July 29, 2011
By George Wehby
Situational awareness is one of those things that is a "No-Brainer," but is often neglected until its to late. Maintaining situational awareness can be very taxing on the mind if you do not have a clear cut methodical approach. We all have routines in our lives. We all frequent the same places with the same people throughout our week. It is very easy to become complacent. Nothing happened before, therefore it will not happen next. This is all too common for us humans. We are creatures of habit. We naturally find ways to make things more efficient. Thats the easiest way for our brains to process so much information at one time, and is exactly what the bad guy is counting on in order to ambush.
Just like telling a child to look both ways before crossing the street, developing situational awareness is just as simple. In the situation with the child, we have given that child a context in which to practice his/her situational awareness. The problem is, the training generally stops there. We all have different "streets" in our lives. Take the time to develop rules like "look both ways before crossing" and the task becomes easier.
When entering a convenience store for instance, I have a rule to scan the cars in the parking lot and work my way into the store visually as I approach. I try to scan all parties inside and get a snap shot of their demeanor. Are they acting in accordance with what I feel is normal for an employee or patron? It's a simple game and takes less than the time to walk in. Once in, I scan their hands and waistband for weapons and/or bulges. Once in the store, I try to keep the door in clear view so that I can catch first glimpse of those who enter. It's very simple and can be quite entertaining and mentally challenging. This is just one example of "crossing the road." What are your situational awareness techniques? Stay Safe and Train Hard!
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