Before going further afield let’s think about how safe we are at home. Let’s look at recent events that have affected our lives. The whole world changed after 9/11 suddenly making us realise how vulnerable we are. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and uprisings in Libya, Egypt and Syria, make us realise how unstable the world is. As bad as these events were, compared to nature, manmade disasters take second place. The recent Tsunami that hit Japan, earthquakes in Turkey, and flooding in Bangladesh took a huge toll on life. When nature rears its ugly head we cannot compete.
We cannot beat nature but must learn to live with it. By paying it the respect it deserves, we can live in harmony and use it to our advantage. This is essential when in the wilderness. All these affect us in one way or another, and we must be prepared in case it happens to us. We can learn a lot from people who were caught up in these disasters, and if we prepare for the worst possible scenario, we’re less likely to get caught out. Knowing what to do in an emergency and knowing what to expect is a great advantage. At present the country is suffering a recession where money is tight. This not only adds to our worries but pushes up the crime rate too. Unscrupulous people are looking for cash raising schemes which we much be on guard against. Although in the wilderness we may have to contend with wild animals, in an urban environment we are up against the most dangerous animal on Earth, MAN. Animals are predictable but people especially under the influence of alcohol or drugs are capable of the most heinous of crimes
Fortunately the majority of people are law abiding citizens and although I paint a gloomy picture, the earth is a wonderful place. Life is what you make it. It can be as exciting or as dull as you wish. You will get more from life if you avoid dangers and pitfalls. Most accidents are avoidable, and may incidents are avoided by positive actions and awareness. Don’t become a victim, realise the dangers and threats we face, and ask yourself, can I deal with them?
Know your limitations and weakness’s and do something about it. Practice what you are bad at, and anything that you are not sure of, seek advice. Try to learn something new every day, have a thirst for knowledge. This will give you confidence, making you stronger, nourishing your self belief. There is nothing you can not deal with as long as you don’t give in or panic. The more knowledge we have, guided by common sense we can get through any catastrophe. By developing a strong mental outlook we are not only capable of looking after ourselves, but other people as well. We all have families and loved ones we wish to protect, so don’t trust luck, make sure you can cope. We must be safe in our homes, a place to relax and feel 100% secure. We can achieve this but it does take effort and certain rules applied. A house can be turned into a fortress with every window barred and all doors locked, but this can prove fatal if the building has to be evacuated in case of a fire.
Surprisingly more people are killed or injured in their own homes than anywhere else, so what we take for granted must be reviewed. A home has all the ingredients for accidents all under one roof, like gas, water, fire, electricity, chemicals and tools. Industry enforces strict rules issued by Health and Safety Council, but in the home you are on your own. One of the major causes of injuries in the home is falls. People use inappropriate ladders, choosing to balance on chairs rather than proper steps. Tripping over loose carpets and falling down stairs are classics. Sharp knives take their toll, along with poisoning and electrocution.
Everyone is at risk, especially the young and elderly. These need special consideration. The young are inquisitive and adventurous with little sense of fear or danger. The elderly are impaired by slower reactions, forgetfulness, as well as failing eyesight and hearing. Don’t let anyone enter your home without permission. Always check the identification of callers. They should always make an appointment prior to visiting, whether they are reading meters, servicing central heating or repairing your TV. Don’t buy on the doorstep, but make a mental note of the salesman. Never admit that you are on your own and infer that someone else is in the house. Use a viewing hole in the door and keep the door on a chain limited until you verify the caller. The moment you leave the security of your home you must raise the level of awareness. Keep your eyes about you; spot the dangers taking the necessary actions to avoid them.
Don’t make yourself a target by appearing unsure and indecisive. Presenting a confident image will deter potential muggers. Keep to areas that you are familiar with and don’t use short cuts. Always allow plenty of time; it’s when you’re playing catch up that things can happen. Forgetting to lock the house, leaving behind important work, getting tickets for speeding are just a few of the consequences of bad time keeping. Get in the habit of always arriving at least 10 minutes early for an appointment. This gives you plenty of time to look around and compose yourself. A worrying statistic is the amount of deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents. We use the roads and public transport daily to commute to school or work. Don’t become a victim, look, think and listen before committing yourself.
Be a considerate driver, don’t let impatience mar your judgment. Allow other cars out of junctions and allow plenty of room from the car in front. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and smile. Never get caught up in a slagging match and stay in the car with the windows up and doors locked. When walking get in the habit of looking right and left, occasionally looking behind you. Look at the ground then raise your eyes scanning ahead at eye level. Also look up now and again. Keep your ears clear at night as they are more effective at picking up danger than eyes. A hood will limit your hearing and listening to music through earphones will cancel this important sense. Too many people walk with their head down, oblivious to what’s going on around them. Stay alert and avoid the dangers before they happen.
Try not to carry much kit and keep at least one hand free. This way you can defend yourself if need be. Carry any bag or case on the side furthest from the road, making it more difficult for a thief to grab your possessions. Avoid eyeball contact with strangers. Look at a person then drop your eyes, never stare. If they continue to stare at you, look away but keep them in your peripheral vision at the same time moving away from them.
Hopefully these tips will help to keep you safe in an urban environment, so now we can prepare for more adventurous activities. My next article will deal with what it takes to survive.