Caught Off Guard
There are few things more frightening that the prospects of either being surprised by an attacker, OR surprising
a criminal in the act of committing a crime.
Awareness and good planning can make such an encounter much less
We stress in all of our personal safety classes that Awareness is the key. Recognizing and avoiding potentially dangerous situations is the best way to stay safe.
Let's assume for a moment that you DO fall victim to a surprise attack. You
must PLAN to be surprised!
These attacks can happen anywhere - at home, in your car, at work or while you're
walking down the street. You can lessen the chances of harm by following a few simple rules:
(1) Have a personal defense tool with you at all times. Pepper spray canisters come in
dozens of different configurations that allow you to have them close at hand. There are models to be used when you are
jogging. These have an elastic strap you wear on your hand that place the canister in your palm for immediate use.
Many people will take a keychain model and affix a short lanyard to the ring. If they will be walking with their hands
and arms full - as in coming from a department store - they simply slip the lanyard around their wrist. If they get
in trouble, they merely drop their packages and the spray is right on their wrist.
(2) When you enter your car, lock the door immediately. Most car have automatic locks that work even before
the key is inserted into the ignition. As soon as the door is closed, hit the button to lock all of your doors, THEN
put the key in the ignition. If they can't get in your car, your chances of safety and escape are greatly increased.
The same general principle goes for your home - lock your doors and windows EVERY SINGLE TIME.
(3) Escape and Evade! Many attacks are money-driven - they want your cash or goods, and
nothing else. Give it to them! Don't let your machismo or personal pride get you injured. Throw them
your wallet or your purse as you are escaping. Your life and personal safety are not
worth sacrificing for the cash in your possession.
(4) Fight like
there's no tomorrow. If you've given the attacker your property but the attack persists, you need to
fight with everything you've got. There are NO RULES. Gouge eyes, knee groins, break fingers, bite, scratch,
punch and kick. You don't stop until the attacker retreats or is disabled. Your life may depend on it.
(5) Pay attention. Once you are safe, contact the police immediately.
The more information you can provide regarding the attacker, the more likely it is they will be going to jail. What
was their height, age, gender, race and clothing style? Which direction did you last see them going? Were they
with anyone else? Did you over-hear any names or locations spoken?
consistent. Do these things every single time so they become a habit. By expecting to be surprised and
having thought out how you will react BEFORE an attack happens, you are better able to respond in ways that will keep you
Next Issue: Pepper Spray The Right Way
Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company providing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training, workshops and consulting
for individuals, businesses and organizations.