Moments with an M.E.O.

Be Your Own Hero: Personal Safety with Fran

February 19, 2022 Britt Season 3 Episode 107
Moments with an M.E.O.
Be Your Own Hero: Personal Safety with Fran
Show Notes Transcript

I remember feeling scared when my husband was deployed. What did I do if someone was following me out of a store? No one was home waiting for me or even knew where I was most days - How did I feel safe? If you've ever felt this way, this episode is for you! Fran, police woman and veteran wife, shares her tips on how to be your own hero on episode 107 of the Moments with an MEO podcast!

We are taking a step back from the business-y side of the podcast for this episode because I fully believe feeling safe and secure is a very important topic, and I wanted to bring you educational content that's relatable but a little bit different today!

In this episode, Fran shares with us:
- How she, as a woman and police officer, defends and protects herself - with and without physical weapons.
- Her favorite safety tools, from least to most elaborate, and how you might figure out which safety tools are best for you.
- How to be situationally aware, and why you shouldn't pretend to be on the phone when you feel creeped out.

... and more! No PDF with this one because the goods are all in this episode!

Check out Fran's Instagram @thinbluelifestyle and her website

Work with Britt:

Check out MilSO Box here:

Fran  0:00  
I hope women never feel that way ever again. Because there are tools out there. There's information out there, there's resources out there that can really help you feel safe in your own home, whether it's just you or your kids, or you and your kids and your spouse, whatever, you can totally do it. Don't ever tell yourself like, I am a woman. I need my husband to take care of me like no girl, you got this, like you can totally do it. There's nothing that should be holding you back.

Britt  0:29  
Welcome, Fran, to the moments than me Oh, podcast, I am so thrilled to have you on today we're going to talk about something so incredibly important, and I can't wait. So thank you for your time.

Fran  0:40  
Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm so excited.

Britt  0:42  
Yes. Let's start with just a little bit about who you are and what you do in the community space. Yeah, so

Fran  0:49  
I'm friends when I go by, it's a shortened version of my full name. I am a sheriff's deputy in Southern California. I'm in my early 30s. And I started an Instagram account of about, like 16 months ago now. And the purpose of that is to help inspire women to make their safety a top priority and to live more self reliant lifestyles. And yeah, I mean, in my free time, I love to spend time at home with my husband, he's a former Army Ranger. And we've got two dogs, and we love to just relax at home, love to cook, love to work out all that fun, relaxing stuff.

Britt  1:29  
I love it, what I was really drawn to because I think I've been following you almost since the beginning, not quite, because it was a giveaway that you did. And I ended up winning that giveaway, which was pretty cool. But that's not why I stuck around I promise. You know, what I really enjoy about your platform is this idea that you promote so fiercely, that we can almost be like our own heroes, we can kind of take care of ourselves. When I was going through deployment, I was like, you know, all of a sudden, you know, I was super independent, and then I got married. And then you know, you kind of fall into this, like, how will you know, my husband will take care of me or my husband knows where I am. And then when he's not there, you're like, Wait, how do I be independent again? So I really love your platform, because it's just, it's inspiring. But it's encouraging, even for any woman out there who's like, Yeah, that's right. Like, I can take care of myself, like, Yes, I can. And Fran is gonna help me do that. So I love what you do and how you do it. I know that your spouse is a veteran. And we always start with a good love story. So why don't you share your love story with us. So I met

Fran  2:44  
my husband, Dustin, when he was totally done with his military life. I applaud all of the military spouses. I don't know how you do what you do. It's incredible. I consider myself lucky to meet him after the fact because I can't imagine the stress that goes into deployment and all that stuff. So when I met him, we were both working at the same agency we work for now. And we were working in the custody facility. So like a county jail, we always joke around and tell people like, oh, I met my husband in jail, I met my wife in jail. I'm like, cheesy, we know, It's so cheesy, but we just own it. Obviously, he wasn't in jail, like he was working in jail just like me. So we started out as friends. And it was friends strictly for like, I don't know, maybe like the first six to nine months. And then the friendship just grew and turned into something more. And he's amazing. Like, I always told myself, I wanted a partner in life that, you know, I felt was my equal and, and just made me the best version of myself. And I feel like that's truly what Dustin does. It's just easy. It's it's so nice when your spouse is your best friend, like your full blown life partner. And that's, that's us, we were both really lucky right now to be on the same work schedule. Because we've been through the whole completely opposite schedules, he's working days front end of the week, I'm working nights back end of the week, where like, we would only see each other for a solid six hours every two weeks. And that was rough. But now we're on the same schedule. And we're just embracing it for as long as it lasts and spending as much time together as we can. Because the schedules can be, you know, just like military, it can be unpredictable. So we enjoy the time together while we have it and right now, life is good. We've got a lot of time together.

Britt  4:35  
I love that. And I feel like a lot of our listeners will relate because there are quite a few schedules that go back and forth that fluctuate that change consistently. And that do work nights often. So I'm sure lots of male spouses can relate to that. My dad was a police officer. He actually just retired this last year. I remember the crazy hours, I remember him not being able to spend so much time with us. I remember him being, you know, going a month without seeing him just because he had the complete opposite schedule, as my mom and they were divorced. So trying to match up enough to drop the kids off and spend time with them. You know, that's not really possible a lot of the time. So it's an intense job as it is. And then on top of that, working irregular hours and shifts can be it can be a lot on the body physically. Oh, yeah,

Fran  5:35  
it can. It's draining. It's draining mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. That's why like, on our weekends, we're so big on just embracing the downtime, and like, we're huge homebodies we don't go out. Like if we go out. It's just like to dinner or like, you know, like a quick afternoon wine tasting. But we love being at home. We love our downtime. So my coworkers are like, well, don't you do anything on your day off? I'm like, Yeah, I recharge like I work out. I like build myself back up for the work week, because it can be exhausting. It's it's a lot it. I've been doing this for eight years now. And you know, I think about like my schedule in my lifestyle prior to working in law enforcement compared to now and it's totally different. totally opposite. But yeah, we love our downtime. It's super important to recharge, because that job is exhausting.

Britt  6:24  
Yeah. Do you have any advice for anyone who does have an opposite schedule from their spouse as to how to stay connected? I mean, have you worked out anything with your spouse?

Fran  6:38  
It's difficult because like our jobs are so consuming, our shifts are 12 hours long. And my commute to work has about half an hour. So like you factor that in with, you know, changing out of your uniform and loading up your car. And then the same thing at the end of the day, and it turns into like a 1415 hour day. And that's not even factoring in you know, I got a late arrest or I have to wrap something up before I go home. So it's a long day, there are some days where I'm so busy, or my husband is so busy that we don't see each other we don't talk, we don't see each other at all during the work day because we work in different jurisdictions, but we don't talk sometimes, you know, from the point where we walk out the door and say, Bye, have a good day be safe to when we walk in the door. At the end of the day. Some days that bugs me, because I'm you know, I'm very, like, what are you doing? What are you doing, like, if I'm not busy, I'm like, let's chat, tell me everything. We're just very close like that, you know, where he works is a little bit more a little bit busier, I like to call where he works like the Wild West, because it's a little bit more intense, which he loves, it still annoys me, it never goes away. And I just accept it. You know, it also helps that like, I can hear him on the radio, I can hear what he's doing. I can track his location, like our computer, show us where everyone is at all times, which is great. If he's having any sort of emergency, like, I know exactly what's going on as it's coming out because I can hear it on the radio, which is a total double edged sword because then I'm gonna stress out and freak out the sounds a little psycho, and I don't care. But being able to like know where he is and know what he's doing helps take the stress out of the situation. I've spoken to some of my friends whose husbands are police officers and their stay at home moms stay at home wives, you know, they're really fortunate to be able to do that. And they, they tell me because we'll vent to each other. And like, I haven't heard from my spouse in six hours. And this is ridiculous and and they've told me that they really like for their husband to share his location on his phone with them. A lot of our husbands were deployed to LA for the riots. And that was stressful because I had no idea what was going on. And we weren't doing the whole sharing our location with each other at the time. But when I heard it from a friend, I'm like, oh my god, that's amazing. I wish we would have done that sooner. Technology has come such a long way that like just a quick text here or there. You know, I'll text him and be like, Oh, I just arrested a couple people for blah blah blah, or he'll do the same or like, Oh, I'm stuck on a coroner's case i'll talk to you in a few hours just like checking up with each other. Yeah, it's so important and I mean like everyone loves to look down at your phone and see a text or like a missed call from your significant other because it makes you feel special. It makes you feel you know loved and important even if it's just like hope you're having a good day or like today's sucks can't wait to be home.

Britt  9:34  
It's so true though. Like I mean, Nick didn't have his phone when he was in Afghanistan but man would I would have given to just know like to just see like a little ping on the phone or something and like with TD wise especially with like the riots and you know, things that have happened in 2020 and 2021. All over the world. I mean, there have been police officers and Military personnel deployed within our country, which is crazy to me to say out loud, but it's so imperative in those moments that like, if you can use your phone, why not just share your location? Or if you can't do that those little check ins? I love that idea because I used to bother Nick all the time. And he'd be like, Well, I just don't have anything to say. And I'm like, I want to hear the mundane. Like, tell me the kind of sandwich that you ate at lunch. Like, I don't care. It's just that little notification, right? Like, oh, I'm thinking of her or, Oh, I'm safe without actually saying that. And it's just so special. I love that. Thank you. So the meat and potatoes of today's episode is really personal safety. I remember distinctly I was coming out of the parking lot of HomeGoods. And I was walking to my car, and I just had this sense that someone was watching me. And Something didn't feel right. And instead of continued to my car, which was all the way to the back of the parking lot, I just turned around, went right back into the store and like walked around for a bit. But like I couldn't call Nick and be like, Hey, can you like come get me like, I might be just freaking out for nothing. But like, something doesn't feel right. And I don't feel safe. And I don't know why I don't feel safe. But I just don't. Like there was nobody for me to call, there was nobody for me to connect with or text. I had to do it alone. This was before I followed you. So I didn't have the pepper spray. I was just kind of frantic. And I didn't know what to do. We had somebody in the Instagram space, who recently talked about where she was walking her dogs her normal routine. And she noticed this fan was following her ended up calling 911. Eventually, this was after like three miles of walking with this van following her. And she was like, I don't feel safe going home because I'm home alone. And nobody's gonna see me. I don't know where to walk. There's only so many places I can look, what do I do, is able to go home. But again, same scenario, she was going through deployment, she didn't know who else to talk to? Or who else to communicate with. And it was, it's very unsettling to have something like that happen. What kind of tips and I know that you talk about a lot of this on your Instagram as well. But like, what can we do to protect ourselves just in general, but especially when we're alone, and we don't have anybody who can check in on us.

Fran  12:34  
So you brought up a lot of really great examples, like your story and that other lady's story. So something that obviously stands out to me at first is that both of you were situationally aware enough to even notice that something was happening that was off, that's huge. Everyone is so wrapped up in their cell phones, like in their own world, what's going on in their own head, which is totally like, that's whatever, it's normal, it's hard not to. But a huge thing for starting point is people need to open their eyes and just be situationally aware to their surroundings. Pay attention to the car that's following you or the person that is acting really strange. And he's starting to follow you like, and don't be afraid to act on it. That lady waiting three miles before she called the police literally makes me cringe because I'm thinking I'm like, that makes me like hurt for her. Because if that was me, I would have called 911. Within five minutes or less, if it was just following me if there was something else that happened to make me think differently, then we'd go from there. But that's three miles is a really long distance. It's a really long time. Obviously, she was aware of them the whole time, which is great. So yeah, if you do notice someone following you or someone acting strange, pay attention to them, like let them know, you know, they're following you, you know what they're doing, like, you're not just going to be a victim, you're not going to let them victimize you take advantage of the situation, nothing like that. Going back in the store is great. If there's any sort of like security around or there happens to be a law enforcement officer around, you know, get their attention. I do a lot of posts on you know, situational awareness and command presence. I had something a couple years ago, I was in the parking lot of the grocery store with my husband, it was very obvious that there were two people approaching us and you know, we recognize that they were the under the influence of drugs. And you know, their body language was strange and like they were fully in our personal space. And this is you know, before the pandemic when people would still get like up in your bubble. Like I fully made eye contact and was like what like, what do you want like not like in a confrontational manner because you don't want to like incite people to start something with you. I'm not about that type of life. But I want people to know like, Hey, I know what you're doing I know this isn't normal, go away. In parking lot settings, I like to look at the reflection of cars, even if it's a little dirty, you can still see like the reflection of like what's behind you and what's around you. I'm always doing that, whether it's my car or someone else's car, I personally am always concealed carrying. And if I'm not, for some reason, the only reason that I don't is if you know, I plan on drinking, and if I don't, then my husband does, but we really try to both be carrying at the same time together. It's important to have these tools with you and readily accessible and if concealed carry is something you're not comfortable with, which is totally fine, it took me a very long time to be comfortable with it, have other options like pepper spray, or a personal safety alarm, or something that you feel comfortable with, that can buy you some time to get away and call 911 or get to your car or you know, get somewhere safe. That's really important. It's important to have to have options and to not just be willing to let yourself be a victim, not feeling safe in your own person and in your own home is a really horrible feeling. I still have moments of feeling like that it never fully goes away. But I really felt like that when I first lived in my own apartment, before my husband and I started dating. And it's a horrible feeling like not being able to sleep at night hearing like, super quiet noise outside and thinking like, oh my god is someone going to break in your mind just goes crazy. Thinking of all these what ifs, the more learning and experience I got with making my safety a top priority and you know, reading articles on it and following other women who talk about things that I talked about as well. Over time, that fear just slowly breaks down. And don't get me wrong, you know, it's it's still there. And fear is a great driving factor to keep yourself safe. But I hope women never feel that way ever again. Because there are tools out there. There's information out there, there's resources out there that can really help you feel safe in your own home, whether it's just you or your kids, or you and your kids and your spouse, whatever, you can totally do it. Don't ever tell yourself like, I am a woman I need my husband to take care of me like no girl, you got this, like you can totally do it. There's nothing that should be holding you back.

Britt  17:21  
I love that you brought up two points that I just want to reflect on real quick. The first was being situationally aware. And I do I think I got that from my dad who was like, you know, he would have you watch the YouTube videos and be like, help me point out the signs that this person is going to attack this person. And you know, so I was used to that. But instinctually The first thing I want to do if I'm walking alone, is pull out my headphones or pretend to be texting or talking on the phone with someone. And I found it very interesting that you're actually not supposed to do that. Do you want to touch upon why you don't want to pretend to be on your phone? If you feel uncomfortable or an easy in the situation that you're in? Oh, totally.

Fran  18:03  
So I mean, first and foremost, if you're on your phone, even if you're legit just pretending Your eyes are not focusing on this potential threat. We always say in law enforcement, watch the hands, it's the hands that are going to kill you. He's not just going to like have a gun like magically float out of his waistband and like press itself against your head like no, it's his hands that are going to do that. So if you're not focused on him or her or whatever threat is present, it's just so much easier for them to take advantage of you and I get it you want to look like you're busy. You want to look like oh yeah, I'll be home in five minutes. Like I completely understand where that's coming from. But don't number one, your eyes aren't focused on this threat. And number two, if you're busy down here, like texting on your phone, or like up here like this, my hands are now preoccupied with whatever I'm holding, and whatever I'm doing, if my hands are up here, my hands can't quickly grab my firearm or pepper spray or like defend off and attack push him away anything like that. So it's really important to have these things like free to do what they need to do. Whether that's just simply watching someone or reacting to an attack. It's great if you're like, our 911 system has like a 911 text option. If you're doing that awesome, but put your phone away. Or you can like put it on speakerphone and have your phone in your purse or in your pocket like a little kangaroo pocket something if you're trying to contact 911 Yeah, like your hands are going to be a little preoccupied. But call them put it on speakerphone and put that phone away. Or don't even worry about talking because we can track your location and we can find you through that just don't hang up. Even if you do hang up. We can track your location. It just takes a little bit longer. But yeah, you want to keep everything free. and available for any sort of attack or whatever comes your way.

Britt  20:05  
I love that. And then the second thing that you brought up was pepper spray or some sort of alarm or concealed carry, do you want to just touch upon like the different tools that we might be able to have, from your page, I ended up getting a birdie alarm, I think. But there are so many different things that you can get. Do you want to just talk about like, the different options you have and things to look out for with each one. Obviously,

Fran  20:33  
there's a ton of options out there, start with like, lower level stuff and work our way up. So the birdie safety alarm is great, or just you know, other safety alarms. I've seen a lot of them out there. I personally really like the birdie alarm. I have one for myself, I bought one for my mom. And they recently came out with like, their birdie safety alarm plus, I could be getting the name wrong. But it's like an upgraded version, where when you do deploy your alarm, it automatically connects to 911. Which is cool. Yeah, it's great. I mean, it costs a little bit each month. That's how it's gonna be. Unfortunately, none of this stuff is free. But when it comes down to your safety, it's totally worth it. So safety alarms are great, you know, there's no state laws regulating anything like that. Pepper spray is awesome. I've personally been pepper sprayed twice through work, not like not by like a bad guy or anything like that. But we we do have to be exposed to it for our training to be able to carry it. So I was exposed in two separate academies, and it is rough. It sucks, I hate it. But you can fight through it, you know, and that's the whole point of our training to see that it is possible to fight through it. But if it's possible for me to fight through it, it's obviously possible for someone else to fight through it, especially if they're under the influence of any sort of controlled substance because that's going to affect their thinking, and their brain processing. And you know, their pain tolerance, like they might have no idea they've even been pepper sprayed, it might not affect them. And that's another takeaway from this is these tools might work on some people, but they don't work on everyone. It's important to remember, like, it's not life isn't like the movies, it's not like, you get someone in the eyes with pepper spray, and they just go down like that, or, you know, God forbid, you, you use your firearm and you shoot someone once and they go down like that, like that's not realistic. So having that in your mind of like, okay, you know, I need to fight my way through this until the end, rather than just like one spray or one shot. And I'm done. Because you never know how someone's going to react. So after pepper spray, there's like electronic weapons. So like a taser. There's a lot of like off brand things like their cell phone cases that have like the little stun gun. Guy. I've never used anything like that.

I've never seen anything like that in person, but I have seen them online, I have also been tased in my training, that's a little bit more intense than the pepper spray. I personally could not fight through it. But I have seen through work firsthand where people are able to fight through it. And that, again, if there's some sort of mental health issue on board, or some sort of stimulant use on board, that's going to change how these things affect these people. You know, some people will just be straight up so angry, you see it a lot like at a bar fight. They're so angry, and you deploy your Taser and like the darts have a good spread, there's two darts and you know, the larger the spread on the body, the better muscle incapacitation you get. So like if it's super tiny, it's not as good. But if it's like, you know, once in my shoulder and ones like down by my calf, oh, that's solid, rare, but solid. But you'll see people sometimes where they'll just like swipe it and pull these darts out of themselves or break the electric wires, and they're like fight on. So keep in mind that those things don't always work with those, you can't be super far away. And I'm a big fan of creating distance between myself and a threat. Like I'm a smaller statured person, you know, you compare me to a lot of my male counterparts at work, who they're a lot bigger, they're a lot more muscular. I have no shame in saying they could handle themselves a lot longer and a lot better in a physical fight than I can. That's, you know, that's just me being realistic. And I think that's fine with admitting that. So I like to create distance and create space because the more distance I have between someone, the more time I have to figure out how I'm going to react to them. And people need to like understand time equals everything in this world. It gives you a chance to own a runaway or grab your pepper spray or whatever gives you time to figure out a plan of attack. So after electronic weapons, I mean there's knives I personally do not carry a knife for protection. I carry a knife to use as a multi tool. We're using it at work to like cut seat belts and things like that and like Getting close off of people if we need to render aid, but I have no intention to use my knife as a personal protection tool. That's because I haven't been trained in bladed weapon fighting. If you have awesome good for you, you know, that's definitely on my bucket list of things to be trained on, because it's a great skill. But I'm a huge proponent on if you do not know how to use this tool, do not carry it, don't carry it, because it can be used against you. And God forbid, you know, someone gets control of that weapon and is now using it against you. That's like, worst case scenario, you know, everyone's worst nightmare. Never want that to happen. So knives are an option. But I personally, it makes me very uncomfortable to recommend them to people, as a personal protection tool, you know, I always throw out the disclaimer, like, Hey, if you want to carry a knife, you know, get some training on it. It's just like a firearm, once you get into like that deadly force region of tools. It's nothing to take lightly, like safety alarms, cool, like anyone can carry one, like your three year old can carry one, whatever, it's great. I think they're awesome. And as you get higher up in the spectrum, more training and more responsibility comes with it. And you have to respect this tool and acknowledge like, Okay, I need to be trained on this, I can't just pick it up and expect to know how to use it expect to have this automatic retention that's going to come with it. It's a deadly weapon. It's nothing to take lightly. And you know, there's other tools, I'm probably pronouncing this wrong, but like the Kabataan totally pronouncing it wrong, but it's like that little like spiky thing that you see on a lot of DKA change. And I see that and I'm like, Okay, that's great, too. Like, I've seen some women like hold it, because it like fits perfectly in the knuckles of their hands. And it's kind of like a spiky stabby type tools. Like that's great, but I'm not trained on it. And I know a lot of people are not trained on it. So I just err on the side of caution and stuff like that. And then obviously, you have firearms, that takes a long time to be comfortable. It's a big deal. It's something I still don't take lightly, you know, I will never take that lightly. With firearms, I know I will forever be learning and growing and skills and proficiency. But at the end of the day, that thing is my right hand, and I don't leave the house without it. It has made me feel so much safer. In my own home, when I'm out and about everything. You know, I hate to use the word paranoid, I prefer to use the word like aware, you know, like you're aware of all of like the worst case scenarios. And the worst thing that can happen while you're out and about I'd rather focus on that than the word paranoid, but I think about that a lot. And I think it's important to focus on. Okay, well, worst case scenario, if blah, blah, blah, happens, I'm going to do this or that. And I think about these, like emergency planning tips in my head constantly. And it's a little OCD. But, I mean, it's important, because then if something like that really does happen, whether you're in your own home or out and about, you know exactly what you're going to do. You can have every safety tool out there. But if your brain isn't processing, or if you're not thinking about these situations ahead of time, that's half the battle, figuring out a safety plan, figuring out what you're going to do. And thinking about it before it happens is huge. Everyone reacts differently to all scenarios, especially like you know, a high stress scenario or something where someone's physically attacking you, you have no idea how you're gonna react until it's happening. But if you've planned out ahead of time in your head, like, Okay, I'm going to do this, then this, then this and I'll go to this safety tool. At this point, you're going to be so much more ahead of the game rather than just sitting there panicking and thinking like, well, shoot, I should have figured this out sooner because it's a lot. There's, you know, there's a lot of moving parts to the whole safety element. But there's so much planning you can do ahead of time to make you feel a little bit more prepared.

Britt  29:00  
I love that I remember distinctly I'm the oldest of four kids. And our age ranges are up to 10 years apart. Me and my youngest sister are 10 years and the other two are somewhere in the middle. And I remember distinctly the four of us were with my dad and I was really little but we were in Home Depot and in little Vermont there aren't too many Home Depot so you got to go where they are. And it just so happened to be the town that my dad was a police officer and and we had this cart full of stuff like we were ready to go check out and all of a sudden my dad was like, okay, yep, that's it. Nevermind, change my mind. We're all getting like, leave the store. Now. You know, he recognized someone that he works with. He knew it wasn't gonna go well, if they were recognized and I always found my dad to be super overly aware of his surroundings all the time. He always faced the door of buildings. He still can't sit in a restaurant booth with his back to the door like he just can't do that. And I've never considered it paranoid but I I can see where you brought that up how paranoid has such a, it's such a negative thing to say I'm paranoid. But if you're like I am situationally aware or I am aware of the outcomes of this and not good. We talk about what ifs in our business all the time. But I feel like this really correlates well with that, just to kind of tie it into the business theme. It is so important to recognize that understanding and being aware of different scenarios, it's not a negative thing. It's just an awareness thing. And I think that's beautiful, no matter what kind of situation you're in, say, someone's listening, and they're like, Okay, great, I'm going to go order the birdie alarm, I'm going to go get some pepper spray, I'm going to order all these things off of Amazon, you know, I'm going to get me a pink taser, or whatever that looks like. But obviously, that's going to take time to come in. So what do you recommend for someone who doesn't have any of those things? What should someone do if they don't have anything, physically there to protect them like pepper spray?

Fran  31:02  
With the pandemic, a lot of people have been affected, like financially, everything like that everyone's budgeting, maybe these tools aren't financially accessible to everyone. And if you can't afford a tool like that, don't let it deter you don't let it make you think, Well, I don't have XYZ tools. So I'm just going to be a victim like No, no way, you can get along just fine without any tools. I always say like, if I'm somewhere where I cannot have it tool, my best tool, and this is going to sound cheesy is my brain. And that just goes back to constantly being situationally aware, you know, paying attention to your surroundings, having command presence, which, you know, I learned command presence when I worked in a jail facility real quick, because if you don't have that you get walked on all the time. So using tools that don't really like exist in the real world, but your brain will get you so far, if you're paying attention. And you know, just making sure that you're aware of everything around you like when we go to places where we can't have any sort of tools like we're big Disney fans, I know everyone has their own opinion on that. But like I grew up going to Disneyland Disneyland is literally my second home. So like when we go there, you can't take anything back in the day when we would go as kids, you know, my dad could bring his firearm because he's he was a he's still a law enforcement officer. But now it doesn't matter what you are doesn't matter if you have a concealed carry permit nothing, you can't bring a firearm into Disneyland, you can't bring any sort of weapons, nothing at all pretty much. But I make sure when I'm there, I always have like a compact medical kit with me. In my medical kit. I always have. I like to have two tourniquets, but you know if for like sighs reason, I always want to have at least one, I always have at least two chest seals. And those are good for like a sucking chest wound. And gloves. The gloves that I use are, you know, like black gloves look super cool and tactical and awesome. But at the same time, you can't see what fluids are on your gloves. So I got this tip from a firefighter long time ago. And he told me to use like blue or purple gloves. Because you can see if something's water or urine or blood or whatever fluid, you can differentiate with those gloves. So I make sure that the gloves on my kit, or the blue or the purple gloves. So I always have some sort of medical kit with me. But yeah, this sounds so cheesy, but your brain is going to be your best tool. Don't ever let the fact that you can't, you know afford or physically acquire or they're just caught up in shipping with all these cargo ships stuck everywhere. You know, don't let that deter you from being able to make your safety a top priority. Constantly being willing to learn and grow and evolve your brain and your skills is huge. Just because you don't have tools. There's no excuse, you can totally make your safety a top priority without tools. Tools make things a little bit easier in different scenarios. But it's not like the be all end all of the safety world.

Britt  34:10  
I love that. And I have one more question because you've mentioned this quite a few times. And I just want to bring it to the forefront of our listeners brains. You keep saying the word defend yourself and putting distance between you and the threat. So I'm curious your stance on this. Are we supposed to like if there's a threat or you know, you said no confrontation? You said distance like am I supposed to go up and be like, hey, what do you want? Like, come fight me like am I supposed to fight off this person? Or am I supposed to do what I can to disable them and then run?

Fran  34:43  
You know, so it's tough because every situation is going to be so different. Like I've been doing this for a minute now. workwise and I've never had, you know something to be like completely the same as another scenario. So it's hard to say like, you know, there's no set formula Like first do this, then do that. And it sucks because it would wouldn't life be so much easier if there was like, you could totally avoid all bad scenarios, if there was this formula you could follow. In my perspective, the first thing I do, and what's always at the top of our list of priorities responding to calls his officers safety. So you show up and you assess the scene, you know, is it even safe for me to handle this right now? Like, do I need to back out and create space and create distance? From like a more civilian perspective? You know, you're going to assess, can I even create space? Or do I need to act now? Do I need to pull out my pepper spray? Do I need to pull out my firearm, you have to have that knowledge about you to not just think, oh, shoot, I should run away. But then, you know, God forbid, someone shoots you in the back while you're running, because there's always options for that to happen. So I would say, you know, assess the situation. And you know, you might assess it incorrectly, you might be wrong, you might think it's safe to run away, and it's not or vice versa. And that's just the unfortunate part about you know, safety is it's not always definitive, but me personally, I'm huge on you know, let me assess this, see where I can go from here, I always like to choose, like the least, the least intensive everything, like if I can get out, if I can get out of this by talking my way out of it, I would so much rather do that than pulling out any sort of weapon. And I'm the same at work, everything, you know, that gets me out of so many fights at work with all these different suspects, if you can, like talk your way out of it and calm this person down. Awesome, great good for you. That's a huge skill, you know, that's really important to have. But if you have to handle this problem right here, right now, whether that's to get you space to be able to run away, or for you to be able to access your phone to call 911. You just have to assess it. I know my own limitations. And that's another important thing to factor in. Like, if you have a limitation with ABC, then maybe that means you don't handle something one way and you handle it a different way. And it's totally fine to have different limitations. But be realistic with yourself. Like I'm totally realistic knowing like, oh, okay, this person just ran for me, well, I'll just write this one up and send it to the district attorney because I'm not going to chase after them. Because I know my limitations. And I'm okay with that. It's important to accept the limitations you have, whether that's, you know, physical limitations, or, again, like I don't have this tool, or I don't have this skill or this knowledge on this tool, and that's fine. But also figure out different alternatives to be still be able to handle the situation. I love

Britt  37:41  
that and you brought up a lot of really awesome points. But I can promise you that these things are found on her Instagram, because her Instagram is a great resource. She even has a whole reel on different purses that you can get for concealed carry reels and videos and posts about how to conceal carry, if that's the right fit for you. She has exercises that you can do. She has videos on like how to sweep and things like that. So if you want more information, please go follow her. I love her account. I've been following it for over a year. I love it to death. So Frank, go ahead and tell everybody where they can find you online.

Fran  38:23  
Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram, thin blue lifestyle, no spaces, no underscores just all the words together, then blue You can reach out to me there you know with messages or questions, I will start doing like longer blog style posts on my website, Instagram caps it at, you know, a certain amount of characters. And I clearly since I'm here, I love to chat. I could chat all day about this stuff.

Britt  38:50  
That is awesome. I really appreciate you sharing that because you were the first account that I came across. That was like, Yeah, girl, you got this. And I was like, Wait a second. Heck yeah, I do. Like, duh. Like, why is that a limiting belief that I have that I can't and that my husband should? Right? Yes. So I love what you promote? And I think everybody should go follow you. My final two questions for you. We ask every guest What is something that you're learning right now.

Fran  39:21  
So right now I just switched over my firearm to a red dot sight. If you're like if anyone who's listening is familiar with firearms, you have iron sights, which is like you know, old school the most common and then there's also an option for red dot sight. So I just switched over to that. And it's just a completely different way of like muscle memory and your brain. with iron sights. You shoot with one eye open and with a red dot you're supposed to shoot with both your eyes open which is great because you can focus on this, you know potential threat in front of you, rather than a piece of metal. So it's just completely training my brain differently. And that's been a little mentally taxing. But I've got a couple of classes coming up. And I'm very excited. My husband tried to get me on the red dot bandwagon, and I finally jumped on it. And it's, it's great. It's awesome. But it's, it's a lot.

Britt  40:19  
I love that. And then lastly, how do you embrace being an M E? Oh,

Fran  40:24  
you know, I embrace it by like, just like what you said, by having the confidence to not think, Oh, I'm a woman, my husband will protect me or my spouse or significant other or dad or brother like, no girl, like, you don't need anybody to protect you by yourself. Like you got this. There are so many tools out there. There's so many resources out there for you. And just owning it. The whole concept of living in fear and having anxiety and being uncomfortable, is horrible. I've been there. I'm still there. At times. It's normal, but it is a crippling feeling. And I don't ever want to feel that way. I don't ever want any woman to feel that way. So just embracing you know, your own safety and having the confidence to think I can do this is key because we all can totally do. This just takes time and learning and there's nothing wrong with that.

Britt  41:17  
I love that. Well, thank you so much, Fran. I really appreciate it. I think we all need that little pep talk. We all need that reminder that we are strong, independent women. I'm so grateful to know you and to be connected with you and I just thank you so much.

Fran  41:33  
I'll say I'm so glad we connected. It's been an awesome friendship and I'm so glad that you love them blue lifestyle and everything we do. That's what it's all about.

Britt  41:42