Looking After the Family
The responsibility for personal safety starts with yourself and it may be helpful to be reminded of some of the facts we tend to take for granted. Remember the simple rules below to maximise your safety.
When out alone
• Where possible don't walk alone after dark.
• Always be alert to your surroundings.
• Avoid short-cuts and dark deserted areas.
• Walk near the kerb away from bushes and buildings.
• Walk facing the traffic.
• Do not hitch hike.
• Carry a torch after dark.
• To avoid delay keep your keys in your hand
When at home alone
• Secure all windows and doors.
• Fit and use a door chain and viewer.
• Ask all callers to show their ID, and make sure you examine it carefully.
• If you are at all suspicious then call the local police or the RAF Police, it does not matter if it turns out to be a false alarm.
• Don't put your wallet/handbag down where it can be easily stolen.
• Don't leave your wallet/purse on top of your shopping bag or pram.
• Avoid unlit or deserted car parks or areas.
• Don't carry excessive amounts of money in your wallet/handbag or purse.
• Do not carry your credit cards and cheque book in the same place.
• Remember; first protect yourself then your belongings.
Travelling by car If you have car trouble, find a phone and call for help. If you ring a recovery company and are female let them know that you are on your own or with children and they will often make you a priority. Don't accept help from passing motorists, if they want to help get them to go to a phone for you and call for help. Whilst waiting with your car don't sit inside, it attracts attention to your plight. Sit next to your car away from the flow of traffic, if practical. If not sit in the passenger seat.
• Where possible always travel on main or well-lit roads.
• Check the interior of your car before entering especially the back seat.
• Park in well lit areas.
• Keep valuables out of sight.
• If followed home do not get out of the car, make sure the doors are locked, sound the horn and flash your lights to attract attention.
Telephones and the Internet A telephone is not only a source of comfort but an important element of security. If you receive anonymous or nuisance phone calls always call the police or the unit personnel staff. If they persist, the police can take action. As a precaution do not discuss RAF movement plans or dates on internet forums/chat rooms or on your mobile phone.
If you decide to go away for a length of time during your partner’s deployment – make sure you tell someone in the RAF (either the Service person’s Flight Commander or boss, the RAF Police or local police) particularly if your house will be empty.
It is important that the RAF has reliable information on how to contact the Emergency Contact (EC) quickly in case of an emergency. Sometimes having a mobile phone number is NOT enough so it is important that the RAF knows where you are in case of an emergency involving your loved one.
If you live in your own house make sure your trusted neighbours or friends know where you are.
Communication with the RAF is the key here. If the birth of a child is expected then let the posting ‘desk’ know or if the expected due date changes let them know. It may not always be possible for your partner to return home from operations but if no one knows then it certainly won’t happen.
If it is not possible to bring you partner home, attempt to book R&R around the expected due date and be prepared. It may be as well to consider a second choice of birth partner, such as a good friend or relative, just in case or the baby decides to arrive early!
Some tips are:
• Keep a note of all your emergency contact numbers handy.
• Have a plan in place for all eventualities, such as a friend to look after other children at short notice.
• Even if you drive, you may find it useful to put other transport arrangements in place, just in case.
Keep a bag of essential items packed – not only for yourself but for your other children, too. This will avoid having to pack pyjamas and toothbrushes in the middle of the night between labour pains or with broken waters!
Rumours and ‘Bad Press’
There will be no shortage of rumours and sensational media coverage of incidents both at home and about what is happening where your loved one is. This is a common cause of upset and can lead to distress. Do find out the truth by speaking to someone on the unit and they will be able to establish if your fears are real or not.