No matter what your relationship status or whether you live alone, or with friends/family/housemates, there are going to be times when you find yourself in questionable situations. I’m not talking about questionable – stuck in a dress in a fitting room and torn between crying for help and facing embarrassment, or risking a rip… No, I’m talking about the things that genuinely risk our safety, and not just our pride.
I’ve always been a really independent lady. I moved out of home when I was 18, I’ve always worked hard, paid bills, held down a job (or two at the same time!) and I’m of the attitude that I can do things for myself. (Just because I can do things for myself, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like my man to do them for me – emptying bins, changing lightbulbs etc. haha) So when it comes to my safety, I’m also quite headstrong and have always been of the opinion that I can handle myself. Ready to go home on a night out, but my friends aren’t? I’ve got no qualms about getting a taxi alone. Going for a jog at night – no fear. I’ve lived on my own for years, I’ve never been the scared type.
Until this weekend when I was woken up in the night by sounds which at first I put down to an animal, but quickly realised was actually someone trying to force their way into my house through my downstairs patio doors. My initial shock and fear kicked in and the adrenaline pumped as I phoned the police who came out with police dogs to hunt down the man who’d been intruding in my garden, trying to break into my house, as well as my neighbours. In those twenty minutes or so between initially hearing noises and the police arriving, for the first time ever, I felt completely vulnerable as I realised at that point I was at the mercy of another human being, who’s intentions were not of the moral kind. I felt foolish for being blasé about safety previously…not that I’m an idiot – I keep all doors and windows locked at all times. But I guess, I’d never really seen a reason to be more than the average amount of cautious/careful.
Fortunately, the police caught the guy who was in my garden on the same night. But it really made me think about safety, and has made me pull my socks up a bit.
So I’ve come up with the following mini guide for keeping safe:
1. Always keep your phone battery charged at night. Scarily enough, only two nights before this all happened, I had broken my phone charger and my battery died, meaning I had no phone or contact point at all should there have been a problem. Should this have been the night in question, who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to call the police?
2. Don’t leave any valuables, keys etc. on show. Even just on a table when the curtains are drawn. The smallest gap in the curtains could give a burglar the incentive to do more than just look through the window. Keep all valuables in your bedroom with you.
3. Have a plan, should the worst happen and someone enters your house. Have a plan in mind for what you’d do, where you’d go etc. Sounds scary but better to be prepared.
4. If you have security measures – use them. I have a security light in my garden – which has never been turned on because it shines into my bedroom and keeps me awake. Now I won’t ever be turning it off again. The same goes for alarms, CCTV etc. If you’ve got them – use them.
5. Increase your security measures. If you don’t have an alarm or CCTV, consider getting some. Not only can it deter those with questionable morals, but it could catch anyone who would be tempted. If you don’t have chains or bolts on your doors, and you’d feel safer getting them – then do. If you live in a rented house, most landlords would have no problems with you installing these methods.
6. If the worst happens, make sure you’ve got insurance. I don’t have much with value – well, I don’t have anything of high value in my house! But my contents as a whole, out-value my savings. If everything was to disappear tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to replace it all – so insurance is important – and totally affordable.
7. Mark your items. You can now get invisible liquid that you put on any item of value and covers a code that will always be marked as yours. Under UV light the code can be revealed, so if ever anything is stolen, you will always be able to claim back what is yours when/if it’s found.
8. Finally, don’t hate your neighbours! They are the closest people to you in an emergency (proximity wise) and should you ever need someone in a split second, better to know that you’ve not burnt your bridges with unnecessary partying that’s kept them and their children up all night. A bit of friendly ‘hi, how are you’ is all it takes.
So, there you have it, it’s not rocket science but my recent experience has made me reassess these, and address the areas that I’ve been lax in. I hope it helps you all do the same too!