How to protect your personal safety while outdoors alone

PADUCAH — As it gets warmer outside, many of you will spend more time outside — going on runs, walks, or playing with your kids.

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re out alone.

As it gets darker, try to bring a running or walking partner with you. There is safety in numbers.

Also, try not to use your headphones or just wear one and turn the volume down low. Having the volume up too high or even texting can be distracting.

Sadie Cherry tries to stay alert at all times, and she isn’t afraid to call 911 if she feels like she’s in danger.

Cherry and her family are picking up running as a new hobby. “I love the outdoors,” Cherry said.

Sometimes, that means putting your safety at risk — especially if you’re alone. “I try to be pretty alert, but it can happen to anyone,” Cherry said.

She goes to the gym in the winter and feels safe there. “Now, out here — like on the trail — that’s another story. You don’t know who is behind you,” Cherry said.

She said if someone is following you, you don’t know what their intentions are. Safety is her first priority.

“Your instincts automatically just kick in, and if you feel that instinct, listen to it, basically,” Cherry said.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department says it’s best to understand where you are and know your surroundings, especially if you’re alone. Download a map or take a picture of the map where you are.

“Reaction is slower than action,” Chief Deputy Mike Turnbow said. He said if a situation feels off, your gut is probably right.

“Keep your head on a swivel,” Turnbow said. “Look around you, especially if you’re on a roadway, riding a bicycle, or walking, or even on a city street.”

Cherry has a plan if anything happens to her. “If somebody comes at me, I’m just going to go for the eyes. That’s just a good place to go for,” she said.

Another piece of advice to remember Turnbow says is to carry a self defense produce with you, such as pepper spray, which you can buy at your local Wal-Mart.

You can even buy the training model that sprays water to practice.

If you see something strange, do not be afraid to call 911.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department says that you could possibly deter that person from potentially doing something harmful to you, or someone else.