Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 10, 2016

Realtors prepare for on-the-job risks with self-defense training

Realtor Yun Gravitt (left) with self-defense instructor Jon Fish and Realtor Mary Jones last week at the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors. - (Photo by David Laprad)

An open house might not seem like a danger zone, but it is one of many situations that could make a Realtor a sitting duck for a violent attack. To prepare Realtors to protect themselves while on the job, the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors (GCAR) last week hosted the latest class in a series of self-defense workshops specifically tailored to the needs of real estate agents.

With assaults on Realtors contributing to an average of more than 25 fatalities each year since 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, self-defense is becoming something of a job requirement. 

“For real estate agents, on-the-job, everyday scenarios can easily escalate into something dangerous,” said Nathan Walldorf, GCAR president. “When you’re showing an empty home to virtual strangers – sometimes miles away from the nearest neighbor – and marketing yourself in the public eye, having an escape plan and knowledge of how to defend yourself could save your life.”

Forty percent of all Realtors surveyed in the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Member Safety Report indicated they had at one point felt threatened on the job – a fear GCAR is seeking to address with its self-defense classes. Each four-hour course is led by safety experts Jim Hogwood and Jon Fish from the National Self-Defense Agency, and participants learn to spot warning signs while employing practical safety tips and self-defense techniques.

“As a Realtor for more than a decade, I’ve seen the landscape change, and it’s not as safe as it once was,” said Carolyn Limerick, an agent with Keller-Williams Realty in Hixson. “But after learning numerous self-defense techniques, I feel confident and in control of my own safety, which wasn’t the case before today.”

For added safety, Realtors have also been encouraged to turn to technology with personal security apps like Guard Llama or StreetSafe, which can communicate an agent’s location and personal information with the swipe of a finger or push of a button. But when a 911 response isn’t quick enough, class instructors stressed there’s no greater resource than a ready mind and trained body.

“The goal of this training is to ensure Realtors leave feeling confident they can protect themselves during an attack, no matter the setting or their aggressor’s stature,” said Jon Fish, an instructor with the National Self-Defense Agency.” Attackers typically don’t take action if they expect to be defeated, so a target that fights back immediately has an advantage.”

For more information about GCAR’s ongoing self-defense courses, visit www.gcar.net/events/event/realtors-self-defense-class1

Source: Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors