Be Aware of Your Surroundings

You have to love technology.  It makes it possible to multi-task by working, searching the internet, sending emails, texting, talking on the phone, reading books, watching videos, or listening to music while doing other things. But while technology makes it possible to pack a lot into your hectic day, it can also cause you to be distracted.

Even before all of these distractions, John frequently admonished me for not paying attention to my surroundings. I remember one time in particular when he yelled to me from the car as I walked through a parking lot because someone was following me, and he felt I was unaware of a potential problem.

awareWith the news this past week of three attacks on the University of Florida campus, it seems like a good time to remind you of the importance of taking some simple precautions for your personal safety.

The Electronic Security Association provides good tips concerning personal safety that we should all think about so we’re in control of our environment. Check them out:

Walking/Running Precautions:

  • Take a friend (even a furry one). Walking a dog, especially one inclined to bark at strangers, is better than venturing out alone.
  • Take your cell phone with you so you can call 911 if you see something suspicious.
  • Let a friend or family member know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Avoid walking too closely to bushes or areas with any kind of tall overgrowth.
  • Stay attentive to your surroundings and if listening to music, keep the volume at a low level so you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • Only run or walk in familiar areas.
  • Use caution when out at night. If you are out after dark, always carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk facing traffic. Facing traffic makes it more difficult for someone to drive up behind you without being noticed. 

Driving and Parked Car Precautions:

  • Before heading to your destination, make sure you have enough gas to get you there and back. You don’t want to be stranded alone.
  • If you feel like you are being followed, drive to the nearest gas station or open business. Do not drive home until you are completely sure you are alone.
  • Roll up the windows and lock all car doors every time you leave your car.
  • When you approach your car, have the key ready.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas especially at night. If possible, park your car under a lamppost.

If You Are Attacked:

  • Noise is your most immediate defense. Not only will sound attract attention to you and make your location known but it may also cause the would-be attacker to flee.
  • If possible, run in the direction of help. An assailant usually will not engage in a pursuit because it could increase the possibility of detection or apprehension.
  • If the assailant demands your purse, keys or money, give it to him or her. Don’t risk your life.
  • Never leave the site of the attack when prompted by an attacker. Don’t believe an assailant that says he or she won’t hurt you if you leave with him or her. Stay where you are, fight and scream.

Since you can only be in control of what you are aware, please be aware of your surroundings!