Even if you never live alone in your entire life--always have a roommate, move in with a significant other, live with your family or anything, you should still know how to keep yourself safe because there are some nights you will be alone in the house/apartment/bed and you need to know how to protect yourself. (By the way: a lot of people seem to think that never living alone is some sort of test that everyone must undergo to "fully become an adult". Not true. If you're living the life that's comfortable for you and those around you and you're doing what makes you happy without hurting anyone else, that's the life you should be living. Don't listen to anyone else. And this applies to every aspect of life, not just living alone.)
When moving into a new house/apartment, change the locks -- Who knows who had keys before you? You really don't want strangers to have access to your house. Also: I read something where a woman put six deadbolt locks on her door and only locks a random three at night so no matter what, a potential burglar will always be locking three of the locks when unlocking the other three. It seems like a lot of work to me, but definitely make sure you have more than one lock on your door!
Keep a phone in your room -- Yes, I know it's bad to have the screen glow of your iPhone in your bedroom when you're trying to sleep so if you like to leave your phone outside your room, have a landline placed in your bedroom. This way, if you wake up at night hearing strange noises and feel like there's someone in your house, you don't have to leave your room to phone for help. Also a reason to have a lock on your bedroom door. And a baseball bat within grabbing distance of your bed. (Also I recommend a flashlight in your nightstand drawer in case the power goes out)
-- A very important one, the self-Heimlich can save your life if you're ever choking on something and there's nobody around to help you. Here's a video demonstrating how to perform it, and a wikihow explaining exactly how to perform it and how it works.
Bring a phone to the bathroom when you shower -- In case you fall or have some other emergency and you don't happen to have a MedicAlert bracelet you don't have to struggle to get to your phone. Bonus: bring a bluetooth speaker and blast some tunes while you shower to get yourself in a happy morning mood (I adore my iHome portable speaker)
Befriend your neighbors -- Make nice with your neighbors, note the ones that make you uneasy, and always watch out for those that have kids. You helping them out and being friendly with them will in turn help them to help you if you ever have an emergency. A good reason to befriend your mail person or newspaper delivery person, if you usually come to the door and one day don't they'll be more aware of it and may just come to your aid if you're having an emergency.
Make a password -- When I was younger, my Mom and I had a secret password that only the two of us knew so if someone ever told me "your Mom sent me to pick you up" they'd have to know the password before I would go with them. Great if you have kids, and also applicable in a different way to help keep you safe. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation and don't want to broadcast that you're phoning for help, create a safe word or phrase with your emergency contact that sounds normal to most people but indicates to your specific contact that something is wrong. It could be something as simple as: "I'd like to order a pizza with extra mushrooms on it please" if you hate mushrooms. Calling your best friend and saying this phrase can alert her to call the police and get help to you without ever tipping off the person you feel is threatening your safety.
Have a pet that makes noise -- If for some reason you have a medical emergency and cannot get up to take your dog or cat out or feed it, it will begin to whine and make noise and hopefully attract the attention of neighbors and passersby. A fish really wouldn't be able to help you in this situation. Also, having a dog that has a frightening bark is good to initially spook would-be intruders.
Download safety apps -- Helpful for walking home at night, the two apps I like the most are Kitestring and bSafe. Kitestring is a service that will check up on you at a certain time and if you don't respond the service immediately alerts your emergency contacts. Kitestring is free and is a mobile SMS service, not an app. Check it out here. bSafe is an actual app that is absolutely free with no "premium" features that cost extra money. You set up your emergency contacts (the app calls them "guardians") and they can follow your trip home via GPS mapping. If you press the alarm button in an emergency, they'll get a text with your exact location and the app will record video and audio through your phone in case you want to present it to the police later. Check it out in iTunes.
Prepare for natural disasters -- Download a weather app and set it up to get alerts for any dangerous weather predicted in your area. Make sure you have an emergency kit ready at all times if your power goes out for a few days--fill it with water, canned and boxed food that doesn't have to be cooked (make sure you remember the can opener), batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, and some people suggest a radio to listen for updates if your phone is unable to. The kit should have enough supplies for at least 3 days. After using it, make sure you replace the items with fresh ones.
Car safety -- Beyond checking your car before you get in it at night, make sure you always have an extra tire, a tire patching kit, extra gas, a flashlight, flares, and a first aid kit in your trunk. When preparing for a road trip, pack water and food as you would in a regular emergency kit. This will help you if you get stranded on the side of some road somewhere. Also--my grandmother gave every driving member of our family a Life Hammer a few Christmases ago and I do think everyone should have one at hand. In case you ever find yourself in the need of one, the life hammer can break your window and cut through your seatbelt. If you have a bad car accident or your car submerges in water, you have a way to get out.
These are my safety tips! What are your best tips on keeping yourself safe, living alone or with others? Stay safe butterflies!