Awareness is the foundation of personal safety and self-defense and gives you a means of safely avoiding or escaping potentially dangerous situations; it replaces false confidence based on denial with true confidence based on fact.

Know Yourself

  • Discover your strengths….emotional, psychological, and physical.
  • Determine how you can enhance those strengths…then do it.
  • Know your limitations and explore ways to minimize those limitations.
  • Trust your instincts…your own feelings and perceptions.
  • Set clear boundaries when you are feeling uncomfortable.

Be aware of your Environment

  • Be attentive to your surroundings.
  • Pick up cues that can help guide your actions.
  • Stay tuned into the here and now.
  • Practice this kind of awareness on a daily basis.
  • Practice basic safety strategies in your home, car, office, or in public.

Awareness alone may not guarantee your personal safety, but it can give you some degree of control on potentially dangerous situations.

Basic Safety Strategies

The following safety strategies, are not absolutes but suggestions about precautions you can take to make yourself and environment safer.

Home Safety

  • Never indicate that you are home alone.
  • Always ask who is at the door before opening it: use a peephole rather than a chain lock. Ask for identification and call the company to verify.
  • If someone comes to the door asking to use your phone, ask him to stay outside while you place the call.
  • Teach children about answering the door and telephone safely.
  • Don’t hide house keys in places they might be found.

On the Street

  • If you are carrying things, try to keep one hand free.
  • If you are followed by someone on foot, turn around and check, then cross the street.
  • If you are followed by someone in a car, turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
  • Consider carrying a whistle, shriek alarm, or other noisemaker.
  • Remember, you have the right not to reply if someone asks for directions.
  • At night walk along well-lighted streets, staying near the curb unless a car pulls up.

Driving a Car

  • Keep all doors locked and the windows rolled up as far as is comfortable.
  • If your car breaks down, turn on the emergency flashers, lift the hood, or place a “Call Police” sign in the window; stay in your car with the door locked until the police arrive.
  • If you are followed while driving, go to the nearest police or fire station, open store; never pull over or drive home.
  • Park in well-lighted areas and always lock the car when you leave it.
  • Check around and inside the car as you approach it.
  • Carry your keys in your hand, ready to use. If there is a parking attendant, only give him/her your ignition key.

At Work

  • If you are uncomfortable about getting on an elevator with a lone man or group of men, wait for the next one. If you are made uncomfortable once on the elevator, get off at the next floor.
  • Know the routes of escape in your work area.
  • If you work late, find out who else is in the building; when you leave, ask someone (perhaps a security guard) to accompany you to your car.

More Information

Assertiveness Skills