We can't control what happens around us, but we can prepare to keep ourselves safe in an emergency or dangerous situation. Wherever you are and whatever you do, take time to think about your safety and ways you can protect yourself. Safety is most efficient when practiced in layers, so if one technique fails, you have others to fall back on. For example, while you may carry pepper spray, if you're not paying attention to your surroundings, you may not be able to use it in time to protect yourself. The best way to consciously think about safety is when it's simple and easy to remember. Use this acronym to identity and practice the different layers of your personal safety.
- Stop and gather information about your surroundings and possible hazards. Situational awareness is one of the best proactive methods of enhancing your security. Who's walking near me? What is the safest path to get to my destination?
- Analyze your current situation and what safety mechanisms are at your disposal. Can you notify a family member or friend of your plans? Do you have your pepper spray or taser?
- Find resources near you that you could go to for help if needed. Is there a safe location nearby? Are there bystanders that I can ask for help?
- Establish a plan. Take action if you feel threatened or scared, and don't be embarrassed if you cause a scene.
In addition to practicing, planning is essential. Nowadays, there are many devices and apps for your personal safety. For example, smartphones have features and apps that can share your location with others, help you contact law enforcement, check up on you during a night out, and even acts as a sound alarm. Do your research and find an app that works best for you. Increasing your awareness of safety measures is just the first step, be proactive, download the app, buy a safety device, and practice your plan.
Finally, no one knows you better than yourself, so trust your instincts if you feel that something is wrong. If you pay attention to your gut feeling and the warning signs, you can better react and protect yourself. Don't be ashamed or afraid to report if you've been the victim of a crime. Your report could help prevent it from happening to someone else.
Visit our Situational Awareness page to learn more.