It’s so exciting to finally move into your own apartment, be independent and have that space all to yourself. No one to answer to, no one else to clean up after or fight with over whose turn it is to do the dishes. You can dance around your place in your underwear all day, if that’s what you want to do. And who wouldn’t love that freedom?
But being a single, twenty-something girl living on her own comes with its very own specific safety hazards, and you need to prepare yourself. Keep reading for some precautions every girl should take before heading out into the great big world.
Update all your emergency contact information.
Your insurance forms and employer should always have the most current emergency contact information. Think reasonably before you give someone that title. Are they local? How will they react in the case of an emergency? Are they usually difficult to get in touch with? Do they know how to contact the rest of your family if it’s an urgent situation?
A parent or significant other may be your first choice, but make sure whoever you appoint can rise to the task, if there is ever a need. Complete all forms with their current contact information. Make sure you have an “ICE” (in case of emergency) contact identified in your phone and/or wallet.
Know all local emergency numbers.
If you’re moving to a new city, you may not know the closest hospital or how to get to the police station. When you settle in your new locale, make a list of nearby hospitals, the phone number and address of the police station and fire department and directions to each of these centers. Keep it in a visible place in your apartment, like the fridge or inside a kitchen cabinet. If your friends and family aren’t familiar with your new area, make sure they have a copy too.
Be smart with your spare key.
Your emergency contact should have a spare key. If this person does not live near enough to you to help you out if you lose your keys or lock yourself out, you might want to consider another spare key for those situations. If you have a trusted friend or significant other nearby, you may want to give them a copy.
Make sure whoever you give a spare key to is respectful and won’t take advantage of having 24/7 access to your place. If you want to hide a key somewhere near your home, be very careful about the spot you choose. Hint: Don’t leave it under the front doormat.
Take a self defense course.
In today’s scary society, anyone could become a victim at any time to a mugging or sexual assault. Knowing a few kicks and punches won’t necessarily fully stop an attack, but the more you do to empower yourself, the better. Knowing the best way to punch someone in the nose may end up giving you enough time to make a run for it, get someone’s attention or get to a phone, saving your life.
- If you’re walking through a dark parking lot to your car, have your keys out before you exit the building. This way you won’t be fumbling around in your purse, distracted, in the dark, looking for them. I always keep my finger on the panic button just in case I need a quick diversion or to attract a vigilante’s attention.- If you feel like you need mace or pepper spray, keep it in your purse.
- If you’re afraid, tell someone. Better to be a little over dramatic now than sorry later. There’s nothing wrong with letting the local police know you’re hearing something suspicious and asking them for assistance. It’s always, always, always better to be safe than sorry.