Department of Safety & Health Training Institute
Everyday activities like driving, going to work, or walking down the street include some risk to your personal safety. Many workers commute long distances or have mobile jobs and contact with the public. Either through crime or circumstance, people and events can be unpredictable. You can’t avoid all risk but it isn’t wise to act without taking precautions. The best approach is to assess the risks involved with an activity and take the safety measures that are required and logical.
Your best safety tools are your brain and common sense. Think how you would handle various emergency situations and create a safety plan for each one. Arrange to contact coworkers and family members after a disaster such as an earthquake. When driving, consider where you would steer if there was an oncoming car or an accident. If you are attacked, decide if you will resist and how. Preparation before an emergency can keep you calm and making the right choices.
When leaving the office, notify someone where you will be and when you will return. Plan your route and take a map. Have your keys ready and look inside your car before getting in. Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up while you are driving. Never pick up hitchhikers, and report accidents or stranded cars from a telephone instead of stopping at the scene. Park in well-lit areas and check the surroundings before getting out.
On the street, keep to the inside of the sidewalk. Try to walk facing the oncoming traffic to watch for careening cars and prevent someone from pulling you into one. If you carry a purse or bag, be prepared to let it go if it is grabbed. Don’t wear headphones while walking – you won’t hear someone approaching you. Self defense and safety awareness classes may help you feel more secure when you are out and about.
If you are physically assaulted, know that there is no “right” way to respond. You will need to assess your abilities and the situation, and then determine your best course of action. Sometimes, resistance and a shout for help are enough to discourage an attacker. You can try to talk the attacker out of committing the crime or you can submit and try to escape later. You should know that you have the right to reasonably defend yourself with whatever is at hand – but carrying offensive weapons is against the law.
Finally, listen to your intuition and follow your instincts to safety. Don’t be afraid to be impolite, and never stay in an uncomfortable situation.
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