These are all common sense precautions, but worth pointing out anyway:

If you live alone:

  • Make contact with friendly neighbours, and keep a list of their phone numbers at hand.
  • Keep the phone by your bedside at night.
  • Have window locks fitted, a chain on the door, and always lock up whether you're in or out. Especially round the back of the house.
  • Always check identification of service callers (gas, electricity and so on), and don't open the door to strangers.(My elderly neighbour was robbed twice - once by two blokes claiming to be from the Water Board, and again by someone claiming to be from an animal charity)
  • Don't list your female-sounding first name in the phone book. Or on your door bell.

Generally:

  • A purposeful and confident air is good protection when walking alone. If you are followed, walk up to a house and ring the doorbell. If necessary, break a window.
  • Avoid unlighted areas. Keep doorways and landings well lit. If you have to walk down a dark street, walk in the centre of the road, away from doorways and parked cars. (Obviously, avoid getting run over..)
  • Avoid fumbling for keys at the door - have them in your hand as you arrive.
  • If you know you might be coming home alone at night, always wear clothes and shoes you can run in. Change before you leave, if necessary.
  • Carry a rape alarm, and ensure it isn't clogged with pocket/bag fluff, is fully functional, and you can get at it fast. A small hairspray or deodorant can is also a good idea.
  • On buses: sit as near the driver as possible. On trains, avoid empty carriages.
  • Try to make sure you have enough money for a taxi if you know you might have to go home alone. Alternatively, make sure you know the times of trains and buses, or have planned out the safest possible walking route. Be prepared - yup, very Boy Scout, but very sensible and possibly life-saving.

NB: Not advocating paranoia here, just caution. Stay relaxed and alert.

go back to: Women's self-defence

Well that's all very good and sensible, but what about animal attacks?

  1. Shark
    We all know that sharks have an enormous sensitivity to blood in water. To prevent attack, a good precaution is not to bleed anywhere near a shark. (Yes, this includes menstruation.) Also: wearing a wetsuit and flapping around on a surfboard makes you look dangerously like a seal. Avoid that if you know you are near sharks If you do get attacked by sharks, all is not lost. Don't panic. Sharks have poor eyesight and explore things by biting them. Pushing or punching a shark's nose will often be enough to make it back off. Mind the teeth, they are sharp. If you do get bitten, check out how to tell if a shark has bitten your arm off. Lastly, Advice for a geek in a pool full of sharks contains good advice aimed at the Geek who finds him/herself in this predicament.

  2. Bear
    Bears are very protective of their food and young. Don't approach young bears (even if they do look cute). While walking outdoors, avoid any carcass - It could be the bear's lunch.

    Here's a handy reference node to print out and carry around with you: Guide To Determining If You Are Constantly Being Mauled by Bears

    Bears are very big and very strong. You will not be able to make yourself look big enough to scare off a bear. If you happen to have a can of pepper spray (or similar) then it apparently makes a good deterrent.

  3. Polar Bear
    On land Polar Bears are hard to spot (being white against a generally white background). However, polar bears spend a lot of time swimming, so your best chance when exploring the arctic is not to go in the water. Probably good advice generally unless you have some heavy duty fat deposits on the go. Polar bears don't eat penguins. (here's why) - so to prevent polar bear attack: wear a penguin costume.
    NB: I have not tried this myself. It may not work.

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