Why Situational Awareness Should Be A Crucial Part of Everyday Lives – Karen Hunter
Whether you carry a firearm or not, situational awareness is important for every person for multiple reasons. Right now, in the current state of our nation, and world, everything seems to be unstable in terms of people and their behavior. Understanding and incorporating situational awareness should be a crucial part of our everyday lives. This is not just for threat situations, but any emergency as well. Our go-to reaction, firearm or not should always be to avoid any bad situation. Simply stated, situational awareness is paying attention to your surroundings and making the right decisions. This sounds like good common sense and should be simple enough, however the reality shows this is not the case for most people. I want to give you some basic principles of situational awareness that you can start incorporating right now for yourself and your family.
One of the most vital strengths we all possess is our gut instinct. Do not ignore that still small voice that allows you to sense when something or someone just doesn’t feel right. We often dismiss this feeling as paranoia or over-reacting, doing so is potentially very dangerous. If you sense anything that seems abnormal, acknowledge this and do what is necessary to avoid the situation. Just as we have heard over and over again, it is better to be safe than sorry.
We must understand what a soft or easy target is. Many people think that only women or children fall into this category; this is not the case. Right now, the number one identifier of a soft target are people on their cell phones. Being on your cell phone either walking or sitting in public keeps you zoned in on your phone and totally unaware of what is happening around you. All your senses are focused on your phone rendering you oblivious to your surroundings. This will make anyone an easy or soft target. If you must be on your phone, stay aware, look around and pay attention.
Another way we make an easy target is simply how we present ourselves. Walking with your head down or shuffling your feet for example, gives the appearance of a timid or weak person. Walk with confidence, head up, looking around and making eye contact. It is ok to look someone in the eye. This is not a stare down or scowl of intimidation, it’s simply quick eye contact. Making eye contact simply lets people know you are aware that they are there. It allows others to perceive you as non-submissive and prepared.
Scan your surroundings. Pay attention to people, entry and exit points, possible obstacles, escape routes, etc., to remain vigilant in the event you would have to evacuate or flee for any reason. An example would be where you position yourself in a restaurant. Is your back towards the door? Do you know where the exits are if there is a threat or emergency? It can seem overwhelming but one way to really start making this a part of you and possibly fun for you and your family is to incorporate it into a game and have a quiz afterwards. Ask questions like, where were we sitting, who waited on us, where were the exits, what were the people like around us. The list goes on and on. This can be done for restaurants, the grocery store or any place away from home that you may go. These are just a few examples. But scanning is worth practicing. Knowing who and what is around you and making mental notes of such is an invaluable skill that anyone is capable of learning.
There is far more to this topic than I could ever fit into one article. However, these points are a great place to start to begin understanding situational awareness. Reading this I am sure it sounds like mere common sense, which in actuality that is exactly what it is. The truth remains that most people do not give this the conscious effort that they should. I encourage you to take the time to educate yourselves on situational awareness as there is so much more that can be learned and applied. Your best defense when it comes to being an advocate for your own safety is education and training.
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