Posted by on July 28, 2020

 You are the last line of defense in safety. It boils down to you. Kina Repp, Safety Speaker.

Kina Repp’s quote is worth pondering. Societies have professionals – firefighters, security guards, soldiers, and police officers, – whose role is to protect us from various dangers. Many have saved lives.  

Their capacities, however, are not limitless. Response times to emergencies are often impressive but can still be too late. Things happen fast! Fires spread quickly and crimes can happen in an instant. 

Funding can be an issue. Budgets have limits and can be strained after events such as our current COVID-19 pandemic. There have also been calls to “defund the police” In various parts of the world.  

We also must recognize that training varies in quality. Some professionals are very adept and some are not. This is not a judgement but a simple reality. Without adequate training, including training to perform under stress, we cannot expect a protection professional to perform well.  

Fellow citizens can help us and there are many instances of brave people helping people in danger. There are also cases of bystander syndrome when people do not get involved or are expecting someone else in the vicinity to step up. This is a dangerous phenomenon when seconds delayed can be the difference between life and death.  

Emergencies like fires, road accidents, and assaults can happen fast. Families are encouraged, for instance, to develop a fire escape plan because a fire can spread faster than the fire department can arrive.  Assaults happen quickly and cunning assailants often target people who cannot access help.

Without wading into turbulent political waters where volume and empty phrases often push careful thought to the side, I tend to agree with Kina Repp.  

I have the utmost respect for professionals who genuinely dedicate their lives to the safety of others. I also know they are not omnipresent.  I also understand that the average citizen who lacks the training to effectively deal with emergencies can’t be expected to jump to a stranger’s aid.

When it comes down to it as Repp says, we are the last line of defense.


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