by | Jun 19, 2019 | KJ Howe | 6 comments

For some people, planning for disaster is a lifestyle. These adrenalized experts are focused on being maximally prepared for any catastrophe—from a power outage to a nuclear war to the zombie apocalypse. While a few might go overboard, there is merit in anticipating and planning for challenges you may face. Perhaps our grandmothers were right when they counselled, “A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In my FREEDOM BROKER series, protagonist Thea Paris adopts this philosophy with her SINK (Survival Insurance Nightmare Kit) bag, which she takes worldwide on missions. Its contents change depending on the assignment. Want to build your own kit? Determine what threats your environment might pose and chose your equipment accordingly. What you pack in your car while driving during winter in Northern regions will be very different from the gear needed for a trip across the Arizona desert. Consider your environment carefully when deciding what tools and gadgets might make your trip safer.
Here are a few basics that might prove helpful:

·      Darkness can be intimidating. Picking up things you have dropped, or just walking safely on a dark, moonless night can be a challenge. Carry a small, inexpensive LED flashlight on your key ring. They weigh virtually nothing and you might be surprised how often you use it. Walking on a path to a cottage, finding the slot to insert your key at night, or even inspecting dark corners in a room in a house you are thinking about buying; the uses are endless. In dire circumstances, it could even be used as a self defense tool.
·      I highly recommend carrying a tactical pen. Much sturdier than regular pens, they can be used to sign autographs, as a self-defence weapon, or as a tool for small jobs, such as opening boxes, etc.  They weigh slightly more and cost more than traditional pens, but mine have lasted a long time.  The 5.11 Tactical and Gerber models have a good track record.

·      If you have nightmares about being trapped in a car that is sinking in water, keep an auto rescue tool within reach inside your car. It incorporates a spring-loaded window punch, a curved seatbelt cutting tool, an LED flashlight and a longer blade for cutting cloth or wire, etc.  Getting yourself or someone else out of a disabled, burning or sinking car with speed can be the difference between life and death. Statgear, a company started by a NYC paramedic offers an excellent product, and they make sensational holiday gifts.
·      First Aid kits are critical. They come in all shapes, sizes, purposes, and price points so choose the one that best suits your needs. A few things to keep in mind—while the latest research demonstrates tourniquets are powerful first aid tools, many kits don’t have them, so you may want to buy a good one and add it to your kit. Also, no tool is effective if you don’t have the skill to use it. Practise using everything ahead of time to build your skill and confidence.
·      They would revoke my Canadian citizenship if I didn’t recommend adding duct tape to your SINK. Known to the British as “gaffer tape,” this might be the single most useful product invented. It can repair machines, tools, and clothes, works as a first aid tool, stops leaks, kickstarts fires when burned as a fire starter, and can immobilize and gag prisoners in tactical situations. It’s also available in a multitude of cool colours to match your ensemble.
If you decide to go into full Thea Paris mode, you can purchase anti-kidnapping kits. This includes several items, such as handcuff keys, shims, razor blades, cutting wire, etc. designed to be secreted in your clothes or on your body. Fans of 5.11 Tactical clothing will discover multiple hidden pouches for keys, handcuff keys, and other items that were designed for use by CIA operatives. Just make sure you have the sales person clearly show you where these are before you take the items home…they are pretty much impossible to find if you don’t know where to look.
These are a few of my favorite safety items. What would be in your SINK bag?
Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. K. L. Romo

    Ha!!!! Nice to know. I've gotta get me an auto rescue tool. How cool are those?

  2. Robin Burcell

    Checking my list. Love the duct tape to match my ensemble! And I'm with K.L. Romo in that I need to get me an auto rescue tool.

  3. Rogue Women Writers

    What a terrific list! I'm definitely going to order one of those Statgear tools for the car! Thanks for this – and by the way, your thriller, THE FREEDOM BROKER, was terrific too!….Karna Bodman

  4. Gayle Lynds

    Love this list, KJ. Talk about backup tools & frontend tools. Perfect!

  5. Lisa Black

    The very first item I’d pack to go anywhere is ChapStik, but that’s probably not what you meant.
    My husband gave me a tactical pen for Christmas. (We’re a super romantic couple that way.)

  6. Chris Goff

    I had Raisa Jordan use a tactical pen during a fight scene in RED SKY. I bought one to see how it worked. They even had a video link that showed how to use it. The company that sells the tactical pen sells all sorts of things you might need in an emergency. Totally forgot about the duct tape that comes in ensemble colors. Great list! Thanks.