The Welsch refer to February as y mis bach, meaning little month – and we think some of the best safety tips come in small packages. Here are some ways you can take this little month and implement small changes to significantly enhance your personal safety. Make these safety strategies habit in February so that your little month will be well-spent on improving your personal security.
- Stay at least 12 feet away from strangers.
Safety starts with distance, because an assailant always has the benefit of foresight. Maintaining a safe distance will allow you more time to get poised to react. If you’re 12 feet away from an attacker, they have to take at least two steps to get to you, giving you a heads up that something’s off.
- Notice exits.
When you enter any indoor location, quickly scan the area to take note of the exits. This way, if anything makes you feel uneasy, you can plan an emergency escape route.
- Avoid walking alone.
We’ve heard about the buddy system since we were little, but it can be easy to forget when you’re out running errands or even walking to the restroom at a crowded bar. If at all possible, walk with someone you trust and remember there’s safety in numbers.
- Watch your body language.
Scan the area, letting potential assailants know that you are aware of what’s going on around you. Exude confidence, walking with your shoulders back and head upright. Don’t look at the ground or your cell phone while you’re walking. Make eye contact with people who approach you – this seems counterintuitive, but it’s best to let people know they aren’t catching you unawares.
- Be smart about ATMs.
Especially ATMs that are outdoors with sidewalk access. Avoid using ATMs at night, and have someone standing with you if possible. Whenever you do use an ATM, be extremely alert and aware of your surroundings. Be discreet when tucking your cash away.
- Ditch manners when someone gives you the creeps.
Lie if necessary to get out of a potentially dangerous situation – say you’re in a hurry or someone’s waiting for you. Don’t hesitate to be rude if someone pushes your boundaries. Be blunt, loud and clear, letting the other person know exactly how you feel while attracting onlookers. Ask others for help if a stranger won’t leave you alone. Above all, trust your gut!
- Carry a personal safety product.
We recommend you carry pepper spray or a personal alarm when out and about. At around $10, this is a small investment with a big impact! Remember not to leave your personal safety item in your purse or bag. Instead, keep it on your keychain and in your hand so that it’s ready at a moment’s notice.
Print a PDF cheat sheet with these safety tips and share it with someone you love – because isn’t love what February is all about? Stay tuned this month for more ways to #ShowYouCare by keeping personal safety top of mind.
All of these insights came directly from our Civilian Safety Awareness Program curriculum. Enroll here.