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As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality requires much practice. And while it is taught to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and yes, government-trained assassins, it’s an important skill for civilians to learn as well. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you and your loved ones safe.
Condition Yellow is best described as “relaxed alert.” There’s no specific threat situation, but you have your head up and you’re taking in your surroundings with all your senses. Most people associate situational awareness with just visual stimulation, but you can also learn a lot about a particular scenario from the sounds (or lack thereof) and even smells in the environment.
To achieve effective situational awareness, you need to be able to observe as much of your surroundings as possible. So whenever you enter an environment, put yourself in a position that will allow you to see as much as you can.
My buddy Mike Seeklander at Shooting Performance recommends finding a place where you can view all or most of the exit points, and that allows you to put your back to the wall. This position readies you to make a quick getaway, and eliminates the possibility of failing to see a threat materialize behind you.
Hone your observation skills by playing the A-Game
To play, when you go into a business, make note of a few things about your environment: the number of workers behind the counter, the clothing and gender of the person sitting next to you, how many entry/exits there are, etc. When you leave and get into the car to head home, ask your kids questions like “How many workers were behind the counter?” “Was the person sitting next to us a man or a woman?” “What color was his/her shirt?” “How many exits were there?”
It’s fun to play, but more importantly it’s training your kids (and you) to be more mindful of their surroundings.
Being more observant isn’t enough to master situational awareness. You have to know what you’re looking for, and then put that information into context so it has meaning and becomes actionable.
The Orient step provides three things to help us achieve situational awareness: 1) baselines and anomalies for our particular environment, 2) mental models of human behavior we should look for, and 3) plans of action depending on our observation.
“Anomalies are things that either do not happen and should, or that do happen and shouldn’t.” Anomalies are what direct our attention as we take in our surroundings and what we need to focus on to achieve situational awareness.
In addition to asking yourself the baseline and anomaly questions every time you enter an environment, Van Horne suggests you ask yourself a third question: “What would I do if I saw an anomaly?” In other words, come up with an action plan.
As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality requires much practice.
I know that you're trying to be serious but it makes you come across like a Walter-mitty type,
You can protect yourself in crowded public spaces by being aware and studying your surroundings, including people nearby.
If I go out I go out for a good time not to pretend that I am Jason Borne and that I have to create "action plans" for everything I see gong on.
But isn't that just what you and your buddy did do? Go out for a good time playing the Jason Borne game?
originally posted by: projectvxn
This can be condensed to a few tenets of situational awareness:
1. Keep your head on a swivel.
2. Don’t walk around with your head down and hands in your pockets.
3. Don’t walk or drive and be sucked into your phone.
4. Listen to what people are saying around you.
5. Know where the exits are, and know how to improvise an exit.
6. Carry a weapon.
If you’re paying attention, regardless of the situation, you should have enough warning to at least minimize your exposure to risk.