Saturday, August 17, 2013

Are you Going A.P.E.?

After spending nine years in the US Marines I thought I would never use an acronym again, much less create one. If the acronym is enough to trigger your instincts, than it has served its purpose.

Self-defense against attackers, rapists, abusers and theft is a three step process. A.P.E. stands for Awareness, Protection and Escape. As we break these down into categories, understand that for each situation and each individual there will be some differences in implementation.

Awareness means that you have to be aware of the area around you. This could be your house, your car, your office or the street you are walking down. You must be aware if someone has intruded into your space that was not invited or welcome. We all have the right and freedom to go where we want, dress how we want and engage in whatever activity we want to. However we don’t want too purposely put ourselves in a place or situation that is dangerous. When walking or jogging, keep your head held high and constantly survey the area. Avoid conflicts with unknown persons and move at a quick pace. In your car keep your doors locked and stay on safe streets, being aware of any unusual traffic or people. At home doors should be locked garages closed and window alarms and motion detectors should be set. CCTV video surveillance can help to monitor your house and yard while you are there or on your smart phone or tablet if you are away from home. The idea is to be made aware of something unusual before it can become a problem. This also includes smoke and CO detectors that should be maintained in good condition with fresh batteries and detectors that have not reached their expiration date.

Protection can be as simple as a lock or as sophisticated as obtaining a black belt in Jude or Karate. Our cars and homes should have adequate locks to keep intruders out. Dead bolt locks on the outside doors of your house and window locks on each window. Your automobile will come with door locks, but make sure you get keyless entry for your automobile. Approaching your car in a lot or at night, you don’t want to be fumbling for keys to open the door. Pepper Spray is a great deterrent to stop someone approaching you that is threatening or aggressive. Available today is a Pepper Spray Pistol that will be effective up to 25 feet and has a laser sight. This is handy if you have to repeatedly travel through an area you are uncomfortable in. A stun gun is great for using in a crowded area or when surprised from behind or while engaged in another activity. Today stun guns are so small they can be held in your hand comfortably. Self-defense training is usually available through your local health clubs, YMCA, YWCA or there are even programs put on by your schools or police departments. If you don’t readily find classes in your area, make a visit to your local police station and I’m sure they will help you find a class. Pepper spray can come in many forms such as a key chain model, lipstick or to look like a pen. Stun guns can also be a flashlight or baton. There are many different things that you can use for self-defense such as a good solid flashlight, baton, kubaton or your knee or shoe to kick or stomp on the foot of an assailant. Whatever you choose to protect yourself, carry it at all times and study any materials that will instruct you in proper use, disposal and expiration.

Escape may be two things. You may escape a situation by using pepper spray or a stun gun and then running away. Or you may be in your home and summons the police who will come and remove the criminal, thus allowing you to escape harm or loss. Remember whatever the situation you are not expected to subdue, arrest and detain a criminal. Your goal is to protect yourself and your family and ESCAPE! The effects of a stun gun or pepper spray may only last 15 to 20 seconds, which is enough time to get to safety and summons help. The last thing you want to do is shock or spray someone and hang around to see what happens next. Your attacker will now be very angry. In most cases once you show or use your defense weapon your attacker will be running in the opposite direction, but do not count on that happening. If you are outdoors and near your car, get in and lock the doors and drive away to safety and call the police. If you use a stun gun or pepper spray call the police and inform them, as some pepper sprays have a dye that will mark the assailant. If your car is not nearby, look for a group of people or a store or house you can enter. At home you should set up a safe room with a good door lock and a solid door and a door brace. If someone unwelcome enters your house go to that room and lock the door, remembering to take your whole family with you, and call the police. To expedite this, you should conduct periodic family drills, develop danger and safe words and everyone should have a dependable flashlight and cell phone by their bed if they are old enough.

Being safe at home, work or play takes a little preparation, but is really worth the effort. Now you are ready to go APE.

Doug Harper is the owner of SharperSafety.com.

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