Fallston Group

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30-Foot Reactionary Rule for Safety

By Frank Barile —

The warm weather is upon us once again and it is time to get out the short pants and bathing suits. Typically, we wear less during the summer months and tend to become more physically active. It is usually a time to get outdoors and exercise as we attempt to shed the few extra pounds we gained during the winter months.  As we become more active, we need to realize that sexual predators become more active as well. They are drawn out by the lore of athletic-attired women walking, biking or jogging along the roadside.

Police recruits are taught about the “30-Foot Reactionary Rule” while they are attending the police academy.  It is understood that 30 feet is the minimal distance that a police officer wants to keep between them and a suspect who intends to physically harm them, either by hand and/or by knife. In other words, the police officer needs, minimally, a 30 foot distance to create enough reaction time to successfully draw a handgun and repel the attacker who may be rushing the officer. Simply put, action is always faster than reaction, and the greater distance from a potential threat, the more time we have to react and possibly escape (flight) or confront the danger (fight).  How can women use this rule in their day to day lives?

As human beings, we do not a have super hero senses to know whether or not someone intends to do us physical harm, especially if they seem very friendly. Remember, most serial killers usually are very friendly and non-intimidating right up until they attack. The old saying “kill them with kindness” is taken literally by these predatory criminals. When attacked, we have to see the danger, process it and then react appropriately in order to survive the encounter. Distance equals time; the longer the distance the more reactionary time you have.

Here is some advice for women (and men) during the summer months – be careful where you walk, jog, or bike! Use the sidewalk as much as possible and stay off the roadside where someone can easily grab you and pull you into their vehicle. Try and exercise outside with a partner or group. If someone unknown approaches you, do not allow them to close within your 30-foot reactionary gap. If possible, cross the street to avoid potential unwelcome contacts. Avoid running trails that go off into wooded or isolated areas. Walk, jog or bike only in well populated areas during times when people are active. Never go with anyone you don’t know even if they are asking for help. Exercise during daylight hours. When talking with someone you don’t know, try and keep distance between you and never close within reaching distance. Lastly, always carry your cell phone while exercising outdoors; stay alert and be safe!

For more information on safety tips for women contact the Fallston Group at 410-420-2001.

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