I like to post and re-post Realtor Safety tips during Realtor Safety Month each year. You can never be too careful out there. Please read and use the following information.
The most recent world events have left many shocked, and some are fearful. I completely understand. We live in perilous times. It doesn't matter if it's a terrorist attack or an attack on a Realtor. It's all unnerving and scary, but there are things you can do to be prepared and to protect yourself.
I've written a number of blogs on self-preservation in times like this, but it seems that the need to renew that information is always with us. I'd like to offer a few tips to help you feel a little safer in the world you live in.
I spent 16 years working in some of the most dangerous prisons in the United States. I've also worked in former Soviet countries that were trying to find their way out of communism and into freedom. In both scenarios, they were dangerous and unpredictable. You learn a lot about self-preservation when you're the only one who can secure it.
What can you do to feel safer in your daily routine? Before I give you any insights, let me say this. Don't assume because you are vigilant that you will also be paranoid. As you learn to become more vigilant, you will also learn to be less paranoid. Most of the world is a good place, but in those times where you find yourself in a not so good place, you want to be aware and prepared. Here are a few pointers that might save your life and the life of others in a violent event.
- Develop situational awareness. Situational awareness is simply being aware of what's going on around you all the time. That means when you're walking in the mall, driving down the road or eating in a restaurant. You can develop this awareness without feeling like you've become paranoid, but it might take a little while to get there.
- Pay attention all the time. In the first Jason Bourne movie, Jason is in a diner with a woman who is driving him to Paris. He tells her about the guy in the kitchen, a guy at the bar, all of the license plate numbers of the cars in the parking lot which has memorized and which car is likely to conceal a weapon. He is paying attention. Paying attention also means that you will not have your nose stuck to your cell phone all the time when you're in public. You can't do both. People who do that are great targets. Don't be a target.
- Dining out. When dining out, always look to see where the exits are when you enter a restaurant. You want to be seated in a position where you are close to an exit. It doesn't need to be the front door, and in most cases should not be. You'll want to be seated where you can see everyone who is entering your section of the restaurant. That will likely mean having your back to a wall with your eyes facing the flow of diners coming into your section. Here again, it's not a situation where you're staring down everyone who enters your area. You're just aware that they are there and where they are.
- Shopping. Shopping can pose a lot of problems. If you're in a mall, you will want to know where the exits are just like when dining out. Most stores have an exit either to the outside or to a hall that leads to the outside. They are typically in the back of the store. It is easier to be situationally aware in a strip mall. In that case, you have lots of area to move away from a situation.
- Weapons. Weapons are a touchy subject for many people. If you are trained and efficient with a firearm, but all means carry one. Make sure you're aware of local, state and federal laws pertaining to carrying before you leave home with a weapon. You may choose to carry pepper spray or mace. There is also a strong market for stun guns. My wife has a pink one that doubles as an unassuming flashlight. It's the perfect weapon for a Realtor. Also keep a pen or pencil with you that has a steel body. I remember traveling into Europe right after 9/11 and my wife was very concerned about my flight. I pulled out my Cross mechanical pencil and told her that I had all I needed to protect myself. That pencil is rigid enough to penetrate an artery, the chest wall or an eye. In a violent confrontation, it's all about survival.
- If confronted with violence, always flee if possible. If not, you have limited choices. You can shelter in place if you can find a safe place to lock yourself away. If not, you may have to confront an assailant. If you don't have a weapon such as a gun, a stun gun or a pen, see if there is anything you can pick up. An assailant is not expecting to be confronted. If you are close enough to strike an assailant, there are a few areas that give maximum affect that will allow you time to escape. If you can simultaneously smack the assailants ears with your open hands you will disorient him/her temporarily. Of course a blow to the groin or Adam's apple are always good choices, but don't hesitate to drive your fingers up into the eye sockets and jerk them back out. That sounds horrible, but if it's between your survival and an assailants comfort, do what you have to do.
Self protection is a personal responsibility for each and every individual. Most assailants aren't expecting anyone to confront them. Being prepared to make that difficult decision can make the difference between life and death. Awareness is the key. Pay attention, be prepared to flee if possible, but fight if necessary.