HOME VISITS SAFETY TIPS

By using this service, you may choose to drop off donations or provide a service at a family’s home. These days, with concerns surrounding mental illness, social problems and those who simply want to take advantage of the situation, you should take necessary safety precautions. It is important to be smart, cautious and “take action” to protect yourself.

Some things to keep in mind before dropping off an item or delivering a service at someone’s home:
  • Contact the people you plan to visit and obtain as much information as possible (i.e. their location including full name, address, and possible home phone number – not a cell phone but a LAN line number)
  • If possible attempt to verify that the information is correct – check the phone book, etc.
  • Check the address you intend to visit to determine if it is a potentially dangerous location
  • Telephone the residents and assess possible risk factors (e.g. chemical abuse/domestic violence/criminal involvement/mental illness)
  • Before your visit, ask questions about pets, children, other potential visitors etc.
  • Always inform your Church or Ministry or a friend or family member of the date and time and location of your home visit
  • If possible all home visits should be accompanied by two or more people
  • Where there are identified risks for a visit and a two-person visit is not practical, arrange for someone to call you on your mobile phone near the end of your scheduled visit to establish that you are okay (also consider a phrase to use in an emergency)
  • Notify a friend or family member of your arrival. Give them the address and phone numbers and approximate length of visit.
Personal Safety during the Visit:
  • If you carry bags, keep your car keys and mobile phone on you (you can barricade yourself in a room / toilet and use your phone in an emergency)
  • Survey the premises for exits and ways out in an emergency (also think about fire and that older people tend to barricade themselves inside)
  • If the person you are visiting locks the front door (particularly deadlocks) ask them to please leave the key in the lock
  • Be wary of trip hazards that are both external and internal such as steps or lifted floor coverings, electrical wires
  • If there are dogs or other pets which concern you, ask that they be put away in a locked kennel or room
  • Do not wear expensive jewelry
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry
  • Do not carry of a purse
  • Carry essential identification only
  • Avoid carrying credit cards
  • Dress conservatively
Travel Safety Tips when Conducting a Home Visit:
  • Lock your car doors as soon as you get in (to prevent car jacking)
  • Where practical do not park in the driveway (you could be blocked in) – but if you need to, think about reverse parking in, so you can simply drive out
  • In a cul de sac, park in the direction of the cul de sac exit
  • Approach your car with keys in hand
  • Check the car interior before entering
  • Keep doors locked at all times
  • Hide your purse/packages/valuables so they are not open to view
  • Avoid parking besides vans/trucks
  • Park in well lit areas and avoid parking in isolated areas
Tips to Consider if You are Faced with an Aggression Incident During a Home Visit:
  • Never enter a house if there is yelling, screaming, breaking glass etc. coming from within – call the police
  • If an aggression incident occurs, remember to try and remain as calm as possible, speak slowly and calmly
  • Stay out of rooms such as kitchens because there are a variety of weapons that could be used
  • Try and keep a barrier (e.g. table, between you and the aggressor where practical)
  • Slowly try to move toward an exit, or consider a room you can barricade yourself in and use your cell phone to call police
  • Try not to walk backwards as you risk tripping over
  • At earliest opportunity call the Police, even if it is only the threat of assault, call your Church or Ministry immediately and report the incident
  • You must inform the police if firearms are produced or implied
  • Don’t stand face to face (it makes you vulnerable to attacks)
  • Don’t enter a home with someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Don’t enter a home with someone who is inappropriately dressed
Disclaimer:
This page is provided for “general interest” only and cannot cover every potential situation. It is simply a set of tips aimed to assist and be considered in addition to your Church’s or Ministry’s procedures.