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Future Health

Situational Awareness (Personal Safety)

August 3, 2020 

Situational awareness is just simply knowing what is going on around you. It is taught to soldiers, law enforcement, and medical professionals but the average person can benefit from it as well. Practicing situational awareness can help you make better decisions in all aspects of your life and avoid unintentional personal injury because you:

  1. learn to predict events
  2. identify elements around you
  3. trust your gut instincts
  4. avoid complacency
  5. be aware of time
  6. monitor the performance of others
  7. and continually assess the situation

Unfortunately, crime happens every day. For those who have been the victim of a crime, the effects can be a variety of things including but not limited to physical, psychological, or financial. Victims may require extensive medical care, mental health counseling, financial assistance, and other forms of help. While there can be no guarantee of personal safety, there are ways to take precautions to reduce risk. Educating yourself on threats to personal safety and learning prevention tips will help you lead a safer and more secure life. Physical and sexual assault, Internet safety, including social media, cyberbullying and online dating, identity theft, and personal injury prevention are just a few things one can familiarize themselves on.

Although not all occurrences of unintentional injury or death can be prevented, following some general prevention and awareness tips can help. Also, putting a focus on personal responsibility, mindfulness, and anger management strategies can play a huge part in helping you from becoming a statistic.

  1. Learn the best routes between your work location and your car. Take the safest route, not the fastest route.
  2. If possible, travel in groups of two or more at night and walk in well-lit, heavily traveled areas.
  3. Stay on the part of the sidewalk that is farthest away from shrubs, dark doorways, and alleys.
  4. Share your schedule with trusted friends and family, effectively creating a buddy system.
  5. When you go out, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  6. Wherever you are, stay alert to your surroundings and the actions of people around you. While we'd like to think we can let our guard down sometimes, the facts indicate we must be mindful even in familiar places.
  7. Follow your instincts--if something doesn't feel right, change directions, go into a public building, or call the Police (911).
  8. Do not leave your belongings unattended, even for a few minutes. If you work at a service point, make sure you secure your belongings either out of sight or in a restricted access area (locked office, etc.).
  9. Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or other tempting targets such as jewelry or expensive clothing.
  10. Always lock your bike or rent a bike locker to store your bike.
  11. Always lock your car and keep valuables out of site. Check the back seat before getting in.
  12. Park in well-lit, well-traveled areas of the parking lot.
  13. Do not wear headphones that prevent you from being aware of your surroundings.
  14. Check your credit report once a year to make sure that all the charges are accurate, and your personal information hasn't been stolen.

There are many ways one can call for help in the case of an emergency. We are all familiar with calling 911, but there are also other faster ways to call for help right from your cell phone.

iPhone users

  1. Press the side button 5 times and slid the red bar (iPhone 7 and earlier)
  2. Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until you see the red bar, you can either swipe the bar or continue to hold the button until the end of the countdown (newer iPhones)
  3. iOS 11 will reportedly come with an Emergency SOS option similar to Samsung phones, To activate the feature, simply tap the sleep/wake button rapidly five times

Android users (settings and features vary based on smartphone manufacturer or version of the operating system.)

  1. Hold down the power button until you see an option for Emergency Mode. Tap it and that will bring up five options: Flashlight, Emergency, Share My Location, Phone and Internet.
  2. Samsung SOS tool – this feature needs to be turned on prior to an emergency but it will send an SOS message to your emergency contacts by pressing the Power button on your phone quickly three times to send out an SOS message to your emergency contacts. The text message includes your GPS location, photos taken from the front and rear cameras, as well as what the phone’s microphone picks up in a short recording.

Text – 911

               If the service is available in your area you can text a message to 911 and the message is rerouted to the local law enforcement agency. You can find out if this service is available in your area here.

To support safe and inclusive environments on college campuses, two major laws exist - The Jeanne Cleary Act and Title IX. Even though there are laws in place there are still things you should do to ensure your safety. If you stay in dorms keep your doors locked, if you plan to attend a party go with a friend and stick together, do not leave your drinks unattended and use a buddy system when going to the bathroom. Know your campus and how to contact campus security should you need to.

These safety tips are great for both male and females. Being aware could just be what is needed to prevent an attack or save you during one. If you need more information or need to report something see your local or campus police.