Today we are going to discuss several different versions of threat levels. Were going to go over Jeff Cooper’s Cooper Color Code along with how we can adapt a similar threat level system into our emergency planning.
This is the Jeff Cooper, Cooper’s Color Code of Mental Preparedness.
- White: Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be “Oh my God! This can’t be happening to me.”
- Yellow: Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that “today could be the day I may have to defend myself”. You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that “I may have to shoot today”. You don’t have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don’t know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to “Watch your six.” (In aviation 12 o’clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft’s nose. Six o’clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are “taking in” surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, “I might have to shoot.”
- Orange: Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to “I may have to shoot that person today”, focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status. In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: “If that person does “X”, I will need to stop them”. Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.
- Red: Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. “If ‘X’ happens I will shoot that person”.
As you noticed this is more of a mental system for the possibility of a violent attack, but lets look at how we could modify this to assist us in emergency planning. We will eliminate white, if your reading this article you should be prepared and understand that bad things are happening in our world. In this instance we are going to use them in conjunction with our Emergency Plan. We are left with three threat levels. We can work them backwards as such.
This is what we will refer to as the GunPreparedness Code of Emergency Preparedness:
- Red: Code Red, the shit has hit. The event is going down, no looking back. It is live or die now. You must take action and not think or second guess yourself. Do what is required to end this event as quickly as possible. And survive to see another day.
- Orange: Code Orange is a elevated level of preparedness. There has been a major event close or there is solid evidence indicating that one is very possible in the next 24-72 hours. When in Code Orange you should do what you can now to mitigate the effects of the event. You should also proceed home as soon as possible. This would be the time for armament and security. Examples of when to use Code Orange, terrorist event, local shooting, riots, natural disaster, etc.
- Yellow: Code Yellow is a level of preparedness that you know bad things are happening. You up your rate of preparedness and get ready to go to Code Orange. Nothing has happened yet, but you up your level of alertness and are waiting on something to happen. This could be used when there are multiple possible events for an extended time frame.
- White: Code White is a level of preparedness that accepts that things are happening, but does not know of any pending events. This is where you are prepared for things to go bad, but you are not yet worried about it happening. You have your plan and know the signs of when to advance you Code level. Code White should be used most of the time
Now that you have two baseline systems you can now work them both into your emergency planning. You can use Cooper’s system for events like a self defense shooting, mugging, assault, or other personal encounter. You can use the GunPreparedness system for your family or groups plan. If everyone knows the system you can incorporate this into a simple text message alert to send to them all. When incorporated with a solid plan this can be used to notify each other of events to keep everyone on the same page.
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