The ABC's of Dangerous Situations
A = Avoid Potentially Dangerous Situations
The single most important step in conflict avoidance is knowing where NOT to be. The
ability to recognize potentially dangerous situations is more than just common sense. It
is a learned skill that should be practiced.
There are three types of people.
The first person is absolutely convinced that there is someone hiding around the
corner. This person is paranoid.
The second person is absolutely convinced that there is no one around the corner.
This person is nieve.
The third person thinks that there might be someone waiting around the corner, so
they take the appropriate precautions. This person is a careful person.
We want to you to become careful people.
Do not underestimate the value of the first step. If we can get you in the habits of
being aware of your surroundings and always consciously being as careful as possible,
you will be much less likely to be confronted violently.
Some potentially dangerous situations and ways to avoid them:
1. A single mother is going to the laundry room alone at night.
Solution: Go early in the morning instead and use the buddy system.
2. Driving in a strange town and getting lost.
Solution: Make sure you have an accurate map and ask for clear-cut directions. Learn
what parts of town are okay and what parts you should stay away from.
3. A group of kids wanting to play around a construction site.
Solution: Talk your friends into going to the park instead.
4. A child walking home on a street with lots of traffic.
Solution: Learn alternate routes that are less crowded.
B = Be Calm, Breathe
Most people tend to become emotional and react accordingly when confronted with an
intimidating situation. They might act angry, afraid, or intimidated. Remember, logic and
emotion are like oil and water; they don't mix. When you react emotionally to a
situation, you are almost always going to make a poor decision that will further provoke
In order to think clearly and logically in an intimidating situation, it is important to
become calm. Believe it or not, the easiest to maintain a calm disposition is to talk
slow, deep breaths, rather than the fast, shallow breaths that usually accompany an
He who loses control of his emotions gives his opponent a powerful ally.
Helping to maintain a clam attitude allows you to respond, rather than react. When you
can calmly respond to an intimidating situation, you have the best chance of
discussing the situation peacefully, because you are appealing to the other persons
logic rather than emotion.
Another way to maintain a calm disposition in an uncomfortable situation is to visualize
the aggressor in a less intimidating fashion; i.e., with a clown nose on or standing in
their underwear. This obviously is not always appropriate, but can come in handy in
Visualize being in a threatening situation. Then try to take slow, deep breaths and
remain as calm as possible. Remember, just knowing how to take deep breaths in
threatening situations is not enough; it has to become second nature. The only way to
make it second nature is practice. When confronted with an unavoidable situation,
remaining calm is the key to responding to the situation instead of reacting to it. A
simple deep breath is a powerful balm for calming the nervous system.
Also emphasize that the most dangerous emotions in a confrontation are fear and
anger. Remember to put your shoulders back and tip their head up slightly to allow for
C = Communicate With Confidence
Studies have shown us that most people who are the victims of violent crimes send
out some sort of saying that they are vulnerable. Their body language conveys the
idea that they are weak and easily intimidated.
Other studies involving people who are frequently involved with verbal or physical
altercations show that these people send out signals of arrogance and disrespect.
The solution is simple. If you can learn to present yourself in a confident and
respectful manner, you are less likely to attract trouble.
Let's identify the signals an insecure person sends out. How do they carry
themselves? Are their shoulders hunched forward? Do they look downward, afraid to
make eye contact? Do they speak softly and walk as though they are not sure where
they are going?
The next step is to identify the signals that confident people send out. Remember
what these signals are and how to make them their own. Remember, even if a person
doesn't feel confident, they can appear confident by it.
Five basic traits of a confident person:
Confident people always:
1. Look people in the eye, especially when first meeting someone.
2. Keep their shoulders back and chin up.
3. Walk with purpose, like they know where they are going.
4. Speak clearly and confidently (but not arrogantly).
5. Appear alert and aware of their surroundings.
D = Don't Put Yourself In A Worse Situation Than You Are Already In
It is important to remember that, although we cannot always control our environment,
we can always control how we respond to our environment. How we respond will
usually determine the outcome.
Once we understand that we are in control of how we respond in any given situation,
we also understand that our actions can either make the situation better or worse.
Here are several examples:
1. In the middle of an argument, the other person starts to yell and hurl insults.
Although it might be tempting, don't react in the same manner. Instead, listen clearly to
the other persons point of view and then respond calmly. To react emotionally will only
serve to make things worse.
2. If, while walking down the street, someone pulls up next to you and, at gunpoint,
tells you to get into their car, refuse to do it. Although refusing to get into the car will
obviously infuriate your assailant, you are still much better off than if you were to get in
the car. Once in the car, you are completely at the mercy of your assailant.
3. Someone breaks into your home and is going to rob you. They tell you they are going
to tie you up. Respond by letting them know that they can take anything they want and
you wont get in the way, but you will not let them tie you up.
4. When walking home from school, you see a group of kids up ahead looking for
trouble. Instead of walking past them, take another route home. Remember, you`re not
a coward for avoiding the situation, you are intelligent.
E = Environment Can Be Used To Your Advantage
Being aware of your environment is critically important in making the best of a bad
situation. Your environment can work for or against you. Awareness of your
environment is a powerful tool for avoiding or dissipating a conflict.
A child should be taught where the safe houses are in the neighborhood. They should
be taught whom to go to when in need of assistance. A safe choice is to teach your
young students to look for someone in a uniform, a parent with child, or, in certain
circumstances, even a stranger.
You should be reminded of the basics of how to use your environment to your
advantage. Park in well lit areas. Stay away from known trouble spots. Shop during the
day when possible. When out at night, keep the car doors locked. Use the buddy
system whenever possible. Keep as much distance as possible between yourself and a
would-be attacker, etc.
Learn to identify the natural weapons available to you in any given environment can be
beneficial. Some natural weapons could be car keys, lip or eyeliner pencil, a coffee
mug (imagine getting hit on the bridge of the nose with the rim of a coffee mug), a
shoe held in the hand, or even a belt.
Brainstorm with your family and friends to come up with other natural weapons for
F = Stands For Yelling FIRE Instead Of HELP
Yelling Fire is a good alternative to yelling, Help. Often people will not respond to a
direct plea for help because they are afraid to become involved. But, everyone is
curious when someone yells Fire. The attention that yelling Fire brings to a situation,
may be enough to dissipate it.
Also, there are other comments to shout that may be helpful, depending on the
situation or the persons age. Learn alternative comments such as, Hes not my dad, or
Hes trying to kidnap me. Give them choice if confronted with a potentially dangerous
G = Get Away
The point in any confrontation should be to Get Away as soon as possible, not to Win.
You must know that running from a dangerous situation is OK to do.
In todays climate, there are too many variables that come into play. The repercussions
of winning an argument or fight are not worth it.
Make your objective to end the conflict not to win the conflict. Getting away from a
dangerous situation is always a top priority.
Remember the wisdom of this step by pointing out the potential for revenge if the
confrontation escalates to violence or potential legal repercussions.
Also remember that this get Away step is really their last option to avoid conflict.
H = Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit First
When you have done everything in your power to avoid a confrontation, but are
unsuccessful, the worst thing that you can do is to let your opponent strike first. If the
aggressor steps inside your comfort zone, you have two options. The first is to step
back out of range; the second is to strike. If you are forced to defend yourself, don't
hesitate! Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit First.
A person who knows how to strike without telegraphing and is close enough to touch
the opponent can almost, without exception, be effective with the first strike or two.
This is why it is important to strike first; because if your opponent strikes first, chances
are you are going to get hit.
If you strike first, but pick a poor target and/or a weak strike, you will probably lose
your advantage. That is why having effective striking zones is important.
Programming basic, powerful strikes to designated areas; such as neck, nose, knee,
and groin; will give your students a powerful advantage.
From H to A
Once a situation has become a violent confrontation, practice to work backwards from
H to A.
First Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit First (H)
Then Get Away (G)
As you exit the situation, yell FIRE to attract attention to mitigate further conflict (F)
Pay attention to how your Environment it will benefit your safety (E)
So you Don't Put Yourself in a Worse Situation Than You Are Already In (D)
Communicate With Confidence your needs to anyone in uniform, or even a stranger
who can help eliminate the conflict. (C)
Remember to Be Calm and Breathe to remain in control of your body (B)
Finally, use what you learned from this situation to Avoid a Potentially Dangerous
Situation in the future (A)
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