Personal Safety While in Crowds or Traveling.

personal safety

I like to travel and go out occasional, but at the same time, I am concerned about personal safety.  So I always take a few minimal precautions.  Part of this comes from spending time in both law enforcement and the fire service.  Now I don’t travel outside of the US other than Canada, so there may be additional factors you want to consider if you are traveling overseas.

Many years ago, I can remember discussing personal safety in the firehouse.  I knew many firemen that would not stay in a hotel room that was over 5 stories, because that was the maximum height that an aerial ladder would reach.  When I check into a motel or hotel, one of the first things that I always do is locate the fire exits that are nearest my room.  I pay attention to where they are, so that I could find my way out while crawling in a dark and smoky environment.  This might mean remembering something like that the exit is five doors to the left.

The same thing in restaurants, theaters and other large public buildings, I always know of at least one way out and preferably more.  Try to sit near emergency exits if given the choice.  This can help you in case of either a fire, explosion, active shooter situation or a terrorist attack and is probably one of the most important things you can do for your personal safety.

Guidelines to follow that provide you, with a degree of personal safety.

  1. Stay out of bad neighborhoods, I know several people who have had trouble because they got lost and ended up in poor areas.  Make sure you know where you are going.
  2. Pay attention to the crowd around you avoid sketchy looking people.
  3. Wear clothing that does not attract a lot of attention,
  4. Don’t look like tourists, no camera around your neck.
  5. Don’t flash money around, or wear expensive jewelry.
  6. Remember there is safety in numbers don’t travel alone.
  7. Be careful of strangers; don’t give out too much information.
  8. When in conversation with someone you do trust, be aware of people around you who may be listening.
  9. If someone knocks at your hotel room door, don’t open it until you can verify their identity.
  10. When traffic slows, lock your doors and close the windows of the car.
  11. Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
  12. Ask your hotel or motel manager for advice on ‘safe’ versus ‘unsafe’ local areas.
  13. Use ATMs during the day, when there are people around.
  14. At the airport, watch for your suitcase as it appears on the carousel. Don’t give someone else a chance to get your luggage.
  15. Be careful where you park your car, try and park in a well-lit, busy area.
  16. Use common sense (which I am beginning to think is uncommon)
See also  Situational Awareness: 12 Things You Need to Know

If a terrorist action or an active shooter situation occurs, you have options

  • Evacuate; use one of the exits you observed earlier.
  • Hide, avoid being seen by the perpetrators, don’t forget to turn the sounds off on your cell phones.
  • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate them

These guidelines are by no means complete. There are many more areas that can be discussed, but even following just these few steps can improve your personal safety.


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4 thoughts on “Personal Safety While in Crowds or Traveling.”

  1. Hi Howard,

    I don’t travel much because I don’t like to. However, in light of the recent events in Paris, as well as other countries, I really do appreciate the second part of your post.

    Sad to realize that we now must be on guard even when going to the market or coffee shop!

  2. Another good tip – don’t make yourself look like a good target. Walk with your head up, shoulders back – confident, not cocky. Look people in the face, in an engaging way, not overly friendly or aggressive. Most attackers want an easy target – someone looking down, not paying attention (texting, etc).

  3. Good article Howard. It is a great reminder for those that tend to forget and become complacent. After 25 years in law enforcement I can attest to the fact that most victims are not aware of what is happening around them.
    Keep up the good work my friend.

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