Safety Practices for Walkers


Category : Public Safety, Law Enforcement

This time of year, with darkness and weather, parents and students should think about safety. Here are a few quick reminders to think about before you head out the door: “Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings.”

Preparing yourself with the tools you need to make yourself more visible when outdoors, as well as protect yourself or your loved ones. The personal safety market now includes everything from personal safety devices and alarms to cell phone apps.

Personal Safety Alarms

Noise is one of the best deterrents to an attacker. That’s why many safety experts advocate screaming, blowing a whistle, or making any kind of noise that will attract help and draw attention to you, as well as scare off an attacker.

Whistles are still a great option. They’re small, light, and can easily be carried just about anywhere, and they’re highly effective, too.

However, the disadvantage is that you have to physically put the whistle in your mouth and blow for it to work, which may not always be possible. That’s why companies created hand-held personal alarms that can be detonated by the simple press of a button. These technologically advanced aides are the modern equivalent of the aforementioned whistle.

Think of it as a car alarm sounding and scaring off a thief. One company even likens their alarm to a “sound grenade.” Most can emit an ear-piercing noise level of up to 120 decibels – the equivalent of an ambulance or a loud concert.

Not only will the noise from one of these alarms draw attention to the situation and scare off the attacker, but it will also give you the opportunity to run and escape the situation as well.

Personal Alert Devices

This category of college safety devices allows you to alert a friend, family member, or even law enforcement should you feel threatened by someone or a particular situation. These types of devices can be attached to your cell phone, conveniently clipped to a key ring or backpack, or even slipped into an article of clothing like your pocket, waistband, or even a bra. The ideal place to keep it is where it can easily be accessed.

Personal alert devices come equipped with a wide variety of functions. One of the most useful is the ability to alert someone to a potentially dangerous situation with a click of the button, or call for immediate professional help with another click.

Why is this feature so important? Unfortunately, many women and men are afraid of “crying wolf.” They’re scared to call for help and have the situation turn out to be nothing at all. So, this feature allows them the opportunity to alert a friend or family member without summoning law enforcement if they simply have a hunch that there could be trouble.

Hand-held personal alert devices possess the major advantage of being available to use even if you don’t have your cell phone. With a separate hand-held device, stored in a pocket or somewhere else on your person, you still have the opportunity to summon help. 

Personal Safety Apps

These days there’s an app for everything – and there are many personal safety apps available, most which do a number of the same functions as other personal safety devices.

Many of these apps use your phone’s GPS to track your location along a certain route, sending updates to a friend or family member so they know that you’re in the location you should be. Still others act as a personal safety alarm, emitting those same high-pitched, ear-piercing decibels of a safety device.

Most apps are either free or inexpensive to purchase, and you almost always have your cell phone with you so you can use the app. However, the major drawback is that if you forget your cell phone or if it gets knocked away in a struggle, you won’t have access to those apps. Plus, if you’re in an emergency situation, you may find it difficult to navigate the app when your adrenaline is flowing.

Flashlights, Reflective Bands and Other Gear

New, super-bright LED flashlights are small, compact and provide visibility: both to cars and people.

During the winter months, some drivers are in a hurry or don’t look for pedestrians. Especially when walkers/runners are wearing dark clothes or the street lamps don’t provide 100% illumination.

We recommend pedestrians (and bicyclists) use a flashlight – especially at intersections where cars may be turning – so that they can alert drivers to their presence and see any obstacles such as puddles, ice or snow, in their path.

In your home, there are a range of doorstop alarms available which emit high decibel personal safety alarms. Simply wedge the doorstop under your door, flip on the switch and when pressure is applied to the doorstop from an opening door, the alarm will sound, waking you up and hopefully scaring off the intruder.

Whatever combination of safety gear, tools and apps you decide on, the most crucial aspect is taking preventative action to help keep you prepared for an emergency situation and keep you safe.

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