Part 1 - Situational Awareness
How often do your days pass in a blur? Do you get to the end of the day and think 'where did that day/time go to?' In the modern world that we live in many of us are used to a fast and chaotic pace of life. But how does this impact our personal safety? With all focus being directed at our busy schedules our situational awareness is eroded thereby potentially putting us in harms way.
“Situational awareness is being aware of what is happening around you in terms of where you are, where you are supposed to be, and whether anyone or anything around you is a threat to your health and safety.”
Awareness is the first vital element in protecting your personal safety. Situational awareness encompasses not only your physical surroundings but also the people and objects that occupy it. Victims of attacks are often targeted because of their lack of awareness.
Whilst it is not practical to be in 'super-spy' mode every day, nor necessary to walk around in a state of paranoia, it is important to be aware. With practised awareness skills you can improve your ability to recognise and avoid a dangerous situation before it escalates. Here are some basic tips for improving situational awareness:
REALLY look at your surroundings. Become more in touch with what you see. Scan your surroundings looking ahead as well as what is in your immediate vicinity. Get used to looking at not only the people but the objects and place around you. Look at the body language of those around you, is someone acting suspiciously, nervously, aggressively?
Trust and listen to your instincts. Your instinct is an incredibly important self defence tool. If something doesn't feel right, then generally, it isn't right! Remove yourself from the situation before anything escalates.
Know where your exit points are wherever you are, i.e. in a building, car, walking down the street etc. Should you have to defend yourself, know where you can withdraw to, such as a shop, police station or the fastest route to more people etc.
Recognise changes in your physical environment. Maybe the street lighting isn't working, or an unfamiliar vehicle is parked in your parking spot.
Train your peripheral vision. This will enable you to scan your environment more effectively by taking in all that is visible to the eye outside the central area of focus.
Put down the electronic distractions. Looking at your phone or listening to music can seriously impair your ability to be aware of what is going on around you.