Friday, June 11, 2021

The "Kill House Rules" - a timely reminder


Reading some of the comments about the Camp Fire disaster after yesterday's post, I was reminded again that many people just don't get it.  They really believe that disaster, danger, whatever, won't come upon them unawares - that they'll always have at least some time to prepare for it.  While I agree that many times they'll be right, I've also lived long enough, in enough really nasty circumstances, to know that it won't always be that way.

  • You may get warning of a hurricane, or a rioting mob, or a fire;  but will the warning be early enough for you to get out of the way - particularly when everyone around you is blocking the roads as they try to do likewise?
  • Who's going to warn you about an earthquake or a landslide?  They don't happen in a predictable fashion.  They can strike anytime.
  • Crime and criminals are an ever-present reality, and the last thing they're going to do is give you advance notice that they're out to get you.  If you aren't ready for them, you'll be a victim rather than a defender.

I'm therefore going to reprint something we've discussed before:  the Kill House Rules, developed by Matt Graham.  He's a former police officer, air marshal, and CIA tactics and weapons instructor, so he knows whereof he speaks.  He formulated these rules many years ago, and last updated them (as far as I know) in 2016.  They apply primarily to self-defense, but can be readily adapted to any emergency.  (For those who aren't familiar with the term "kill house", see here for an explanation.)

1.  NOBODY IS COMING TO SAVE YOU.  Whether an event lasts a few seconds, a few hours, or even a few days – you have to work as though nobody is coming to save you.

2.  You are your savior, so start working because EVERYTHING IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.  You are your security, you are your medic, you are your rescuer.

3.  You are your own best resource to SAVE WHO NEEDS TO BE SAVED.  Nobody wants to save your life more than you, so set yourself up for success by having the simple tools and knowledge to do so: do what you can with what you have.  Recognize that nobody is in a better position to start saving your life than you.

4.  Sometimes saving lives means you have to KILL WHO NEEDS TO BE KILLED.  It has been almost 15 years since I first wrote “the more effective you are at taking a life, the more successful you’ll be at saving one” and nothing in the intervening time has changed my mind.  Be swift, be decisive, be final.

5.  Mostly, ALWAYS BE WORKING.  There is always something you can be doing to improve your position.  Always.  Because nobody is coming to save you.

Words of wisdom, to be remembered and applied.  Yesterday's Camp Fire disaster discussion demonstrated that in many ways.


1 comment:

Francis Turner said...

I have a rule which may not be quite a kill house rule, but is similar.

Always work out where the exits are.

This BTW applies to more than rooms in buildings (or public transportation). Any number of people have lost their lives in floods, forest fires and the like because the only way out from where they were was flooded/on fire.

Its a rule that also applies to the highway. If there's a massive pileup accident ahead how are you going to get off the highway? There are a lot of highways that have serious fences - not to mention steep grades up or down - between them and the land next to them so there may not be a way off that you can take, even on foot.