Issue 6

Personal Safety While "On The Road" - Part 2

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In our last newsletter, we told our readers:

"Having a Personal Safety Plan is the key.  Awareness is the first step.
There are 4 levels of awareness:  Unaware, Attentive, Alert and Alarm."

We discussed Unaware and Attentive.  This issue, we'll finish up with Alert and Alarm.

To refresh your memories, Unaware is what most people would call, "Zoned Out" - you have no clue what is going on around you. 

Attentive is the state you should be in most of the time - It is the ability to distinguish between normal and abnormal situations and actions.


You move your awareness level from Attentive to Alert when a potential threat has been recognized.

Here are three clips from recent news articles:

...a new class of squatter has emerged, as people illegally remain in homes after they have lost them to the bank. Some have become aggressive in their efforts to stay, setting booby traps to ward off police.
--Washington Post, May 3

A man running laps at Dover Park in Fairfield Wednesday night was confronted, beaten and robbed by a group of teens, police said.
--Vacaville Reporter, May 1

One suspect put a chrome-colored, semi-automatic pistol to the head of one of the victims and demanded all of their money, police said.
--Napa Valley Register, May 3

[In our Defensive Sprays and Stunning Devices and Refuse To Be A Victim workshops, we cover all of the circumstances described in the news articles (Unexpectedly occupied homes/businesses, Assaults in Public Places, Ambushes) plus 4 others (Unsafe "Trusted" Situations, Road Rage, At Home Alone/While Traveling, Workplace Violence)]

Let's take the man in the second instance.  What signs might he have picked up so he could recognize a potential threat?
  • It was dark and he was alone.
  • A group of teens may have been focused on him running.
  • There was an abundance of trees and other cover at the park.
  • There were too many areas in the park where he would not be visible to other people (blind spots).
By simply standing at the edge of the park and taking a moment to think about what was before him, he should have seen he was entering a bad situation. 

Even if he was unable to see the group of teens, the 3 other flags should have been enough to move him to Alert level, and keep him out of the park.  If he had developed and practiced a Personal Safety Plan, he would not have entered the park.


Alarm level is reached when the threat is real, and action must be taken.  The likelihood of you having to defend yourself is high.

At some point in his jog, he was confronted by the group of teens. 

It may have been one or two of them blocking his way on the jogging path.  They may have surrounded him so he was unable to escape.  They may have just grabbed him as he ran past a blind spot on his route.

We just don't know.

Obviously, he is not "at fault" here.  No one consciously puts themself into dangerous situations.

But these situations DO exist.  The man was unprepared to deal with the events as they unfolded.  The goal of Awareness training is to recognize these situations and have a plan - with multiple options - on how to avoid them and react to the threat.  A Personal Safety Plan.

For Consideration:  If you practice your Awareness skills, you will rarely go from Unaware and leap directly to Alarm.  You will see the threat coming and can avoid it!  Is your Personal Safety Plan realistic?  Do you have the skills and tools necessary to take the appropriate actions?

Next Issue:  What is in a Personal Safety Plan?
Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company that provides training, workshops and consulting for individuals, businesses and organizations interested in developing or enhancing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness action plans.

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