As a mom, I sometimes tend to not have my focus where it needs to be. So, when I see other moms out and about with their little people and they are struggling to keep their kiddos close to them, pick out the groceries they need, hustle everyone to the car, get them inside safely, get the groceries in the car, then the cart has to go back…I understand it can be ridiculously overwhelming for them, as it once was for myself. Except now, we see moms trying to juggle all these tasks while having a phone stuck to their ear. Our focus tends to float away from our environment and the possible dangers that are lingering around us and our children. We zone our focus on to whatever is going on at the present moment and we don’t always have the thought in the back of our minds that we might be in a position we’d rather not be in.
Situational Awareness For Women
Observe and be aware of your current situation
This is probably the single most important step you can take to ensure your safety. Everything else pretty much falls in line once you are able to do this. Whenever you go somewhere, be alert to your environment. Take notice to exits and entrances, are there more than one, if so, how many? Take notice to the people around you. What are they wearing, what color clothes do they have on, what type of car are they driving? You don’t have to be paranoid or suspicious, just alert. Take it all in (sights and sounds and even smells) and make note of important key factors.
I mention in 5 Preparedness Skills Every Woman Should Know, don’t sit in your car balancing your checkbook, going over your receipts or crossing anything off your list. This is a prime time that attackers like to take advantage of. Be sure that when you do get in your car that you lock the doors and drive safely home.
Don’t leave your awareness and focus there though, pay attention to the cars driving around you. This isn’t just about being sure no one is up to no good, but it’s also to be sure you don’t end up in an accident. Another reason, not to be chatting on your phone or texting while you are in the driver’s seat.
Put your phone away
There is no way possible to pay attention to what is going on around you if you are focusing on your conversation instead of what’s going on around you. Don’t text, don’t take the phone call if you absolutely don’t have to. Wait until you are sitting in your car (not driving of course) or better yet, safely at home. Cell phones are a blessing in disguise though. Be sure to keep it handy in the event you have to call for help.
Keep your hands free
It’s better to push a shopping cart that has a few bags in it, than it is to load up your arms and hands and not be able to get to your can of pepper spray or into your purse for your concealed carry (if you are licensed to carry one). You may even want to take it one step further and keep your pepper spray in your hand while your pushing the cart so you can drop the step of needing to dig around in your purse or pocket.
Be sure no one approaches you from behind or another strange angle
I understand that people will walk behind you or stand behind you in the grocery store and that is typical, every day behavior. But if you are trying to unload your car and someone is acting strange and doing this, you need to pay attention. Keep your cart between you and the person doing this, you can use your cart as a barrier and if they try to get close to you, you can push the cart into them and give yourself a little time. The same would apply if you are at your car. It’s common for people to approach others to ask for directions or to see if they need help, but to err on the side of caution, keep your car door open and between the both of you, or if you can, get in your car and roll down your window just a few inches to hear what they need to say.
Keep an eye on your purse/backpack or leave it home
My mom always plopped her purse in the part of the shopping cart where you’d seat a child. 30 years ago, this was no big deal, but it’s not 30 years ago and it is a big deal. So often people will walk by a shopping cart and just pluck someone’s purse or bag out of the shopping cart and run off with it. You can strap it in through the shoulder strap, keep it on your body (crossed over your chest) or use a clip to click it to the cart, not the cart’s strap. Think about it this way, if someone steals your purse/backpack, most likely all of your information will be in there. Your driver’s licence with your name, address and your picture, your credit cards, banking information, keys to your home, pictures of your children and maybe even your cell phone. For just one second, think about the danger that presents and then, take the steps you need to ensure that no one gets their hands on that information.
Be extra vigilant after dark
If you have to venture out at night, don’t take dark, isolated roads. Make sure at least two people know exactly where you are going and how your going to get there and what time you should be home. It’s not being too cautious to call and check in when you get there, and to call when you are on your way home. If you are going to a store, park in a well-lit area and as close to the store as possible.
Don’t be afraid to use your voice
If someone is approaching you and you feel unsafe, tell them to stop, if they don’t, start yelling. You’ll get the attention of others and the person approaching you will know you don’t want to be hurt. Even if it turns out innocently, and you feel embarrassed, that’s okay. It’s better to be embarrassed than hurt or worse.
Trust your gut
If something feels off, it probably is and you should probably avoid the situation if you can. If there is a strange person standing next to your car, go back inside and ask for a manager to walk you to your car. Don’t walk into a dark area if it feels uncomfortable. If you are chatting with someone in the dairy aisle and they are putting off a bad vibe, excuse yourself and walk away.
Be alert even at home
I so wish this wasn’t the case. I wish we lived in a time where we didn’t have to worry about buglers, home invasions or bad things happening. But they do happen and being prepared and ready is just being smart. Keep your doors and windows locked. Don’t answer the door if you don’t know who it is, but do answer them through the door that now is not a good time. This will let them know someone is home and if their intent was to burglarize your home, they may leave. Call the police immediately and tell them that there is a suspicious person at your door. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can keep your home safe and let your guard down just a bit more.
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