Thursday, June 6, 2013

Michigan Personal Protection Tips: Maintain Mental Awareness At Gas Stations

Michigan Personal Protection Tips: Maintain Mental Awareness At Gas Stations

Gas stations are dangerous places to be located. They attract dangerous and violent predators for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, the following: unaware visitors, high traffic, and close proximity to roads and freeways. Any patron of a gas station, especially in the city of Detroit, should maintain a high state of awareness.

The first key to being safe at a gas station is to not patronize one that does not look safe to visit. If you arrive at a facility that is not well lit or has people loitering on the premises - in a car or on foot - do not stop.

Additionally, do not make the assumption that the presence of other motorists seeking gas will guarantee your safety if loiterers are there. Predators today will attack you in broad daylight and other citizens will sit on their hands and watch it happen without lifting a finger to help you.

If too many "out of place" people are around, proceed along until you find a filling station that is more suitable. Presumably, you will not be under duress to stop at an unsuitable gas station because your gas tank needle is hovering at the "Empty" mark.

In today's day and age of persistent violent crime, the "Half-Full" mark on your fuel guage is the "new empty." Moreover, an additional way to be safe at gas stations is to not visit them frequently. As such, you should fill up your tank whenever you visit. Less visits translates into less opportunities to be attacked.

Another tactic is to never go to gas station alone. There is greater safety in numbers. When you have located a gas station that looks safe to patronize, pull into an empty bay in which your gas tank door is adjacent to the gas pump dispenser. If an open bay is not available, resist the urge to "sit" and wait for one to become available.

You are most vulnerable when you are stationary. Bay selection preference should be given to open bays that are both close to the door of the gas station's cashier's station but still allows you an unfettered path to leave the gas station's property when you are ready to leave.

Also, make sure that you look at the gas dispenser at your bay to ensure that it is not marked, in some way, as inoperable, such as the presence of a sign or a plastic bag over the actual pump handle. Do not waste time.

While you are at the gas station, your environment should be given your full and undivided attention. Do not be self absorbed in non-essential tasks such as talking on your cell phone and sprucing up your appearance. Make sure that you force yourself to look at your bay number so that you do not have to waste time later trying to figure out where you parked.

Before exiting your vehicle, take a quick scan around and look for anything that appears "out of place." Your scan should also include looking for obstructions on the premises where someone could be hiding before mounting a surprise attack.

If it is safe to exit your vehicle, be sure to activate any necessary gas door access switches at this time. This act will stop you from later needing to open your car door before filling it up with gas.

Your gait to the cashier's station should be brisk and with a sense of purpose. This is not the time to allow yourself to be distracted by overtures from strangers seeking to gain your implicit authorization to occupy your personal space. Wave them off, keep them in sight, and keep it moving. A gas station is not a place to be social. If you want new friends, go to a party.

When entering the building, make sure you take a glance around the place to see if everything seems safe. It is not uncommon for predators to be located nearby looking for suitable victims to attack. Resist the urge to prolong your stay by engaging in "convenience shopping" for other items. Your job at the gas station is to enter, pay for your gas, and make your way back to your car.

As such, pay with a debit or credit card or cash you have already put off to the side in pocket. Do not flash cash or count it publicly. You could be assaulted for as little money as the expected change from a twenty dollar bill.

As you make your way to the door, stop, and scan the immediate area adjacent to the door and the parking lot. If someone makes a move to follow you out of the building, get out of the way, and let them leave. Keep that person under observation before deciding if it is safe for you to exit.

Continue to scan the lot as you make your way to your vehicle. Activate the pump and start dispensing gas to your vehicle. The pump handle should have a lever present, that when activated, will continue to pump without requiring your hand to be on the dispenser.

While your car is being filled, go back to monitoring your environment for any potential threats. Do not watch any TV monitors at the pump or start using your cell phone.

When your car's tank is full, quickly place the dispenser back onto the pump, secure your gas tank cap, and take another quick scan before getting back into you car. If all is clear, enter your vehicle and immediately lock the door. Start your engine, put your car into gear, and put on your seatbelt as leaving the gas station.

Make no mistake about it, gas stations attract dangerous people. Your safety there can be enhanced if you are actively aware. Doing so, may make the difference as to whether you are selected for victimization.

For more personal protection tips, visit our site - Legally Armed In Detroit - over the Internet:

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Phone: 313.733.74

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