LEAWOOD, Kan. -- Dozens of real estate agents are learning how to protect themselves, as more are aware of vulnerable situations that are part of their job.
Professionals are learning simple techniques to stay safe at the Regional Association of Realtors.
Real estate agents often meet people they don't know very well, if at all, inside empty homes. It's an ideal scenario for those intent on doing harm.
Self defense expert Steve Woolridge trained more than 40 realtors, showing them simple steps, like striking with the meat of their hands, instead of their knuckles, to ward off an attacker without hurting themselves.
Agents say it's not unusual to sense that someone is not acting right or doesn't seem like a genuine buyer, when they're showing a home.
"Just easy techniques that would be an immediate response," said Cindy Cunningham, a real estate agent attending the training. "Kind of intuitive and just trying to keep more of those scenarios in mind. It’s very difficult when you are showing a house not to enter a room before somebody else, going to the basement before somebody else. I do that all the time. And I should not. I have been in the business for a long time. We need to retrain ourselves to think a little differently than we always have."
Woolridge showed the group how to use common items like keys or a pen as effective weapons to combat an attacker.
And he emphasized striking sensitive areas in the face, neck or groin that can do damage without requiring a lot of strength.
Many real estate companies have safety protocols in place. But it's still a people business where one-to-one interactions remain all too common.