MLA '05: Safety Tips
When Leaving Home...
|Keep a list at home of the important
credit cards and identification you plan to take with you. It's hard
to count on your memory if they are lost.
Don't display large amounts of cash when paying
for taxis or tips.
|Carry with you the name,
address, and phone number of an individual to contact in case of accident.
Don't leave luggage unattended. Keep it in full
view at all times. If your hotel room is not ready when you check
in, use the luggage check-in service at the bell captain's desk.
|Be sure to carry a card
describing any medical difficulties such as diabetes or allergies
to any drugs.
|Take as little cash as
possible. Carry travelers' checks and credit cards to cover expenses.
When Checking In...
|Use the hotel vault safe
deposit service, provided to all registered guests, for jewelry and
valuables. Just ask at the front desk.
Don't leave money or jewelry in your hotel room,
even for a short time. Remember, thieves know all the same hiding
places you do!
|Be careful what you say
in the presence of strangers. Never reveal your room number or discuss
plans for leaving the hotel in a crowded area where you can be overheard.
Don't put your room key down beside you on a restaurant
table, bar, or at poolside. You may find your room robbed while
you are enjoying yourself.
|Turn in your room key
at the front desk when you leave the hotel. This way you will avoid
Don't reveal your room number within earshot of
unfamiliar people (on an elevator or in a restaurant).
|Ask at the front desk
or concierge desk about the neighborhood around the hotel so you know
what streets to avoid.
When Staying In the Hotel...
|Use your peephole to identify callers
before letting them in. If you don't have a peephole, put on the chain
and open the door to see who is there.
Don't automatically open your room door if someone
knocks. Make sure you know who your callers are before you let them
|Call the front desk before
letting in anyone claiming to be a maintenance or TV repair person.
Find out if the claim is legitimate before opening the door.
Don't leave your room door ajar if you are going
down the hall for ice. Someone might go in while you aren't looking.
|Use every locking device
on your door (the nightbolt, deadbolt, etc.) when you are in your
Don't enter your room if the door is ajar. Call
security to go in with you. Make sure the security guard checks
all places in the room where someone could be hiding.
|Check all areas of your
room (bath, closet, etc.) before letting the bellperson go.
Don't open your room door if someone is following
you down the hall. Let the individual go before you put the key
in the lock.
|Stand near the elevator
control panel. If accosted, push all the buttons.
|Exit before the door closes
if a suspicious person joins you in the elevator.
|Look into the elevator
carefully before you enter. If you are uncertain of any occupant,
wait for the next elevator.
|Look down the corridor
carefully for suspicious activity before leaving the elevator.
|Put all valuables in the
safe deposit box at the front desk.
|Check carefully to find
where fire exits are located. Remember the red exit sign may not be
visible if there is a fire. Walk from your room to the exit so you
are sure how far way it is. Count the number of steps and open the
exit door to see what is beyond it.
When Going Out...
|Ride, rather than walk,
particularly at night. If the streets around the hotel are deserted,
as they are in many major cities, take a taxi or shuttle bus, even
if your destination is "within easy walking distance."
Don't loiter. Remain alert if window shopping. Be
prepared to run if followed. If accosted by someone in a car, run
in the opposite direction that the direction the car is going.
|Avoid unlit driveways
and other shadowed places. If necessary, walk in the middle of the
street until you reach a better lighted street.
Don't wear your badge or carry your convention material
with you outside the hotel. Obvious conventioneers are prime targets
for thieves. Try to look as though you belong.
|Walk with another person
when sightseeing or shopping, particularly at night.
Don't take unmarked, "gypsy" taxis or accept a ride
from anyone you don't know, even if the person claims to be attending
|Carry your wallet in your
inside coat pocket if you are a man. Your rear trouser pocket is an
easy target for pickpockets.
|Carry your wallet in a
coat pocket rather than your purse if you are a woman. Leave valuables
at home. If you must carry a purse, firmly clasp the top of the purse
so a pickpocket cannot reach in.
|Be wary of strangers.
Never accompany a stranger anywhere.
|Remain alert at all times,
especially in crowded areas. Thieves often operate in pairs. One may
bump you while the other is picking your pocket.
|Avoid shortcuts and walkways
between buildings during the day and at night.
|Beware of people who approach
you on the street asking for directions. Keep a polite but safe distance.
When Driving Around...
|Make sure you have enough
Don't leave attractive packages, luggage, clothes,
purses, cameras, or other valuables in view. Lock them in the trunk.
|Keep your car doors locked
when driving and keep the windows rolled up to within two to three
inches of the top.
Don't transfer items to the trunk at the location
where you are parking the car. A thief may be watching.
|Park only in lighted areas
Don't ask directions from strangers. Instead drive
to a well-lighted gas station.
|Look inside your car before
entering. An intruder may be crouching on the floor.
Don't pick up hitchhikers.ever.
|If you car breaks down,
remain inside with the doors and windows locked. If possible, raise
the hood. Open the door only for the police or road service personnel.
If anyone else approaches you, offering help, politely decline the
||Don't turn over your car
keys or your idling car in a parking lot until you are sure the individual
is a legitimate employee.
|Pull over to a well-lighted
curbside and blow your horn to attract attention if you are being
followed by another car.
When You Have an Emergency...
- Call the police and report any crime.
- Be sure to identify yourself and your location.
- Explain what type of crime occurred (theft, robbery, pickpocket,
- Give as complete a description as possible of the offender.
- Give a description of the offender's flight.
- State whether the offender was armed; if possible, describe
what type of weapon the offender was carrying.
- Be prepared to sign criminal complaints and to testify as to
what took place. Remember, without your cooperation, the the police
When There Is a Fire...
- Try to leave the hotel if you can. However, if you can't, stay
in your room and take precautions.
- In your room, call the operator or security to let them know
you are there.
- Put your hand on your room door to see if it is hot before opening
it. If it is, don't open it quickly. Open it just a crack to see
what is on the other side and be prepared to slam it quickly if
- Shut your room door if you leave the room during the fire. You
may find the exit blocked and have to return. A closed door will
keep smoke and fire out.
- If you leave the room and go to the hall, drop to your knees
to avoid smoke.
- Remember the way back to your room as you go to the exit so
you can return if necessary.
- Open the window unless smoke is rising outside your room.
- Fill the bathtub with water and put wet sheets and towels in
it to stuff around the cracks in your door to keep out smoke.
- Use your ice bucket to bail water from the bathtub onto the
door and walls to keep them cool if they get hot.
- Tie a wet towel around your nose and mouth to act as a smoke
filter. Fold it into a triangle and put the corner in your mouth.
- Swing a wet towel around the room. It will help clear the smoke.
- Take down anything flammable such as drapes from the windows
if there is a fire outside. Bail water around the window to keep