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Protect yourself: rules of physical security

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July came. There will be two more wonderful warmer months and a lot of leisure time which we can spare walking all day and all night long…Wait a minute. All night long? Why not? Is it really so safe as it seems to be? What is needed to secure ourselves and our friends during a night-time walk or a late-night suburban train journey? What do we have to carry around and which ways of self-protection are necessary to know? Answers to these and other questions are provided in this article.

We spoke with the chief specialist of the RSSU Security Management Vladimir Abramov, who is also a former Police Colonel of the Moscow Eastern district. For 25 years of his work he had taken part in many different investigations: from a bank robbery and the murder of a security guard to the capture of sadly remembered serial killers Oleg Kuznetsov and Sergey Ryakhovskoy. Vladimir, based on his experience, shared with us the rules of physical protection which everyone should know.

In crowd

A crowd is dangerous. Firstly, it can squeeze or physically hurt you. Secondly, the crowd is difficult to find a way out of. Thirdly, it can bring you to a completely unknown place. In addition, among large numbers of people there often happen acts of terror. All these facts are quite unpleasant, aren’t they?

Upon the advice of Vladimir Abramov, if you see a big crowd, try not to walk through it but go around as far as possible. These days FIFA World Cup caused big gatherings of fans outside, which can create hustle. That is why if you see a big mob, remain vigilant – it is the first important rule.

“If you are in the ‘flow’ of fans who are going in one direction, and there is no possibility to find a way out of the mob, do not even try to go against it. Find some surface which is a little bit higher than the ground level, for example, a stair-step. Stand on it and look around. Press yourself against the wall. Find out the direction of the flow. Ask more or less reasonable people to help you. The best variant is to take care of such a situation in advance. To find the information about time and place of football matches is not difficult".

In late-hour public transport

Generally, public transport is safe during the daytime because there are many people in it, but if it is an evening or a night, there are few people in a bus or in a train and a group of drunk people is somewhere near, the situation becomes dangerous.

If you see a group of quite drunk people, change your place in a transport or a subway car. Moreover, go in the opposite direction, do not pass by them. In such a way you will avoid conflicts. If they came to you, after all, it would be better not to start a conversation with them and not to accept their offers. If they are too stubborn, politeness is your self-protection means. It will be better to make them understand you are not interested in their offers and you are leaving at the next stop.

“If you accept an offer, you will draw yourself into the trap which will be difficult to escape from”, - said Vladimir Abramov.
The group of drunk people can be also in a bus. If in the metro it is possible to change a subway car, on a bus there will be nowhere to go. If the bus you go by is the only transport you can take to get the place you need, the best variant is to sit near a driver. You can ask him for help if some problem occurs.

Take a seat close to reasonable people. Be cautious in the public transport in the evening. Remember one more rule: if you see someone who is drunk, go around him or her. A normal person, if he is not a fireman or a superhero, will not go into the fire voluntarily, will he?

Attacked by dog

A dog as a human can harm you at any time. It is necessary to know how to defend against a dog. Vladimir Abramov gave basic advice:
«Pepper spray is an effective way to defend against dogs. Do not turn your back on dogs and what is more important - do not try to run away from them. Raise the tone of your voice and shout at a dog. Struggle only with your feet and hit to the side – this is the most vulnerable spot of dogs. An aerosol pepper gun is also effective».

Dogs can attack in packs. In this case, it is difficult to defend, but a weapon and cautiousness will help you to protect yourself. If you see passing dogs, immediately go around them. Let the way to your home or another place take more time, but you will be safe and sound.

If you are going home at night

Have you ever had the feeling that you are going home through dark alleys and somebody is following you? Or when you go into the entrance of a building and think that someone is watching you? Sometimes it can be not just your imagination.

One day such a problem happened with Aygerim Tleubaeva from Kazakhstan, who was 20 years old. It was late at night, Aygerim came into the building entrance and was about to close the door. At the last moment, she saw a man running to the entrance. She thought this man did not have his key and would not open the door. He went inside with another man and they hit the young girl with intent to rape her. Aygerim did not give up – she was screaming as loud as she could and it saved her life. It is a true story which can happen to anyone.

“Before you go into an archway, pretend you are walking past, glance if someone is there. When you are sure that there is no one in the archway, keep going home. When you are going into the building entrance and see that the hallway is not lit, it is more likely that criminals are hiding there. First of all, switch on a flashlight in your smartphone and check if there is no one else in the hallway. Only then go in an elevator”.

If criminals catch you and you cannot run away, you have to scream, but you should take into consideration some subtlety.

“Your scream in such situation has to be not just “A-a-a-a-a”, but “Help me! Call the police! They’re killing me!” Many people will not respond to your scream, but someone will help you. As soon as somebody comes to you, the criminal will try immediately to run away”.

You should not only scream but also defend yourself. The ways of self-defense are at the end of the article. One more rule – do not give up and do not panic.

Car stopped near you

Never get in an unknown car! Vladimir Abramov advises walking, even if you have far to go.

“Maybe, the person who offered you a lift wanted to help you, but you do not know for sure”, - he said.

However, you should be polite when you refuse. You can think of many excuses, for instance, “I’m almost there”. If a person or a group of people push you into their car, there is only one thing to do – to act according to the basic principles of self-protection.

If the situation worsened

If the things go down, it is time to turn to physical self-protection. It will save you in all the situations above because sometimes it is impossible to avoid a conflict. If you succeeded to get out the subway car where a group of drunk people is and go to another one, it does not mean that they will leave you alone. It is possible that they will follow you with the intention to harm. In such situations self-protection is necessary, but not everyone might have a pepper spray or a knife in a bag. In this case, the only way is to protect yourself with your own hands. There is one more rule you have to remember: if you hit - just do it.

There are some simple principles of self-protection:

  1. Catch nostrils or a lip with your finger
  2. Hit with force on ears. It will deafen and disorient a criminal.
  3. With the bottom of your palm (they are also known as the mount of Venus and the Luna mount) hit with force in the bridge of the nose.
  4. If a criminal is behind you – kick into the groin or take a tight grip on him.
  5. If a criminal grabbed you from behind – chop his forearm with the edge of your hand. It will make him loosen the grip.

The purpose of your hits is to free yourself from the criminal’s grip. When you succeed, you have to run away as fast as if you were running from a tsunami. To be able to run is one more rule. There exist a lot of principles of self-protection you can learn and apply in practice. For example, you will not be able to do a grip, if you have never done it before.

In addition to self-protection, it is necessary to bring with you things which can help you to solve a situation and stay safe:

  1. Pepper spray

You have to raise the pepper spray from the bottom up and to spray it right in the face of a criminal. Do not wave the pepper spray to and fro, because in this case you and people around you can get hurt as well.

  1. Small sharpened stick

You can use it as a knife. A sharpened stick is smaller and more convenient.

  1. Flashlight

The light of your smartphone is not as bright as a flashlight. Moreover, criminals can steal your gadget.

  1. Tourniquet and bandage

These things will be necessary if you are injured.

According to Vladimir Abramov, the main thing is to be vigilant, cautious and careful. Moreover, you need to be able to assist yourself and others. Physical training is important as well because it will help you to run away from a conflict. You have to bring with you the protection means. Do not treat your life as if nothing can happen to you. Everything is possible and you have to be ready for it.

Authors: Kseniya Pryakhina, Roman Fomenkov