Situational Awareness: A Non-Incident vs. The Six O’ Clock News!

panel-van-parking-dangerA teenaged girl, who had taken our introductory situational awareness class, approached me with a personal story after we presented a safety assembly at her school.

Let’s call her Ashley.

Her story contains the 4 simple elements that comprise the “Safety Mindset:

  1. Knowledge of crime as a process
  2. Awareness of our surroundings
  3. Obeying instincts
  4. And always having a sound strategy in place

This is what happened.

On a recent weekend night, Ashely and a friend went to a restaurant.  They rode in the same car, so as to stick to the Buddy System (Strategy).

After they finished their meal and walked back out to the car, they noticed the parking lot was very quiet and dark, and there was a panel van parked verrry close to Ashley’s driver’s side door.

Having knowledge of the relevance of a panel van, and obeying their instincts as to the how uneasy they felt, they went back into the restaurant and used their strategy, which was to ask a waiter to escort them back to their vehicle – which the waiter indeed did.

When the trio returned, the panel van’s engine suddenly roared to life and it peeled out, tires screeching!

Ashley said that before attending the training she would have:

– Not understood the relevance of a panel van.  Many people are abducted by predators in panel vans due to how quickly they can slide the door open, grab someone, close the door, and leave.

– Probably met her friend at the restaurant instead of traveling together as a Buddy Team.

– Not registered the potential danger of the van’s presence, and therefore would not have had any sense that something was wrong.

– Certainly would have not gone back to the restaurant to get help.

It’s all the little things we do – or fail to do – that add up to an event, or quite simply, a non-event.

Knowledge, Awareness, Instincts and Strategy = a very simple but powerful safety formula!

Stay safe.

-Larry Kaminer

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