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BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Personal Safety in Emergency Situations


Lures are lies used to distract children, or adults, to gain their trust or get the person to let down their guard. It is important when educating young children regarding lures to tell children that the purpose of a lure is to distract the child and cause emotional distress. Essentially, tricking the child into doing what the adult is asking them.

Education, which begins in early childhood often, targets younger children however it is important that parents realize that both preteens and teens are as they become more autonomous. With autonomy, children become more mobile. Parents may allow preteens to walk or ride their bikes to school, and around the neighborhood. In addition, as teens reach driving age and begin driving the family vehicle they may find themselves further from home.

One reason teens and young adults are more vulnerable maybe due to not having the life experience of an older person. This lack of life experience can affect whether or not they recognize or realize when a lure is used or respond to a plea emotionally. They may pay less attention to their surroundings as they text or talk on their cell phones.

Yet, the reality is almost anyone of any age is vulnerable to falling for a lure. Have you thought about some of the following lures that may catch even the most observant person off guard? Let us pretend you are leaving your local grocery store as a man comes running up to you frantically pleading for help. He is begging you to help his baby who is in the car and not breathing.

Imagine this same scenario in a parking garage, as a man leans over an infant car seat in the back of a car or van waving and yelling for your help. I know as a mother, a registered nurse, and as a woman this type of lure would likely have me running out the door or over to the car to help before I gave it a second thought.

After all, I know CPR; I am a nurse, trained to handle medical emergencies. And. As a mother, I know my instinct would be to try to help. Yet, what if this is a hoax? A simple lure used to panic me into letting my guard down and letting someone I do not know into my personal space. If I let them physically close to me, I could be literally walking straight into danger.

This is why I have thought about what I would do in these situations and have planned how I will try to respond to one of these scenarios if confronted. I am devising a safety plan for a public emergency. A personal safety plan, which I hope, will help me to remain safe but allow me to help if there really is an emergency.

My plan is to call 911 from my cell phone before I leave the mall or head over to the car or van in question. If I am inside my car, I will call 911 before unlocking my vehicle or exiting. In addition, if I am in a mall, I will go to a vendor and tell them I need them to call come with me to help this man. If this is a ruse, it is likely the person trying to lure me will not stick around once I have activated 911 or found additional help.

As a RN and as someone who worked for many years on a rescue team everyone should remember the first rule of scene safety. Do NOT rush into the scene. Stop pay attention to your surroundings. Safety is the key.

If you are hurt intentionally or accidently, you add to the problem instead of helping. Now, the rescuer needs rescuing. Listen to your gut instinct (that little voice in your head) that tells you something is WRONG. Stop, look around and listen. Then act, never simply react, and stay safe.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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