Earlier this month Jason was talking about LA Author Neil Strauss’ new book Emergency, which is basically an instruction manual for survival should society fall apart around you due to political, economic, or natural disaster. While writing it, one of the people Neil learned from (and featured in the book as well) is Kevin Reeve from On Point Tactical, a New Jersey based scout, tracking, and survival school. The book talks about their Urban Escape and Evasion class and last weekend a few of us were lucky enough to take that course right here in Los Angeles.
More about the course after the jump, but here’s a quick (and shaky, sorry!) video that I shot of Kevin showing off one of the things we learned in the class -making lock picks out of paperclips and safety pins!
As I said, Kevin Reeve is in town teaching the UE&E class and when Jason, Burns and I found out we couldn’t sign up for it quick enough. The class was all day last Thursday, Friday & Saturday on the west side and was worth every cent. He’s doing the class again this week and last I heard has a few spots open still if you want to sign up for it. It isn’t cheep, but when you consider it’s 3 days long and that the skills taught it in could possibly save your life (and the lives of your loved ones) it’s actually very reasonable.
OK, so the premise of the class bounces between two things mostly – being nabbed by kidnappers while traveling and natural disaster causing major panic and chaos around you. I’ll skip the kidnapper bit for the moment because living in SoCal, the natural disaster stuff hits much closer to home. Earthquakes, Fires, Paparazzi causing gridlock – the ways that things can go from bad to worse here are pretty endless and we discussed all those situations in depth. One thing Kevin kept repeating is that “everything you need to survive is right here in the city, it’s just locked up” so naturally getting through those locks was a major part of the class. As well as where to go to find the things you need to stay alive. Of course breaking and entering is illegal, but we were talking about worse case life and death situations most of the time. Barring that, we also talked about how to be prepared for these events ahead of time so you don’t have to scramble after the fact.
We’ve talked about earthquake kits on this site a lot, but always with the pretext that you need something to last 24-48 hours until help arrives. After what happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina, it’s worth asking what happens if help doesn’t arrive for weeks. That’s when things get really sketchy, and when a little planning and having a few tricks up your sleeve can make all the difference in the world. Needless to say escape kits and pre-hidden caches are also explained and discussed heavily in the class.
But what about the kidnapping? Well let’s just say handcuffs, flexicuffs, rope and anything else a kidnapper might restrain someone with aren’t very effective on us anymore. Here’s a pic Jason took of me defeating some flexicuffs. The final exam (so to speak) for the class involved us being handcuffed, hooded, and thrown in the back of a truck and dropped off at an unknown location in town – which turned out to be a Home Depot parking lot in Marina Del Rey. Through out the day we had a series of tasks to complete before meeting up at a safe point in Santa Monica. Each task would give hints and clues for the next one eventually utilizing many of the skills we’d learned on the previous few days. Oh yeah, and this whole time we were basically being hunted by bounty hunters so doing all of the tasks and making it to the checkpoints while blending into the environment was key. In the end we were successful and had an amazing time doing it. I highly recommend calling in sick to work later this week and taking the class if you can.