Life Awareness Skills

The following are some common sense tips that can help in your awareness training.

At home...

  1. List only initials and surname in a phone book, on mail boxes, doors, etc. If you live alone, list another name in addition to yours.
  2. THINK every time before you leave your name, address or ph# in public view or give out information regarding your daily routine.
  3. When you go on vacation, let a friend know when you leave and when you plan to return so someone is aware if you are missing. If you will be gone more than a week, put a stop on your newspaper delivery and have your mail held at the post office.
  4. Use lights at all entrances, inside and out, and keep your garage well lit. Keep garage door shut and locked at all times. Keep door between garage and house locked.
  5. Leave lights on in various parts of the house if you will be coming home after dark. Buy time devices to activate lights, radios etc.
  6. If you come home and think someone may have been inside (or may still be there) go to a neighbor's house and call the police.
  7. Do not depend on your dog for more than an alarm if you have a prowler. They are often prepared to deal with dogs.
  8. If you hear a prowler, turn on all outside lights and monitor activity. Call Police if required.
  9. Keep curtains closed and shades down at night.
  10. Beware of casual acquaintances who visit unannounced. Many rapists know their victims and plan the time of the attack.
  11. Ask for identification of all service personnel before opening the door. If you have not requested service, ask for the office phone number and name of dispatcher. If you have doubts, do not open the door.
  12. Do not allow children to open the door.
  13. Do not leave extra house keys in obvious places like under door mats, in flower boxes etc. Leave them with a trusted neighbor.
  14. Do not allow a stranger in the house to use the phone, regardless of the emergency. Offer to make the call for them.
  15. When you are at home alone, have telegrams and messages slipped under the door and have packages left outside. Do not open the door unless you know the delivery person.
  16. Do not depend on a door chain. Use a peephole to check on visitors. Keep the door locked and call through the door if necessary.
  17. Close and lock all doors and windows, even if you go to a neighbor's or make a quick trip to the store. Lock the door between your attached garage and your home.
  18. Be aware of places attackers might hide, both inside and outside. Trim bushes and shrubbery so no one can hide in them.
  19. Do not spend unnecessary time alone in apartment laundry rooms.
  20. Installing a home alarm system is definitely recommended.

In your car...

  1. As you walk on your way to your car, look underneath to see if anyone is hiding. Check the interior of your car before getting in. Consider purchasing a small flashlight for checking at night.
  2. Have your car serviced regularly to avoid breakdown.
  3. Do not talk or text on your cell phone while driving.
  4. Keep a cell phone charged and in your car. If you do not have a cell phone, make sure that you have a calling card or change for a public phone.
  5. Keep your gas tank between half and full.
  6. Keep all valuables locked in the trunk.
  7. If your car runs out of gas or breaks down on the freeway, pull over as close to a call box as possible. Turn your head lamps on and raise the hood of your car. Call on your cell phone, stay in the car and make your calls. If you have to pull over on the street, try to pull over close to something that is open 24 hours, such as 7/11 store, etc.. If you have a cell phone, stay in the car and make your calls. Sit in the passenger seat to give the illusion that there is another person close by.
  8. Have your keys in your hand ready to use before you go outside. Fumbling in your purse en route to the car or at the door provides a would-be assailant the opportunity to approach you.
  9. When leaving your car in public areas put your keys in a safe spot – Jacket pocket or purse. Do not keep in your hands as it is easy to leave put them down somewhere and forget them.
  10. When possible, park so you won't have to back out. It makes for a speedier departure.
  11. Park in well lit areas near your destination.
  12. Always lock your car when you leave it, even if you are planning to be gone only a short time.
  13. Avoid leaving personal objects and items with your personal information on them in open view.
  14. Be aware of anyone in the vicinity of your car in a parking lot. If a van has parked next to your car, enter your car from the other side. Vans are frequently used for abduction.
  15. Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up far enough to stop a probing hand, especially in stop-and-go traffic. Keep your car in gear at stop lights.
  16. Be familiar with your own frequently traveled routes. Know the location of 24-hour businesses and of police departments. Vary your route home.
  17. If you discover you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or open business. Honk your horn repeatedly until you attract attention. DO NOT DRIVE HOME.
  18. If someone signals from another car that something is wrong with your car, drive to the nearest service station. Do not stop to check your car until the other car has driven away.
  19. Should another car try to force you to the side of the road, do not allow it. If you have to drive through areas not designated for cars, do it, but do not stop your car. Get the other car's license number and call it in to report the incident.
  20. Never leave keys to your home with car keys when your car is left in a parking lot or at a service station.
  21. Upon your arrival home, keep the headlights on until the garage door is closed behind you.
  22. Do not pick up a hitchhiker, male or female.
  23. If you are driving someone home, wait until they have entered the house and signaled for you to leave.
  24. Most car-jackings happen in neighborhoods, places with a high trust level for the driver. Keep your awareness up.
  25. As you are driving, notice the cars around you. Be alert for set-ups, like being blocked on either side or from the front and the rear.
  26. If you are stopped at an intersection or anywhere else, and you notice someone unfamiliar approaching, honk the horn to attract attention and maneuver out of there as quickly and safely as possible.
  27. When stopping behind another car, always stop far enough away so that you can see their rear tires touching the ground. This will give you enough room to maneuver your car out in an emergency.
  28. If anyone demands your car from you, cooperate. Keep the assailant informed as you move deliberately and quickly. ("Okay, let me unbuckle my seatbelt." "My child is in the back seat, please let me get her out.")

On the phone...

  1. List your name in the phone book with initials and last name only.
  2. If you live alone, do not give your name on the out-going message. Give your phone number only or two names, such as yours and your pet's.
  3. Be wary of telephone surveys. Don't participate in surveys that ask anything personal.
  4. Do not tell strangers that you are alone.
  5. Hang up immediately on obscene calls.
  6. If you receive a call that seems to be a wrong number, do not volunteer your phone number. If the caller requests it, ask what number they were trying to reach. Then verify the wrong number without giving out your own number.
  7. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
  8. Avoid walking and talking with your cell phone.

On the street and in public buildings...

  1. Be assertive in your walk, using a firm, steady pace. A passive or fearful walk gives an image of vulnerability and sets you up as the easy target the assailant needs.
  2. Avoid walking through groups of men or even groups of women or mixed groups that seem rowdy.
  3. Plan your route in advance. Walk in well traveled areas. Avoid bushes, alleys, vacant lots, entryways and short cuts through deserted places. Vary your route home.
  4. If you think you are being followed, cross the street, change directions, and keep looking behind you so it is obvious that you are aware. Take note of their appearance or any descriptions you may be able to give to the police. If you are being followed by a car, memorize the license number, run to the nearest business and call the police.
  5. Keep a secure grip on your purse. Do not allow it to dangle. Keep fasteners and zippers closed and any openings close to your body. However, if threatened by a demand for your purse, do not choose your purse over your own safety.
  6. Do not wear both head phones while walking or jogging. Use one ear phone and keep the other free.
  7. If you are waiting outside, stand balanced on both feet. Do not put your hands in your pockets. Stand away from the curb.
  8. If a driver asks directions, do not get close to the car.
  9. Do not accept rides from strangers or hitchike.
  10. While waiting for a bus or transit, stand near others who are also waiting.
  11. When using public transportation, sit toward the front of the bus or in busy subway trains and be aware of the people getting off with you.
  12. Upon arriving at your stop, be aware of those who alight with you. If you feel you are being followed, go to the nearest occupied building and ask for assistance.
  13. Observe elevator interior before entering. Wait until the next elevator if you are uncertain of any occupant.
  14. When riding the elevator alone, always stand near the control panel. If accosted, press ALL buttons.
  15. If a suspicious person enters the elevator, exit before the door close.

On vacation...

  1. Plan your trip, ie: routes, accommodations, travel plans in great detail. Leave little to chance. Learn basic words and phrases if traveling to a non English speaking country. Also make sure someone that is not traveling with you has a copy of your plans.
  2. Carry a money belt with majority of money, cc and identification. Have $20 worth of cash in pockets. Do not go into the money belt while walking as you can be easily distracted and you draw attention to yourself.
  3. Take a photocopy of your passport with you. Carry at least 2 forms of identification and keep in separate spots.
  4. Traveling on public transport, avoid talking to much to the person next to you. Divulge as little about yourself as possible.
  5. Travel with friends, family or partners if possible.
  6. Use covered luggage tags. Instead of your home address, write that of your office.
  7. Lock all suitcases. If you make a lot of purchases on your trip, and your bag becomes full, secure the bag with strong tape.
  8. On overnight flights, keep an eye on your valuables. A good idea is to put your valuables in a security waist pack (versus leaving it in your stowed carry on) and wear it while sleeping. When you go to the lavatory, take your purse/valuables with you.
  9. Don't exit a taxi until you're sure you've arrived at your destination. Pay while still in the car so that you can be sure you've gotten the proper change.
  10. If you place your carry-on bag on the floor when sitting in a restaurant or other public area, put your foot through the strap; don't leave it loose.
  11. Rent a mobile phone or bring your own. And put the police on speed dial.
  12. On the road, if someone tries to get your attention or your car is bumped, don't stop until you arrive at a well-lit and busy area, or lacking that, stay in the car and blow the horn until someone comes to your aid.
  13. In your car, keep items out of sight (especially maps and guidebooks).
  14. Study a map before going out; once on the street, use a pocket-size guidebook to avoid looking like a tourist. Your hotel's concierge or a female employee can mark any dangerous areas on your map.
  15. Dress down!
  16. Avoid jewelry--even a chain that's fake gold can be ripped off your neck.
  17. Wear a money belt tucked under a shirt.
  18. Carry just one credit card and photocopies of important documents. Divide money for small and larger purchases so you don't have to expose a wad of bills. Become familiar with foreign currency before you need to use it.
  19. Have gratuities ready for porters and doormen.
  20. Use prepaid phone cards instead of carrying your card number.
  21. If you must ask for directions, approach families or women with children. To be extra safe, say, "Where is the --? I'm meeting my husband there."
  22. On sidewalks, keep your handbag and other valuables away from the street side (and on escalators, away from the opposite ramp).
  23. When going to the beach, take minimal items with you. Leave valuables at your hotel. Do not walk to an isolated spot on the beach, stay in a more populated area.
  24. Do not purchase items from vendors on the beach. Once you buy one thing they will all flock over to you.
  25. Party and Drink responsibly.

Comments or Questions? Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sensei Trudy Fossey
6th Degree Black Belt
Karate at Hillhurst


There are many reasons why you might want to learn Karate. For most, Karate is seen as a journey. For some, the journey is short; maybe their goal is to acquire their Black Belt or to learn some self defense skills. For others, the journey lasts a lifetime and becomes a journey of self-discovery, more than simply the pursuit of a martial art. Regardless of your journey...


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