What is your Situational Awareness Level?
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Most people have not a clue about their situational awareness, and disabled people are the worst of the lot because… “No one would ever want to harm a disabled person! Why would they do that?” One of the most idiotic statements I’ve heard disabled people make in the 20 years I’ve been disabled… if you don’t know, I’m blind, lost my right rear paw to an infection, and have kidney failure.
Even if these people, sighted or disabled, recognize what it is, they’re too busy answering texts or e-mails to care before walking into a water fountain! It’s a term coined during WWI regarding a pilot’s knowledge of immediate threats surrounding them while flying. In this ‘civilized modern age’ in which we live now, the term is regularly used to encourage people to always be aware of their surroundings and react accordingly to improve life safety and security.
Although it is most often used in relation to active shooting threats when it comes to an organization’s safety, it should be used for everyday safety in all environments. From in & around the home, shopping, working, school, and just out for a breath of fresh air in the park.
Take a look at youtube and you’ll see innumerable people walking into traffic poles, falling into water fountains, and stumbling over very obvious stumbling blocks…all while trying to call, text, or look at the internet on their phones. Mind this and the fact that most humans only have an attention span of less than a goldfish and you can see the point. There are some places that have enacted laws where you can get ticketed for texting and crossing the street, which isn’t a bad idea, unfortunately, the police can’t regulate stupidity.
“Do we really need the government enacting laws for something our parents and grandparents taught us as little kids — to look both ways before crossing the street?” he asked. “That just invites you to become a victim of not only a potential shooter but any kind of crime.”
So, now I’ve told you those stories, are you ready how to have situational awareness? It’s very basic and simple You must be aware, at all times, of everything going on around you. No place is this more true than when walking on the sidewalk, even in your apartment complex, shopping, or in a parking lot.
Pay attention to the noises, smells, and if you can see, the sights around you. Don’t let anything pass by you without being noticed & filed away in your brain somewhere. It’s imperative that this information be kept for future reference, even if it’s for a few more minutes.
That information may be valuable on another day when traveling the same path, i.e. potholes causing loud noises with shock absorbers or screeching of tires near an obstructed intersection. You still have to pay attention, but maybe as a secondary file instead of a primary.
“It doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid, looking for a bad guy behind every bush or behind every corner. You can’t live that way. It’s a simple matter of knowing, and understanding what’s going on around you and being prepared to take action, of some kind, if need be.
This is not the easiest thing you’ll ever do. But concentrating on every item around you, as hard as it may be, is vital to come to terms with having situational awareness. Situational awareness can keep you from becoming a victim of crime, either at home, shopping, work, school, or just a walk in the park to enjoy fresh air, squirrels, and kids
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