Hi, it’s Gerald! I want to discuss something extremely important with you. In this day and age, I believe it is very important to learn and practice situational awareness. You’re going to ask me, what is situational awareness? The US Coast Guard describes it as:
…the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you.
In our current society, we need increased awareness of our surroundings. This is a skill taught to the military and police, but as Art of Manliness says, 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.
They mention a very helpful tip to start us off, and this deals with the mindset needed for situational awareness:
The OODA Loop is a learning system and decision-making process that was first laid out by Air Force fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd. The four steps of the OODA Loop are Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. In a head-to-head competition, like air-to-air combat, a violent confrontation in a parking lot, or even political contests, the person who can cycle through the OODA Loop the fastest wins.
Most of the written material deals with very technical definitions, that (for me) hold little real world application according to It’s Tactical. Keep in mind that situational awareness is more of mindset and not a skill, so this means anyone with the will and discipline to learn can do so.
Here are 10 tips we found from Be Survival that we added on to:
1. Learn to Predict Events – Look around you and try to predict the future actions of thing and people around you to keep yourself and loved ones safe.
2. Identify Elements Around You – Check out everything around you and note immediate threats and watch for their possible impact on you and your companions.
3. Trust Your Feelings – Follow your gut! Your body knows way before your mind of danger because of the fight or flight hormone.
4. Limit Situational Overload – Limit the things that occupy your attention when out, as this could cause distraction and that can cause an error in dealing with threats.
5. Avoid Complacency – Stay vigilant of your surroundings and always be ready for any disaster or danger.
6. Be Aware of Time – Take note of the schedule you have and of people with you, because being in a hurry can lessen your focus. There are also more threats at night than during the day.
7. Begin to Evaluate and Understand Situations – Aim to understand how patterns in everyday situations work and how to interpret and evaluate these patterns to make a good defense.
8. Actively Prevent Fatigue – Getting adequate rest will make sure that you are in top shape to defend against any threat.
9. Continually Assess the Situation – Always be aware of your surroundings as you continue to assess your situation. It pays to know your surroundings and what to use during an attack.
10. Monitor Performance of Others – Be up to date with your family’s health, as a weak link can mean the success or failure in your defense.
I was a police officer for a while and we learned about these concepts. It is very insightful and very relevant to all types of people. The main point I would like to drill home is to not walk and be engrossed in your phone. This makes you a prime target because you are oblivious to your surroundings. It is not only for muggings but also for traffic. Let us all keep ourselves and our families safe by doing simple things like practicing situational awareness.