While it is not always possible to prevent an assault, developing greater awareness will better your chances. In a previous blog, we offered an overview of “What is situational awareness. Now, the challenge is putting this awareness into practice.
Here are some basic “awareness-enhancing” habits that you can blend into your daily routines.
- Free Your Senses! Texting, earphones etc… impair your sight and hearing, limiting your ability to sense potential dangers.
- Look Around. Besides developing a sense of your surroundings, you are communicating to a potential assailant that you will not be easy to surprise. You don’t have to have your head on a swivel but develop the habit of scanning your environment, especially behind you.
- Scan for Available Exits. If you need to flee a dangerous situation it saves time if you know where to go.
- Hiding Spots. Around the corner of a building, between vehicles, behind some trees…? If someone wanted to surprise you where would they hide? Give yourself the ability to anticipate by putting yourself in positions where you can see. For example, take a wide arc when walking around the corner of a building.
- Scan for Common Objects. Are there common objects on your person (coins, keys) or in the area (chair, cups…) that you can use to defend yourself?
- How to Get Help? A police station, pressing the yellow strip on the Toronto subway, bystanders, 911… Be aware of who can help and how to reach them.
You don’t have to walk with your head on a swivel but being aware of your surroundings is vital to prevention – the best self-defense. These practices won’t come naturally but they can go a long way in helping you to avoid and escape dangerous situations.