Any sound safety plans tell us to avoid scenarios that put us into compromising situations. But the very nature of a realtors’ job requires you to be alone with complete strangers often in private, secluded locations. Such work settings demand that a layer of security be emphasized, not overlooked.
In a recent Inman Survey, nearly one out of every ten real estate agents say they have been attacked or threatened at work. Would be criminals understand the private nature of many real estate interactions, and exploit the outgoing and charming nature of most agents.
If you’re showing an open home, consider your exit routes during set up. Keep your phone on your person with a speed dial for the authorities. Allow your guests to walk ahead of you as they tour the home, and allow them to see confined areas like an attic or basement themselves without entering them yourself.
If you’re faced with danger, your immediate first step is to escape and alert the authorities. Then comes the “gap in time,” where your own safety preparedness becomes critical. That is because from the moment help is requested to when that help arrives, we must take responsibility to ensure our own safety.
Choosing the right form of self-defense to effectively “fill the gap” is crucial.
In a 2019 National Association of Realtors report, 44% of realtors said they carry a self-defense weapon, most commonly pepper spray. But there are reasons why pepper spray is not the most effective self-defense option for real estate agents.
While it’s true that pepper spray ensures the user can maintain a safe distance and reduce the risk of an assailant gaining the upper hand, pepper sprays, foggers, and foams tend to atomize and cross-contaminate. This means the active ingredient in pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum, becomes fine airborne particulates that are impossible to contain. In a confined area with limited air flow – such as a room in a house or in a vehicle – both the subject being sprayed AND the user and anyone and anything else is also affected.
Pepper spray acts similar to cigarette smoke, when smoke quickly becomes invisible yet the smell can travel through open rooms, doors, through heating and aircon ductwork and vents to the point where eventually the entire house will have a faint smell of cigarette. Along with the nearly impossible decontamination process of cleaning up pepper spray, which often has a yellow color, you will also need to contend with the distinctly foul odor left behind.
Real estate agents have the unique responsibility of caretaking a client’s home during showings and open houses. Knowing that pepper spray would likely soil both furnishings and carpets, agents might hesitate to deploy it. And that hesitation could have a dramatic outcome on a violent situation.
Reflex Protect® Presidia Gel® is uniquely suited to protect real estate agents. Presidia Gel® is a colorless, odorless, non-staining stream that immediately causes involuntary eye closure and incapacitating pain. It doesn’t aerosolize, so the only person who is impacted by it is the person you hit with it, leaving you 100% in control to leave and get help. It will not waft into other rooms, or cover furniture, tables, countertops or carpets or personal items. It naturally dissipates fully in 15 minutes, or can be neutralized in 30 seconds with Reflex Remove decontaminant. Simply put, it leaves no footprints.
In other words, an agent would have zero hesitation to use it – making it the most effective form of self-defense on the market.
The purpose of a multi-layered, robust safety plan is to maximize risk reduction. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that all our real estate agents come home safe. To that end, ask yourself, “What self-defense solution will reduce my risk of injury the most and cause the least amount of collateral damage?”
Then take the MOST important step of all, and order that product to be delivered to you.
- Evan Dean does Industry Sales for Reflex Protect®