Safety 101

safety-101I just had the pleasure of taking a safety course with our own city Sheriff Jim Kaelin, in lieu of Realtor® safety month. Although the course was geared toward real estate agents learning safety tips, it occurred to me that these tips and tricks apply to far more scenarios than just being cornered in a vacant home. So I thought I’d share some of the valuable and potentially life-saving techniques that we should all keep in our back pocket – alongside our tactical keychain.

Have a Plan

The most important key to escaping your attacker is to have a plan. The whole goal is to buy yourself time to get away. Sheriff Kaelin told a story that resonated with me. He’ll get groups together, put a series of tinker toys in front of them, and give them 15 seconds to use the toys to create a horse. After 15 seconds, none of the groups had anything that even sort of resembled a horse. They were then told to try again, but they now were given 15 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes, the toys were organized by length, size, etc. and each group had a horse – a head, a body, four legs, a tail. For the third time, they were asked to build a horse, and again given only 15 seconds. The groups were silent, and after 15 seconds, they all had horses. The only difference between the first 15 seconds they were given and the second 15 seconds was that they had a plan.

In the case of an attack: Breathe. Think. Talk. Distract. Escape.

If You’re Grabbed From Behind

Do not immediately reach for your weapon. Talk. Ask them what they want. First, using your right hand, tell your attacker you’re going to grab your wallet or money clip to give to them. Then tell them you’re going to hand over your keys (or whatever it is you may have that they’re likely to want). Again, using your right hand, pass over something else. This is what they call verbal judo, where now your attacker isn’t on such high alert. Now it’s escape time. Using your left hand now, your attacker will only assume you’re reaching for more valuables (as most people are right handed and they will not expect you to reach for a self-defense tool using your non-dominant hand). Instead, pull out your mace, taser, knife, gun, pen, comb, etc. reach across your right shoulder and quickly spray, shoot, stab, etc. Your goal is not to kill – it’s okay if you do not even hit them. Your goal is to stun them enough to let you lose. Escape.

Hands as Tools

If you do not have a weapon, use your second most valuable tool – your hands. In an effort to trouble your attacker so that you have time to break away, start from the top. With your pointer and middle finger, go for the eyes. This will affect their vision and allow you to run. Nose, next. Use the palm of your hand and go straight for the nose and then their ears. Nose will cause tears and ears will cause ringing. Throat punch to knock their airway, knee to the groin (no explanation needed), and finally a kick to the shins. They should be down and you should be out!

Make Noise

DISTRACTION should play a major role in your plan. Once they think you may not be a threat as you’ve proven that you just want to cooperate, pump up the volume! All you need is for your attacker to be startled as they’ll lose their grip or look away just long enough for you to make your exit.

  • Gun shot – a clearly loud and scary noise sure to make anyone jump!
  • Keychain alarm – if you happen to still have your keys on you or in reach, hit your alarm button.
  • Personal alarms – these look like little remotes that can be set up as either motion-detector devices or as a manual activation. They emit an extremely loud sound when activated.

There are also several cell phone apps that can be helpful in a dire situation. One such app to consider downloading for your whole family is called Life360. It is a family locator, messaging tool and communication app all in one.

Chances are, you’ll never need to use these tactics. But, perhaps you and your loved ones should have the conversation – how are you going to build your horse?

 

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