Tips for staying safe when walking alone

Trusting Your Instincts: How to Prioritize Your Safety and Stay Alert

Do you ever find yourself feeling uneasy when walking alone, especially at night? It's completely normal to to feel a little apprehensive about your own safety, particularly if you are a woman. Unfortunately, women are often the targets of violence and harassment, which is why it's important to take precautions to protect yourself.

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June is National Safety Month, an initiative led by the National Safety Council (NSC) to raise awareness about safety. This year's theme of "Safety at Home" presents an opportunity for us to make a real impact by prioritizing safety for ourselves and our loved ones. By uniting as a community and collectively making safety a top priority, we can foster an environment of security and peace of mind.

First things first, you need to prioritize your own safety. As much as we'd like to believe the world is a safe place, the reality is that danger can lurk around any corner. Whether you're running errands in a busy city, jogging on a deserted trail, or walking to your car after a late shift at work, you need to take steps to ensure you are safe.

Trust your gut

One of the most important things you can do is to trust your intuition. If something feels off or unsafe, listen to your gut and take action. This could mean crossing the street, walking in a well-lit area, or calling a friend to chat while you walk. It's always better to be safe than sorry, and following your instincts can help you avoid potential danger.

Be aware of what’s around you

Another key to staying safe is being aware of your surroundings. Keep your head up and look around you as you walk. Avoid distractions like texting, listening to music with headphones, or scrolling through social media. These distractions can make you vulnerable and prevent you from noticing potential danger. By paying attention to your surroundings, you can identify potential threats and take action to avoid them.

Share your location

It's also a good idea to let someone know where you are and when you expect to arrive at your destination. This could be a friend, family member, or roommate. If you're planning a long walk or hike, consider sharing your route with someone so they know where you are in case of an emergency.

Gear up with the right tools

In addition to these basic precautions, carrying a personal safety alarm can provide an extra layer of protection. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, simply trigger the loud siren, alerting those around you and potentially scaring off your attacker. Many alarms are also equipped with a flashing LED light, which can help draw attention to your location.

Learn how to use your personal safety alarm effectively so that you are prepared if you ever need it. While most alarms are pretty straightforward, ideally you’ll never have to use them. But that’s no excuse to not familiarize yourself with how your personal safety alarm works and how you can quickly make use of it in a pinch.

As you take steps to protect yourself, consider extending your knowledge and efforts to keep your family and friends safe as well:

  • Start by having open conversations with your loved ones about personal safety: encourage them to trust their instincts and be aware of their surroundings, just like you do. Share the importance of avoiding distractions, such as using smartphones or wearing headphones, and emphasize the significance of staying vigilant and observant.
  • Take the time to educate your family members and friends about personal safety practices specific to different situations: discuss the importance of having a buddy system when walking in unfamiliar areas, especially at night. Teach them the significance of choosing well-lit paths, walking in groups, or staying in busy areas whenever possible.

  • Consider organizing family or group safety exercises to practice various scenarios and responses: these exercises can involve role-playing situations like encountering a stranger or dealing with potential threats. By rehearsing different safety strategies together, you'll equip your loved ones with the skills and confidence needed to navigate challenging situations.

  • Remind your loved ones that they are not alone in facing potential dangers: reassure them that seeking help or reporting incidents of violence or harassment is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of empowerment. Share information about local support groups, advocacy organizations, or helplines that can offer assistance and guidance when needed.

By extending your focus on personal safety to include the well-being of your loved ones, you create a supportive network that promotes a culture of security and protection. Together, you can navigate the world with increased confidence, knowing that you are looking out for one another and taking proactive steps to ensure everyone's safety.

Remember that your safety is important, and taking steps to protect yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.

It's important to remember that you are not responsible for the actions of others. No one deserves to be a victim of violence or harassment, and it's never your fault if someone chooses to target you. If you do experience harassment or violence, know that there are resources available to you. Consider reaching out to a local support group or advocacy organization, or speaking with a trusted friend or family member.

By being aware and prepared, you can stay safe and confident as you navigate the world around you. Prioritize your safety when you're walking or going places by yourself. Trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings, let someone know where you are, and consider carrying a personal safety alarm at all times.

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