Most people think of kicks and blocking punches when they hear the term self-defence; however, true self-defence begins long before any actual physical contact. As we celebrate women this August, a local security firm has appealed to the ladies to be extra security conscious and safety savvy.
“Being aware of your surroundings and potential threats is the first and most effective line of defence,” said Martin Kriel, Managing Director of ADT Security’s East Coast Region. “Criminals rely on an element of surprise and by always being alert you can reduce the risk of being targeted.”
He said that intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people, and encouraged ladies to trust their instincts; if a situation doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t. Kriel said that if confronted by a criminal, escape is always the best option.
“If you are able to, run away, yell for help – do whatever you can to attract attention. If the criminal is after your purse or other items hand them over or throw them in one direction and run in the other.”
If you walk to and from public transport, or enjoy jogging, he suggested carrying pepper spray.
“Carrying it in your handbag could be handy, but the likelihood is that you won’t have time to get it out if you find yourself in a threatening situation. Things happen quickly and you could agitate the criminal by fiddling in your handbag. Keep the pepper spray in your hand or wear it around your neck attached to a lanyard.”
Kriel advised that windows are kept closed and doors locked while driving.
“If you think you’re being followed drive to your nearest police station or security boom. Remember, the distraction of cell phones, the radio or applying make-up offers hijackers an opportunity to approach your vehicle while your attention is elsewhere.”
Safety in cyberspace is another safety aspect women should bear in mind.
“Everyday predators trawl social media sites, dating sites and the likes looking for female victims. When communicating on-line, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone numbers confidential. Instruct family members to do the same. If you meet someone online and want to meet in person, make sure it’s in a public place and tell a friend or family member where you are and what time to expect you home. Better yet, take a friend. Don’t be fooled by online strangers.”
At home, Kriel suggested always carrying a mobile panic button and encouraging your domestic worker to do the same.
“If you come across an intruder in your home, try to escape into a room with a door that locks from the inside and that has a possible escape route such as a window. If you don’t have time, remain calm and follow the intruders’ instructions. Try not to stare directly at their faces but rather take note of defining aspects – such as shoes, clothing and scars – in a non-obtrusive way.”
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