Women's self-defense course begins Wednesday at Hiram College

By Rachel Hagenbaugh | Staff Writer Published:

The Hiram Police Department is sponsoring several free safety programs, including a women's self-defense course, a senior driving seminar and an alcohol awareness program.

The self-defense course, developed by Officer Joe Urso and Sgt. Dave Ovens, will demonstrate how to escape an attacker, properly hold one's purse and other protective techniques and tips about how to avoid becoming a victim. For example, if an assailant attacks someone from behind and wraps their arms around the victim, Chief Ed Samec said, the officers will explain how to break free using one's body weight and momentum.

The course will also emphasis different ways women should hold their purses and keys to defend themselves.

"If you strap (your purse) over your shoulder it can be easily taken off," Samec said. "If you strap it around your opposite shoulder and hold onto it, there are different ways a person can defend themselves from that position."

The self-defense course will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Kennedy Center at Hiram College.

The senior driving seminar is a program taught by Samec, Ovens and Lori Cook, a safety adviser for AAA East Central Northeast Ohio Region. The seminar will be divided into two 90-minute sessions starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. March 28 in the basement of the Hiram Christian Church, 6969 Wakefield Road.

"The program will help senior citizens be more comfortable in their cars," Samec said. "We target teens, seat belt safety and distracted driving, and we wanted to target the elderly as well."

Samec said the seminar will discuss the proper way to adjust the driver's seat, review mirror and outboard mirrors and the steering wheel. The program will also encourage citizens to be conscious of their surroundings.

"One of the biggest contributing factors of motor vehicle crashes when the operator is a senior citizen is failure to yield," Samec said.

"The philosophy of community policing is extremely important," Samec said. "We want to do absolutely everything we can to make our roadways safer."

An alcohol awareness program, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24 in the Kennedy Center at Hiram College, will emphasize the hazards of drinking and driving and being an intoxicated pedestrian or passenger in a vehicle.

Part of the program will include "drunk busters," goggles that simulate how much one becomes a danger when they drink.

"We'll have them do simple tasks like toss a tennis ball or walk in a heel-to-toe manner like we would for the field sobriety test," Samec said. "They can actually see how their motor skills are impaired."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123 or rhagenbaugh@recordpub.com

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