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5 Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes To Increase Your Personal Safety

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The following is a guest post from Deidre Lin – an author, artist and advocate of Healthy Living and owner of TransFormX – a blog/website focusing on Living Healthy for body, mind and spirit.  For a complete Dynamic Safety Plan go to www.transformx.com.

I love my job working with victims of natural disasters and have worked in the insurance industry for over a decade.  After a natural disaster many of the common infrastructure systems that we take for granted are no longer viable or functioning.  Usually governments take pro-active measures to ensure that the lives and property of the people in the area are safe but sometimes there can be an atmosphere of lawlessness or a greater possibility of being in an unsafe situation.

Being in this situation many times has prompted me to enact many safety measures that I use to this day whether I am working or not.  Some may say that I have a touch of paranoia or are being overly cautious.  Unfortunately we live in a society that is unpredictable and I have found that it is best to be prepared so that you can easily remove yourself from a situation quickly and easily if needed; or better yet, know what to look out for to avoid being placed in an unsafe situation.

Here are 5 suggestions towards implementing your own Dynamic Safety plan:

1.    Keep your cell phone charged at all times. This seems obvious but with all the other things we have to do during our busy days sometimes we don’t charge our phones until the battery is almost dead.  If a situation happened you may need that cell phone charged!

2.   If you are going to an unfamiliar city have your GPS or map available.  Call ahead to the person you are visiting (or hotel) and find out the best routes to take and the routes NOT to take.  Many times the information you need most is where NOT to go!

3.   Establish a code text message or call code – something that means: “I’m in trouble and need help NOW!”  In the event of an emergency, text or place a quick call and leave the code on voice mail.

You may be thinking “yea but I have ‘OnStar’ “.  It’s true that ‘OnStar’ can assist in many instances.  But what if a situation happens and you are not in or by your vehicle to press the button?  A code you could quickly text would come in handy.

This is a good one to teach your kids if they are of an age to carry cell phones.  Obviously it would only be used in an emergency and the definition of emergency should be firmly established.

4.   Tell someone where you are going. This seems like common sense but many people go about their day and are not aware of how situations could impact their lives.  This is especially important for elderly people or kids.  If you have an elderly person in your life, have them check in each day so that you are aware of their schedule.  If they go to the store and were gone too long and got sick, or something of that nature, you would be able to know where to start looking if need be.

5.   When arriving and parking somewhere, take notice of your surroundings and be vigilant. Walk confidently with your head up and even stride.  If you carry a purse make sure it’s closed and carry it securely rather than dangling it.

Obviously, there are many more things you could do and plans you could enact, self-defense courses and the like.  These are 5 simple things that are easy to implement without disrupting your entire routine and could keep you safe without you even knowing otherwise.

Above all, go with your gut feeling because 9 times out of 10 if something doesn’t seem right, it isn’t.  These simple safety precautions are common sense but all of the things we pack into our days, we get busy and just plain forget until something arises.  If you get used to being prepared chances are better that you will remain calm and focused in the unlikely event something does happen.

Crystal’s Comments:  I took self-defense classes right before college and a few of these were mentioned (paying attention to your environment was a big one).  I also remember the leader of thr group mentioning to use your keys as weapons unless they want the car – then throw them as far away from you as possible and run in the opposite direction.  Can you think of any other tips to improve your general safety?



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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36 thoughts on “5 Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes To Increase Your Personal Safety

  1. I actually left the house without my cell phone yesterday and was kind of freaked out! What if I got into a car accident, how would I tell my wife? Well, luckily I made it home without any trouble, but after reading this article, I will make sure to not only have my phone with me, but to have it charged as well!

  2. Also, don’t chat on your cell phone when walking through parking lots and such, especially at night. Criminals love to sneak up on those who aren’t paying attention.

  3. @Melissa. Always stay in a populated spot. No matter what, do NOT go someplace secluded or private. That’s known as a secondary crime scene. If you want to have problem sleeping, google that. Nothing good happens at a secondary crime scene.

    @Crystal. If keys made good weapons, they wouldn’t be allowed on planes. They are absolutely ineffective and just put you in arm’s reach of the bad guy. It’s a “feelgood” thing that cops like to tell potential victims because it isn’t socially acceptable to tell someone to use an effective self-defense tool: a gun and some training.

    @Everyday. Situational awareness is the bomb. The earlier you see a problem, the more choices you have. If you notice a thug hanging around the bushes by your car when you leave a store, you can go back inside. If you don’t notice until you’re right next to him, you’ve got problems.

  4. @LifeAndMyFinances, I freak out when I forget my cell too…

    @Melissa, good tip.

    @Everyday Tips, I have heard that too. If you must stay in the lot for some reason, have the engine ready to go and lock all of the doors.

    @Jason, I don’t do the key thing, I just remembered the key thing. I have mace on my keychain that’ll shoot 25 feet, my teeth, my elbows, and really strong legs. And I can flip a guy twice my size. 🙂 I have also heard that tasers and taser guns are nice too. I wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying an actual gun (probably the only Texan ever to say that, lol). With my nervous tendencies, I very probably could hurt myself or an innocent bystander. If I accidentally mace myself or shock myself, it would suck, but not as much.

  5. @LifeAndMyFinances …. Its interesting how quickly we have gotten used to the cell phone and feel naked without it! I thought I forgot mine one time when I left for appointments and had several anxious moments before I realized where it was LOL

    @Melissa, The crashing tip has its pros and cons. Good if you crash into a building or parked car – Bad if you accidentally hit someone and kill them then it’s negligent homicide 🙁

    @Everyday Tips, Parking lots are notorious for people lying in wait for some reason or another.

    @Jason, All good points my friend!

  6. Luckily I don’t have to use a lot of these rules anymore, but I’ll give a few more old fashioned ones, particularly if you live in a rough area of town.

    1. Always have your doors locked. When you’re in your house, in your car, etc.
    2. Make sure when you leave the house, lock any windows that can be accessed by climbing onto a porch or roof, etc. (this got me broken into once).
    3. When you’re walking to your car, make sure you take the keys out of your purse before you exit the store. Have the unlock button or actual car key in hand, so you’re ready to go. Also, fishing around for your keys at your car makes you seem like bait.
    4. If someone is constantly calling your house and hanging up (and you don’t think it’s an annoying ex), that might mean a person is casing your house and trying to determine if you are home or not.
    5. Similarly, try to alter your routine a bit so that neighbors don’t expect you gone at predictable times of the day.
    6. If you have an intercom system, don’t buzz in anyone you don’t know.

    Other bigger things..

    -Don’t drive a car that’s fancier than the neighborhood you live in. It automatically targets you as having more money than you’re crack addicted neighbors.
    -Similar to the above, don’t flaunt your stuff or money in public.
    -Try to blend in as much as possible. If you’re running around in a polo shirt and golf pants in the hood, you’re going to get singled out a lot faster than if you wear something more inconspicuous.

    We got robbed a couple of times in college and one of my roommates broke many of these rules. She drove a nice car, she always wore a lot of jewelry, she’d come home from a shopping spree with a carload of bags. It just screamed “ROB THIS HOUSE”. My other room mate and I had a lot more street smarts and a lot less money. I think if it were just the two of us, we would have blended right in to the neighborhood and no one would be the wiser.

    Thanks for the article.

  7. One thing I used to do a lot that I’ve since learned can be dangerous is to sit in my car and work on stuff in a parking lot. Parking lots are dangerous, you’re distracted, and so you can become a target. One other thing that’s dangerous (sad to say) is to help strangers, especially if they are in or near a vehicle. It’s easy for them to grab you and take off. I will sometimes still help with directions or what not but I stand 6+ feet away and shout :p

  8. @ Jackie, yes, you have to be extra vigilant if you do work in your car. I have to work in my truck as part of my job but I try and stay right there in front of the house I just inspected. It’s much safer. Most of the time the windows are up and the doors locked too.

  9. Very interesting list. There have only been a few times where I’ve been really freaked out about my surroundings (East St Louis, anyone?)

    The cell phone is single-handedly the best tool we have in our possession. I think everyone should own one…at least a pre-paid one. As a plus, most cell phones have cameras which, should you need to record something, is very handy. Evidence and a direct line to the authorities all in one device!

  10. @ JT – East St. Louis 🙂

    @ krantcents – Its always interesting when I go to an appointment and the roofer or contractor tries to block me in as an intimidation tactic 🙂 Of course, my Dodge 2500 4X4 can handle going down any curb as an alternate means of leaving but usually I park so that no once can do that LOL

  11. One thing I find invaluable, especially while traveling is having an iPod Touch with me. You can get free wifi from Starbucks, McDs (and some KFCs) which is very handy in a pinch.

  12. How about making sure you never go below 1/4 tank of gas? What happens if there’s an emergency and you don’t have any gas in your car… Maybe you have to rush to the ER or somebody is chasing you. I sure wouldn’t want to run out.

  13. I usually try to be as aware of my surroundings as possible, but I cant tell if it’s made a difference or not (thankfully nothing bad has happened to me!). I like the map tip as well, as they (maps) are my jobs, I’m partial 🙂

  14. @ Jeff – Gotta love maps! When I am going to an unfamiliar city I usually color-code the map and get my bearings before I even start appointments 🙂

    @ Charles – Great tip! I have extra batteries for my cameras (and extra cameras) and I do have 1 extra cell phone battery – just in case!

    @ David – LOL I wish = Semi. It’s a Dodge Ram 2500 4X4 – I have it rigged with a nice Bully Dog system, Banks intake and exhaust. I get 21 mpg on the highway 🙂 and if I am pulling the 40′ flatbed fully loaded I get 11 mpg. And yes, I am in love LOL

  15. One tip I can give is to always have a mean, “I wanna kill someone” look in your face whenever possible. That way people will think twice before they think about doing something to you… If you’re a man, act like an alpha male. If you’re a woman, act as masculine and bitchy as possible.

  16. Good tips. I especially like #1 and #3. With respect to #1, it’s important to do this. Don’t even think that people didn’t have cell phones before and managed ok…because many probably didn’t! Keep your phone charged, and get a charger for your car just in case – and keep it in the car.

  17. @ Squirrelers – Yes, I’ve had to use #3 before. It came in real handy. I had a strange feeling about a place I was at even though I had been very careful. There were even roofers working on the roof the whole time this incident happened – even they were freaked out! I programmed the message into my phone before I got out of the truck and kept it in my coat pocket. When things began to get out of control I just pushed the button and sent the message – just in case 🙂 I was able to leave safely but was chased for miles by the creep!

  18. Very good article! Taking your personal safety is very important! A police officer created a personal monitoring website that monitors your safe arrival home. It’s free, easy to use and confidential. bConcerned.com will confirm your safe return home and will notify your alert contact when you fail to return!

  19. Deirdre, good post and good advice. I like #1 and #5.
    It bears repeating, to have good situational awareness in parking lots. To add to the discussion: avoid shopping after dark. I realize that with people’s busy schedules this is often unavoidable, but if there were a ready statistic that tracked shopping lot crimes, I suspect where the percentages should fall with respect to dark vs. broad daylight. Although women may be more vulnerable, men are not exempt. I personally know someone who was mugged at knifepoint in a supermarket parking lot (after dark), and I myself was stalked walking out of Walmart with a brand-new Xbox360 and my boys in tow (I won’t highjack the thread with the whole story).

  20. 101 – “I myself was stalked walking out of Walmart with a brand-new Xbox360 and my boys in tow.”
    Wow! That is certainly bold! Was it during the holidays by chance?? Good thing you are such an aware individual!

    Glad you liked the post!

  21. Thanks so much for sharing 5 of many Personal Safety tips. I so remember the days when I was young and how aware I have been of my own safety. I love the tips about the cell phone charged and the code text is an wonderful idea. I would also like to add the ICE (In Case of Emergence) number to be checked so that is something happens they know where to find your family. You many not think of this until it is to late.
    Every women needs to invest in a personal pepper spray and have the keys to her care ready to hit the panic alarm at all times when walking.
    Thanks Donna http://www.Guardyourselfnow.com

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