Tag Archives: personal safety

9 Personal Safety Habits to Develop to Ensure a Safe 2017

Although there’s not one magic number for how long it takes to form a new habit as this book summary explains, one thing is for sure: Most of us start out a new year wanting to commit to some kind of positive change!

Eating healthier, working out more, cutting back on caffeine, reading certain books… The range of new habits we want to form is as varied as we are, and some of these are easier than others.

But while all of those types of habits will help to make you a better, healthier person, let’s talk about some ways to make you a safer person too, with some personal safety habits you can easily develop in 2017, and stick with for the rest of your life.

What is a habit? A habit is a regular tendency or practice. By making at least of few of the 10 suggestions below into habits this year, you will reduce your risk, to your property, yourself, your identity and more.

Safety habit 1: Lock all doors and windows all the time. This applies to your house, but also to your car and to your outbuildings like your garage and shed. And it means every door and every window, including upstairs windows and sliding glass doors. And it applies even when you’re home but perhaps in the backyard working in the garden, when you should at least lock the front door.

Safety habit 2: Change your passwords often and effectively. Americans are woefully pathetic about using safe passwords and woefully lazy about changing them. Protect your data and your identity with the easy-to-follow advice here, complete with a suggested system. (I followed these tips and I am now much better about my passwords!)

Safety habit 3: Make it look like someone is home. Although it’s not guaranteed to deter a burglar, making a house look occupied can help. Use automated lighting, either with timers or using your home security system. Keep a car in the driveway. Have a neighbor pick up packages. Close curtains on the ground level so no one can see in your windows.

Safety habit 4: Keep valuables out of sight. In our house, certain members of the family have a bad habit of leaving wallets and purses on the table in the front window. No, no, no, no. If it’s a temptation, make sure it can’t be seen through the window. This applies to your home and to your car.

Safety habit 5: Keep shrubs trimmed. Cut back any trees or shrubs that provide cover for burglars, then make it a habit to keep them trimmed. This means around your house and around any outbuildings someone might be tempted to break into.

Safety habit 6: Keep some information private. It’s shocking to me how much information people will share on social media, information that puts them at risk such as not being home, or having a spouse gone for a length of time, or being home alone, or leaving kids home alone. Social media is a public forum, no matter your privacy settings. If the public shouldn’t know about it, don’t post about it. Make it a habit to think about this before posting.

Safety habit 7: Postpone going public with your vacation photos. Sure, you want to get those photos posted on Facebook so everyone to know how much fun you’re having, but their jealousy can wait until you’re safely home again. Ditto for geotagging your photos.

Safety habit 7: Keep gas in your tank. This sounds like commonsense but let’s be honest here: How many of us have driven with the fuel light on in the last month? That’s dangerous. Any number of things could go wrong, and we’d be at risk because of a lack of gas. A neighbor once shared with me that he fills up his gas tank every Sunday after church, no matter how much or little gas he needed. Now that’s a good habit!

Safety habit 8: Protect yourself from identity theft by making these tips into regular habits.

Safety habit 9: Keep reading this blog! Bookmark it or look for the latest posts on Facebook, for weekly tips to improve your home and personal security.

Finally, consider investing in a home security system, if you haven’t already. It’s the one safety habit you won’t have to think about all year!

Safety on the Run: Ways to Keep Yourself Safe While Keeping Yourself Fit

Running is a popular way to stay fit for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, you don’t need any special equipment or facilities. You can run anywhere at any time. And therein lies the danger: You’re also at risk to predators while out running.

I used to run a lot, before we moved to a farm. And looking back, I see that I put myself at risk most of the time because I didn’t put any of this advice into practice. I ran on trails. I ran by myself. I ran with music blaring in my ears…

I got lucky, but how about you don’t take those same risks? How about you read through this advice and put it to use instead? Much of this advice applies more to women than men because—sadly—women are more vulnerable to an attack while out running. Men, however, would do well to read through this advice to be on the safe side (pun intended), and to know how to suggest running safety tips to female friends.

Remember too that we’re talking about prevention here. As with any kind of personal safety and security, the key is to take steps ahead of time to prevent danger in the first place.

Safety in numbers
Don’t run alone. This can’t be stressed enough. This is the number one best kind of protection you can give yourself while out running. It’s not easy though! Finding a running partner who runs at your pace, is doing the same kind of training, and has a schedule that meshes with yours might sound impossible. But try! Also consider contacting your local running store about running groups you can join. For me, a running group was the only way I could run in the winter after work when it was dark. (Note: There’s another benefit to running buddies. You’re less likely to skip a run on a bad day if you know someone is counting on you to show up!)

What about four-legged running buddies? If you think running with a dog is protection, it can be but it depends on the dog. My dog weighs over 100 pounds yet at that first sign of trouble, he’s outta here. On the other hand, he is tuned in to danger and would notice trouble before I did, and his size might be a deterrent…but I wouldn’t bank on it. No dog? No worries. You don’t have to own a dog to run with a dog. Plenty of people have dogs that need exercising! Ask around.

Practice commonsense
We often make ourselves more vulnerable to danger in little ways, including getting distracted by music. If you do have to run alone, leave your earphones or buds at home. Don’t groan! I know music helps with the running. I used to make playlists for my runs, with slower music for warming up, faster when the warmup was done, really fast for speedwork, and then slow again for cool down. I had different playlists for different lengths of runs. Back when I was a serious runner, I don’t think I could have stuck with it without the music to train by. However, I was also jeopardizing my safety. Wearing earphones signals to a predator that you’re not paying attention, and it decreases the chances of you hearing his approach.

Be smart about when you run. Running in the early morning or late evening (or even at night) is risky when it’s dark. Sure, you can wear your reflective vest so cars will see you, but will you see your attacker waiting behind that tree? Something tells me he won’t be wearing a reflective vest. Try to run in broad daylight. If your work days mean running in the dark is your only option, see our first piece of advice about not running alone and be willing to make compromises. For me, for quite a while that meant getting up at 5:00 in the morning to run because that was when my running buddy wanted to go. Ugh!

Be smart about where you run. When I lived in the suburbs, I would drive to a nearby trail that offered a beautiful and pleasant 8.8 mile run, and I did that every Saturday morning—by myself. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I didn’t have a running buddy who wanted to do the same distance or pace so I just risked it. Don’t do that. Run where people will see you, where you have homes or businesses you can duck into for help, where someone will notice if you’re attacked.

After the run, be car smart
If you drive to your running place, use caution when approaching your parked car, especially if you’re parked at a trailhead with few people around. An attacker doesn’t have to get you while you’re out running. It’s just as easy to strike once you’re back to your car.

Good for you for running and keeping fit! Whatever you do, keep running. Just remember to keep yourself safe and fit at the same time. That’s all we ask.

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