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What Is Situational Awareness?
What is situational awareness?
This is a term most often used by the military and law enforcement. Simply put, situational awareness or SA, is a frame of mind in which you are aware of your surroundings and also aware of whom or what could be of help to you if a problem were to arise.
Example: A young man who chooses to walk the long way around the block to get to his car to avoid a group of young males is not only observant of a situation that might pose a threat, but is also obeying his instincts and employing a sound “rather be safe than sorry” strategy.
What does “360 Mindset” mean?
Those who practice good situational awareness are also known to possess a “360 mindset.” Again, this is a law enforcement and military term that is used to remind us that our world is not linear. That is, it does not just go on in front, to the sides and behind us. Rather, our world is spherical, and we need to also be aware of what is going on above us and in some cases below too. My partners and friends from Special Operations always remind me to look “Up down and all around”.
Example: A woman walking through a mall cognizant of her “360” world takes a moment to visually scan the upper balconies. She sees someone whose body language does not sit well with her gazing down upon her. Having identified this potential threat, she will be sure to keep an eye out for that individual during her shopping day and she will be very cognizant of isolated areas and perhaps ask a security guard to walk her to her vehicle in the underground garage when it’s time to leave.
People who are relaxed yet aware of their surroundings and practicing good situational awareness are described to be in “Condition Yellow”.
A person who is oblivious of their surroundings is described to be in “Condition White” and usually only knows there is a problem when it is too late. This is also known as being a “step behind” and this person will not have the precious time to react on his or her own terms if something were to occur.
Apathy, complacency and denial are the three primary barriers to good situational awareness.
Criminals read our body language and are very astute at discerning those of us inCondition Yellow vs Condition White, as they move through their victim selection process.
Situational awareness training is at the heart of our approach to all our classes, as we attempt to get students to learn to live in Condition Yellow thus lowering their prospective victim profile.