In this entry I shall attempt to make an analogy between fire safety with self defense and martial arts.
Self defense is like fire safety, it is the whole process of preventing a fire in daily life.
Fire safety includes things like making sure that all electrical installations are proper so there won't be any short circuits that could cause a fire. Flammable materials are kept away from heat and fire. Gas lines are checked regularly that they do not leak. Having smoke/heat detectors and fire alarms would help.
In self defense it is the same way. Staying away from unnecessary high risk activities and places. Be mindful on interacting with others. Even how one is dressed and one's mindset must be properly addressed as well. As with fire safety, the more one is ignorant with this, the higher the risk becomes.
What if we have taken all the necessary precautions and shit happens anyway because of an unprecedented factor or something that we have missed.
In fire safety, this is when the fire alarm kicks in and this is where the person then needs to be knowledgeable on how to put out the fire. From knowing not to put out oil or chemical fire with water to puting out a fire with a wet cloth and to having and knowing how to use a fire extinguisher. When all else fails, get out of there and call the fire department.
This is the analogy of knowing martial arts. Knowing the what to do and when to the best of your knowledge. And yes sometimes in this cases that yout best may not be good enough because of unprecedented situations. And this is is where training kicks in. If you train properly in gaining the correct knowledge, then you may mitigate the risk further.
There are no guarantees for safety, albeit fire safety or self defense. One could only mitigate the risk (lower the risk). There is no such thing as zero risk.
If you lead a high risk lifestyle or live in a high risk environment then there would be a need of more mitigation. Iron worker use special clothes, have special tools, and special fire safety equipment to avoid any injuries to himself or others. If the iron worker doesn't care, then it is his choice. He may go his whole life without getting an injury, but it takes one incident to lose an eye and he won't be getting it back.
In self defense, if you know that you lead a high risk lifestyle then proper precautions should be taken in daily life. This may or may not be a part of your martial arts program (usually not... depends on the art and the teacher/instructor).
You could be living in a low risk environment but are complacent or ignorant of the surrounding. This also could escalate your risk. You could be living in a high risk environment but you have taken all the precautions you know, you may have managed some but not all risks, the risk is lowered but still relatively high.
Sometimes the situation that we are in were chosen for us by circumstances. Sometimes we don't know our options to make it better. Could be because of environment and/or maybe because of knowledge. But if by some grace that the situation changes and you now could choose, then make sure that you make a good one, before circumstances choose it for you.
Be knowledgeable of the risks, know how to manage it, and stay safe.