I attended a safety seminar at the National Association of REALTORS® building in Chicago on Monday, expecting to hear the same old thing: pay attention to your surroundings, keep your head out of your phone, watch people’s microexpressions, yadda yadda yadda. But self-defense instructor Joe Rosner actually made some interesting points that aren’t necessarily groundbreaking but are worth repeating.
In honor of REALTOR® Safety Month, we invited Rosner to take part in a Facebook Live demonstration of simple safety moves that can save your life. (Watch the video above.) But on the nonphysical side, he gave some good mental pointers about what to do in a dangerous situation. Here are a few of my favorites:
- When calling 911, many people are flustered and don’t make a lot of sense. Remember to tell the emergency operator just two things: your location and that there is an “assault in progress.” It’s a purposefully vague statement in case you haven’t been attacked yet but fear for your safety. It also gets a fast police response, Rosner says.
- The “bystander effect” is real, which means people justify in their heads why they don’t have to take responsibility for helping someone. That’s why using a whistle or some other noise-making gadget to signify danger can be highly ineffective; people can say it might have been the whistle from a nearby soccer game. If you can, direct your call for help to a specific person nearby so they know they are responsible for helping you: “Hey you in the blue shirt! I’m being attacked! Call 911!”
- Stun guns aren’t good weapons. Why? Because they require you to get up close to the assailant to be effective — and what you need to do is run away. You’re better off trying to flee than fight at close range.
- Deception works. Point to anywhere on a building and say, “That’s a police camera.” Hail down the next car that passes by and say, “That’s my spouse.” Hold up your phone and say you have an app that sends photos directly to your local police department. Your attacker won’t know whether you’re telling the truth, and he might not want to stick around to find out.
- Ask yourself: Who is that person and why are they here? If you can’t come up with a logical explanation that makes sense, consider that a warning and get out of there as quickly as possible.