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dog2000tj 04-28-2011 02:24 AM

Situational Awareness
In another thread notdku raised a question about a person not being able to communicate properly with 911 operators. So JD made mention about situational awareness and I was wondering well, just how aware are you?

So here is your chance to perform a little task - describe in detail your immediate environment that you may be in while at home, work or running an errand or whatever.

I'll start with an example - A couple of years ago my sister and I met some cousins in NYC for dinner. While i am out and about in the city I look everyone square in the face, check there hands and take notice of there walk/gate. It's just natural for me to do that. Corners and blind spots - I make wide turns and keep my head square with them. So here's what happens, the sister and I leave dinner and head out west along the north side of the street. There are few cars parked on this side and traffic is moving east so I keep close to the buildings. But after crossing an intersection I notice a drunken bum about 30' - 40' ahead. Fortunately this section of sidewalk was not heavily populated so I was able to maintain visual contact with him. He staggered all over from sidewalk to building, back and again. At about 15' from me I moved off the sidewalk and took a path along the curb, the whole time keeping my vision square with the bum. What does my sister do? She stares at me like I'm on fire and walks right by the bum, only when she passes him by and gets a whiff of his odor does she realize how close he was.

This is what I'm talking about folks - are you aware of what's around you?

cjbubbadoc 04-28-2011 02:43 AM

I only get about 2 to 3% of what's going on, visualy anyways. I get more from what I hear. But most times its the things that don't belong that stand out.

dunerunner 04-28-2011 02:48 AM

As I have grown older, my awarenwss has deminished some. In unfamiliar territory, however my head is on a swivel!! This means I'll get mugged in a place I am familiar with, so no problem with 911! :D

dog2000tj 04-28-2011 02:57 AM


Originally Posted by cjbubbadoc (Post 494683)
I only get about 2 to 3% of what's going on, visualy anyways. I get more from what I hear. But most times its the things that don't belong that stand out.

Exactly what we are talking about here - how do you take in your surrounding environment? ;) Visual is good but hearing can be equally as important. All the sense can be used to your advantage and protection.

Jesse17 04-28-2011 03:01 AM

This is the biggest thing I need to work on. I'm terribly un-observant. I can drive for 10 min. behind a car, it'll turn off and my passenger will say, "That was a weird license pate." I'm like, "Where, I didn't see one?"

That being said, I now make a conscience effort check all the mirrors and look around before getting out of my vehicle, carry stuff in my off hand, and try to anticipate/be aware of walking past corners and vehicles. I 'try' to pay enough attention notice when anyone walks in at work and give them a look over, but am usually too preoccupied with work to notice. :o

wmille01 04-28-2011 03:06 AM

I still notice a lot of details people or places, training just never kicks out no matter what you do. Like they say even the littlest of details can save your life...

jgand72 04-28-2011 04:01 AM

I never noticed if I actually take in my surroundings. I think I do, but I have never really been put to the test. When walking alone, especially at night, I do tend to observe people's demeanor/how they are dressed, and in my head assess if they can be a threat, if I can take them, and what to do if they try to mug me.

pandamonium 04-28-2011 04:49 AM

I work in an airport,how is that for situational awareness overload!!

I have made it a habit to take notice of all persons, where ever I am. I try to take note of facial expressions, nervousness, anger, sweating, body language. I also try to evaluate the threat potential in individuals. I really really don't like when someone is able to come up behind me with me being unaware of them until it would be too late. My ex-wife would get annoyed when, in a restraunt or other public place, I would want to have my back to the wall, facing the entrance if possible. I also like to make note of all exits, windows, fire alarms, where the restroom is.

Being aware of my surroundings has saved me from injury on many occasions. Seeing potential danger when working on baggage conveyors or jet ways or hvac units, or other equipment, has, I believe, saved a couple of my fingers more than once. Point being, it isn't always human threats you should be aware of.

Good thread, lots of stuff to learn here, Thanks Dog!!

doctherock 04-28-2011 05:00 AM

I drive me wife ape sh!t with my situational awareness. I always look for exit points no matter where I go. I always sit facing a crowd with views of the exits. I look at body language and facial expressions and always scan the area I'm in. Even while I'm driving or riding the motorcycle I look for ways out of the situation. I have an out planned for everything in my head. I know the streets in town, places of cover the whole nine yards. I pay attention to everything and everyone. Guess I picked it up in the Middle Eastern sh!thole known as Turkey, Incerlick to be exact.

fireguy 04-28-2011 12:49 PM

I know I can do much better than I do. I try to notice as much around me as possible. My wife knows now that when we are seated at a restaurant that I will take the seat against the wall facing the doors. I think my biggest threat is when we are in a large store parking lot, that is when I go into a higher level of alert.
One time when we were in Ciudad Nogales with my sister, wife and young son my sister asked one of the many young men who take up positions at the street corners watching for opportunities to make a buck where to find a cafe she went to years ago. He offered to lead us there for a few bucks. We then started going down alleys, side streets, and away from the touristy area. I was starting to get suspicious. I pulled my son close and got my wife's attention to stay near. The whole situation looked like we could be getting set up to be rolled. I kept an eye out for anyone else in the area we were passing through or dead ends. I was on edge for the whole 10 minute walk to find the place. It was spetacular when we got there, an old Spanish mission constructed of large stone with a courtyard and cerveza. I had a couple cold ones to mellow out and then enjoyed the place.

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