.

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