Tips To Having A Keen Level Of Situational Awareness
Being Aware Of Surroundings Could Save Your Life.
Various hazards are encountered by us on a daily basis whether we acknowledge them fully or not. Some hazards are more obvious than others. Identifying hazards sadly comes more naturally to some than others. Situational awareness should be covered extensively in your survival planning. Practicing good situational awareness can help in both disastrous survival and everyday life situations.
Evil lurking among us is the reality of the world we live in. Think of it as a battle field in which we must arm ourselves with this concept to prevent falling prey to wolves. Various job duties, training and experience such as those with a military or law enforcement background can relate well to the importance of situational awareness. Intentions of this article will also help those who already practice good awareness techniques by raising senses to a new level.
Preppers, survivalist and those of us who choose to take the sheepdog role in society we all have an obligation to refuse to be a victim. Fundamentally refusing to being a victim is to not allow ourselves to be soft targets, taking precautionary measures, identifying threats, and hazard recognition. Hazards can never be completely eliminated but our individual abilities to pay attention to details helps us in creating a mitigation plan. Situational Awareness should be a mindset that everyone embraces.
In attempts to put things in perspectives all can understand I will give the following examples.:
- Hazardous Environments. – Bad neighborhoods, going to the local convenience store we all know always has the crackheads out and about. Can you avoid this place completely? Is there certain times of the day in which your less likely to encounter such people? There are a ton of examples of hazardous environments such as large crowds, dark alleys, or being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
- Identifying Threats. – You get that bad vibe or gut instinct that a person or individuals are up to no good. Always trust your gut. You’re walking down the street and encounter a person who is either noticeably high on drugs or mentally unstable. Can you keep a safe distance? Obviously such situations should trigger a heighten level of awareness. Threats are not limited to people, but could also be the elements of environment itself such as extreme temperatures or severe weather. More or less anything that makes you vulnerable could be a potential threat.
Things that make you vulnerable would include.:
- Lack Of Awareness. – Failure to identify the current environment as hazardous and exercising complacency. Examples of this would include things like texting while walking creating complete unawareness of your surroundings.
- Failure To Identify Hazards. – Goes hand in hand with lack of awareness because you can’t identify dangers if your distracted, complacent, or more commonly have a false sense of security.
- Taking Unnecessary Risk. – Partaking in Black Friday Sales event instead of participating in the Cyber Monday sales from the comfort and safety of your home.
Levels of awareness.
Be at the correct level of awareness appropriate for each situation. Many people live their lives on what I like to call auto-pilot and living your life in that automated mode should be avoided completely. Awareness levels should change naturally as the environment dictates. A good example of this is driving down the open highway being virtually the only car on the road versus driving in a heavily congested stop & go traffic jam. We’ve all experienced the physical changes we feel due to the increase stressors of such situations.
While there is most certainly more levels of awareness I’d like to sum up with as few examples possible for the general idea:
- Relaxed Awareness. – Sitting in the recliner having a cold beer watching football on a Sunday afternoon.
- Elevated Awareness. – Leaving the comfort of your home your awareness should change causing you to be more observant. At an elevated level you are still well within your comfort-zone with the goal of identifying situations that would force you to increase awareness so they can be avoided.
- Heightened Awareness. – Not all situations can be avoided and for whatever reason we are forced into a more risky environment. This level of awareness has no immediate threat nor should it cause you to feel an increase in adrenaline. For some people like maybe those who live in a bad neighborhood, this is their awareness when they walk out their front door. At this level knowing the likelihood of an unwanted encounter you should be thinking of all the what ifs so that you can make good calculated decisions. Knowing what you’re going to do before you have to do it can be the difference between life and death. Have a plan!
- Threat Assessment. – Adrenaline has kicked in and you’ve found yourself in a situation in which you believe you may have to take action. Threat isn’t immediate but you’ve identified something that could quickly escalate and your decision-making is focused on implementing your plan. Plan is specific to a threat that could be moments away. At this time you must quickly and decisively decide your course of action to either attempt to defuse the situation, flee it or defend yourself from it.
Outcomes & Escalations.
- Reaction! – Unfortunately despite all the measures taken you are forced to react. Now you are experiencing a surge in adrenaline. Be confident because you’ve had the time & opportunity to make a well thought out calculated decision. This is the most desired outcome when forced to react.
- Panic. – Primary importance of having good situational awareness is to prevent panic at all cost. Even with good awareness things can still go wrong. Situations that would result in panic would include failed plans, element of surprise, or inadequate training or preparation.
Goals of situational awareness.
Goals of having a good situational awareness mindset is to prevent panic reactions resulting from being caught off guard. Possibilities can never be fully eliminated. Prevent being the victim of the element of surprise by being alert and vigilant of surroundings at all times. Acknowledge the importance of this article. Implement this concept into your daily life. Understand it’s importance in both survival situations as well as daily routines.
While this article was heavily focused on everyday life routines it plays into survival situations as well. In a SHTF Survival situation having good situational awareness could increase your Golden Hour time.