Personal Safety for Adults: Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of Personal Safety for Adults, we looked at things to consider if you are walking or driving. Today in Part 2, we’ll examine what to do to keep yourself safe at home, while doing outdoor activites, and when on a bus or elevator. But first, here’s a refresher of the 3 basic rules to follow to ensure your personal safety.

DO stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings, who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Don’t get distracted.

DO communicate the message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you’re going. Stand tall, walk purposefully, and make eye contact with people around you.

DO trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave.


  • Make sure all the windows and the doors in your home can be locked securely, particularly sliding glass doors. Use the locks! Keep entrances well lighted.
  • Use a peephole or an intercom to find out who is outside before opening the door.
  • Check the identification of any sales or service person before letting him/her in.
  • Don’t let any strangers into your home – no matter what the reason or how dire the emergency is supposed to be. Offer to make an emergency phone call while they wait outside.
  • Never give the impression that you are home alone if strangers telephone or come to the door.
  • Don’t give any information to “wrong number” callers. Ask what number they are dialing.
  • Check references of any person calling about a survey or credit card before volunteering information.
  • Your answering machine should never indicate you are not at home. The recorded message should tell the caller that that you are unable to come to the phone at the moment and if they leave a message you will get back to them.
  • Hang up immediately on any threatening or harassing phone call. If the call persists, call the phone company and the police.
  • Use only your last name and initials on your door, mailbox, and in the phone book.
  • Do not leave house keys in the mailbox, planter, or under the doormat. Give a duplicate key to a trusted friend or neighbor in case you are locked out.
  • Replace old locks when you move to a new house or apartment.
  • Pull your shades after dark.
  • If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don’t go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police.
  • Choose routes in advance that are safe and well populated.
  • Vary your route and schedule.
  • Avoid jogging and biking at night.
  • Know businesses that are open and locations of fire stations and emergency call boxes.
  • Consider carrying a shriek alarm.
  • Consider not wearing stereo headphones. It’s safer to be alert.
  • Try to use well-lighted and frequently used stops.
  • Try to sit near the bus driver. Don’t fall asleep. Stay alert!
  • While waiting, stand near other people.
  • If you are verbally or physically harassed, attract attention by talking loudly or screaming.
  • Be alert to who gets off the bus with you. If you feel uncomfortable, walk directly to a place where there are other people.
  • Look into the elevator before getting in to be sure no one is hiding.
  • Stand near the controls.
  • Get off is someone suspicious enters. If you’re worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and don’t get on.
  • If you’re attacked, hit the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.
  • Remain calm, try not to panic or show signs of anger or confusion.
  • If the attacker is only after your purse or other valuables, don’t resist. You don’t want it to become a violent confrontation.
  • Make a conscious effort to get an accurate description of your attacker: age, race, complexion, body build, height, weight, type and color of clothing.
  • Call the police immediately, identify yourself and your location, and request assistance.
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