What Servicemen Can Teach Civilians about Situational Awareness
Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
Members of our military are trained to be aware of their surroundings. Ready for dangerous situations and unpredictable people are just a few of the ways our servicemen remain cognizant while in hostile environments. Situational awareness is not about inducing paranoia, but to encourage a level of mindfulness that keeps you safe. Below is a list of what civilians can learn from members of the US military about situational awareness.
Survey the territory. Are you passing a dark alley? Is there thick vegetation nearby? Is your car parked in a dark lot? Factors such as these help conceal an attacker.
Watching for stares. Are people paying unnecessary attention to you? A predator could be sizing you up to decide if you are a potential victim.
Are you being followed? Whether you’re on foot or in the car, it can often be difficult to tell if you are being followed or the person behind you is simply headed to the same place. Making four left turns, turning in a cul-de-sac, slowing down or entering a business can determine whether or not you’re being followed.
Choose a hotel room wisely. Don’t get a hotel room near an emergency exit because this is an easy escape for an attacker. Choosing a room on the second floor as opposed to the ground floor is ideal as no one can enter the window.
Sit facing the door and locate the emergency exits. Being able to see who comes and goes in public places plus knowing where to get out in a hurry keeps you on the alert.
Consider Jeff Cooper’s (USMC) color system of alertness. Please note that this is a state of attentiveness, not the threat level.
Condition White: Unaware and unprepared. Texting, listening to music, daydreaming and sleeping are all examples of Condition White. This is when most individuals are susceptible to an attack.
Condition Yellow: Relaxed alert. While there is no specific threat, you are simply aware that your surroundings can be dangerous and that you are prepared to defend yourself if needed.
Condition Orange: Specific alert. Your gut is telling you that something is not right and you’ve focused your attention on a potential threat.
Condition Red: Fight. The threat you’ve established has engaged in an attack and now is the time to defend yourself.
Part of self-defense is being aware of what’s going on around you. Ignorance may be bliss, but not being mindful of where you are and who you are with is a potential breeding ground for danger.