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Friday the 13th

It seems ironic to me that Friday the 13th happens to fall in the middle of National Safety Month this year, but here we are.  As I type (and publish) this, it’s just after six a.m. eastern time on Friday, June 13th.  Long marked by superstition about how unlucky a day it is, and the title of more bad movies than we ever wanted or needed (although they somehow still make money), Friday the 13th has become a societally recognized term involving graphic violence, bad movie scene humor and white hockey masks.

It seems appropriate, since it’s National Safety Month, to review a few good lessons learned if you’ve watched enough Friday the 13th movies (or any other horror movie for that matter).  There are a few things you should never do.


…Go swimming.  All too often there is an unseen, overpowering force hidden in the crystal clear blue pool water that will pull you down until you drown.

…Have sex.  In the throes of passion you are never aware of your surroundings and make easy targets for the hateful killer who’s obviously never enjoyed the pleasure you are.

…Smoke.  For whatever reason, the movies often portrayed potential victims as the rebels who do everything they shouldn’t – like skinny dip, have sex, smoke and…

…Drink.  I agree with this one.  If you drink too much you can’t run effectively from the killer and your judgment gets impaired so you do stupid stuff like…

…Go outside.  Where the killer usually has free range of movement and any of his (or her) compatriots can herd you into an easier kill.  BUT, if the killer’s in the house, run outside rather than running upstairs.

…Split up.  In every horror movie I’ve ever seen, the wonderfully romantic couple that has a beautiful life ahead of them sees their future ripped away within moments of splitting up on screen.  I don’t mean breaking up… they just go different directions.  Always a bad idea.  Stay together. If nothing else, you’ll die together.

…Run from the killer.  This is counter-intuitive I know.  If the killer is coming for you, you run, right?  Wrong.  Stand and fight.  Think about it. All of the survivors and heroes of the horror movies were the determined ones who stood and fought and (eventually) killed the killer.

…Trip; if you do, don’t scream.  Again, if you weren’t drunk you’d trip less – so don’t drink and don’t trip.  If you do, be graceful and energetic.  As you fall, tuck and roll and get back to your feet and keep on going as if you’d been choreographed to do so in a John Wu movie.  Don’t trip, SPLAT on your face and lay there screaming as you wait for the (insert sharp weapon here) to pierce your back.

…Say, “I’ll be back!”  I mean, come on… even in scary movies that make fun of scary movies, saying, “I’ll be back,” means you aren’t coming back – especially if you went to get more beer, drugs or sneak away for some smooch time with your lover.

That’s the list of DON’Ts for Friday the 13th.  What are the list of things you should do?  Well, since it’s National Safety Month there are multiple lists of what you should do, depending on what your safety focus is.  I write articles and blogs for military, law enforcement professionals, preparedness minded folks and more.  Each public safety discipline has their own list of things they should get done daily, weekly and in the month.

I would recommend, whether you wear a uniform or not, if you carry a gun as part of your daily wardrobe, CLEAN and INSPECT it this month.  Too many of us fail to maintain our tools properly and that’s what your weapon is.  Do the same with your pocket knife.  CLEAN and INSPECT every tool you use or carry on a daily basis to insure proper function, cleanliness and maintenance.

TEST anything else you might depend on to alert you to a bad situation or to help you communicate in an emergency situation.  I know we’re all supposed to replace the batteries in our smoke detectors when we change the clocks each spring and fall, but what’s wrong with doing that again?  What about your CO2 detector; have you checked/changed the battery in that lately?  Virtually everyone I know over the age of ten has a cell phone.  When was the last time you checked your contact list in that phone and made sure that your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact info was up to date?

Around your residence there are a few lights that you depend on to brighten dark spots so that 1) you don’t trip or run into anything in the dark , and 2) so that bad guys can’t hide in that darkness and ambush you.  When was the last time you changed those light bulbs?  I’m guilty of only changing bulbs in our spotlights when they burn out, but just because I’M guilty of neglecting those bulbs, doesn’t mean YOU have to be equally guilty.

Do you carry an emergency kit in your car?  If not, why not? If so, when was the last time you went through it, replacing any expired items and insuring proper function of the rest?

Whether you’re military, law enforcement or simply like being prepared, do you have a Go Bag that you keep ready?  Is it in your home or in your vehicle? When was the last time you completely emptied it, replacing expired items, adding new items you came across, or replacing items that are worn out?

The bottom line, folks, is that Friday the 13th doesn’t have to be an unlucky day.  When it’s in the middle of National Safety Month you can offset the “unlucky” part by actively improving your readiness.  If you are ready and focused enough, you can beat the bad guy (and the bad luck) every time.

Now… go walk under a ladder, break a mirror and walk circles around a black cat… and have a nice day.  I’ll be right back!