National security company gives tips for disabled to protect themselves

Be aware, stay alert and remain calm and confident are some of the advice given to disabled people by a national security company.

Be aware, stay alert and remain calm and confident are some of the advice given to disabled people by a national security company.

Disabled people face many physical challenges which make them vulnerable to would-be assailants who assume the disabled are incapable of protecting themselves.

Look out for yourself:

• Be cautious and aware of your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or the shopping mall.

• Stay alert when driving or waiting for a bus or subway.

• Send the message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.

• Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.

• Know the neighbourhoods where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals and restaurants or stores that are open and accessible.

• Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Vary your daily routines. By never altering your schedule, you increase your vulnerability to crime.

At home:

• Install approved locks on all your doors. Sturdy deadbolt locks are best. Make sure you can easily use the locks you install.

• Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.

• Get to know your neighbours. Watchful neighbours who look out for you, as well as themselves, are a frontline defence against crime.

• If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.

• Ask your police department to conduct a free home security survey to help identify your individual needs.

Before you go on vacation:

• Plan ahead. If you are travelling by car, get maps and plan your route.

• Have the car checked by your mechanic or a knowledgeable friend before you leave.

• Leave the numbers of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and traveller’s checks with a trusted adult.

• Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at home while you are away.

• Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions.

• Stop mail and deliveries or ask a neighbour to collect them.

Out and about:

• If possible, go with a friend.

• Stick to well-lit, well-travelled streets.

• Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots or alleys.

• Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

• Carry a purse close to your body – not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

• If you use a wheelchair and carry a purse, secure it to your wheelchair and tuck it snugly between you and the inside of your chair.

• If you use a knapsack, make sure it is secured to your chair and closed securely.

• In case of an emergency, always carry your medical information.

• Consider carrying a portable cell phone in your vehicle.





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Marina Schoombee

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