Situational Awareness

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by dog2000tj, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    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?
     
  2. cjbubbadoc

    cjbubbadoc New Member

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    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.
     

  3. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

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    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
     
  4. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    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.
     
  5. Jesse17

    Jesse17 New Member

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    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. :eek:
     
  6. wmille01

    wmille01 New Member

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    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...
     
  7. jgand72

    jgand72 New Member

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    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.
     
  8. pandamonium

    pandamonium New Member

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    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!!
     
  9. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    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.
     
  10. fireguy

    fireguy New Member

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    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.
     
  11. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

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    Typically I am fairly aware of my surroundings and what is going on in them. This depends on circumstances though. If I am clearly in a sketchy area/situation my awareness is peaked. I am definitely guilty of be too relaxed at times when there is no perceived threat. Something to work on for sure as things are not always what they seem.

    Good thread. Food for thought.
     
  12. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    This is a good discussion because we are showing the need for awareness in more than just dangerous encounters - work, everyday errands, going out to dinner.

    A couple of the things that stick with me is knowing where exits are and emergency equipment is in buildings. This is due from all the years of working in construction, I had to know where these things needed to go. So anytime I'm out I instinctively locate them when I am looking around. :eek:

    Another little tid bit - most businesses have fire alarms with an emergency button that dials out to 911. These alarms are located by the main entrance per code requirements. You've probably seen them, a large black or red box, lots of buttons and lights. The smaller red keypads are annunciators, which are tied into the Fire Alarm's controls. In an emergency direct action may not be prudent or even possible. But a press of the emergency button gets an automatic response.

    Keep the info coming boys and girls, someday one of these ideas may save your life ;)
     
  13. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    This is a great thread! A close cousin to situational awareness is normalcy bias. People get used to their routine and assume (sometimes very wrongly) that nothing is out of place. The worst examples of it are usually when people are looking very bad news square in the face and pretend not to see it; to acknowledge danger exists is really difficult for many people. The Holocaust is the most noteworthy example. Jews in Germany refused to believe what was happening until after they were naked, 20 pounds underweight and heading to the gas chambers.

    Learning to be situationally aware can help overcome normalcy bias for short term immediate events (like walking down the street and noticing a shady character you should avoid) as well as for bigger events that may take years to coalesce into something really nasty.
     
  14. bizy

    bizy New Member

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    Me To...

    I do the same thing no matter where I am. Make wide turns, watch everyone walking and notice where they are looking, making sure their path will not come too close. Who is in the checkout line behind me.
    Amoung strangers, (like at walmart, busy sidewalk) I make sure I have enough distance for a reaction time. Keep one hand in my pocket and one free hand.

    No matter how paranoid/vigilant I am, I know I am still prey to some.
     
  15. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    Situational awareness is exactly like fine muscle memory..... If you don't use it, you lose it. Folks need to become proficient with it, then it just "happens". Unfortunately most of the folks that are very aware, are that way due to an experience that they or a family member has been exposed to.
     
  16. MGH

    MGH New Member

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    And since the big bad OBL is roasting in hell I feel like we need to be even more vigilant. A Mumbai type attack is a definite possibility now.

    Working on a college campus I feel like I'll need to be even more aware now. I'm thinking about keeping my .223 in the trunk of my personal car so I can act if something happens. (It's a private college so no weapons allowed, not even for security.):mad:
     
  17. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Situation- it is Oh Dark Thirty- you are coming home from a late shift/ trip/ assignation with the entire Swedish Bikini Team- and you really want a cup of coffee and a donut, so you pull into the local mini-mart. Before unlocking your door (they SHOULD be locked in the first place) and stepping out- what are you doing?

    Answer- looking INSIDE any other cars pulled at there- ESPECIALLY if you can see exhaust. (potential getaway car there) and looking AT any people around the outside of the store.

    Having alighted from your coach, what do you look for BEFORE opening the door to the store?

    Answer- the clerk. Yes, clerk may be over at the cooler changing the expiration dates on dairy products, making coffee, etc- but if not readily visible, give it a minute. Clerk could ALSO be in the back room with a stickup artist, and you are about to walk INTO a robbery.

    Coming out, donut and coffee. Where are your keys, and what is in the hand you would use to draw a firearm?

    Answer- Keys in my left hand, also holding donut. When I get to car, donut in teeth, left hand pushes unlock button. If a zombie suddenly steps into your path, and demands your brains, watch, wallet, offering him a donut does not make much of an impression, but a cup of hot coffee in the face clears your hand to draw, and also slows him down. Donuts only speed them up.

    When you close the car door, tap the LOCK button, so that while you are fumbling, cursing the engineer that put the ignition key slot in a hard to see space, your doors are already locked.
     
  18. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    And a note to MGH, and anyone that teaches (or has friends/ family that teach)- Hit the local dollar store. They sell rubber door stops. Pack of 2 for a dollar. Put a pack in your desk.

    Most classrooms have doors that open IN. If you are IN a classroom, and there is a shooter OUT there somewhere, grab a door stopper, kick it in the bottom edge close to the knob side, get away from the door. Even if someone tries shooting out the knob and latch, it should still hold.

    MUCH better than trying to hold a door against someone trying to push it in. And if you never need them, you're out of a buck.
     
  19. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    That is an excellent tip, thanks c3 ;)
     
  20. MGH

    MGH New Member

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    Thats an awesome idea. I've got an old door stop in my cargo pocket right now.:)

    If something happens I can grab as many students I can and hold up in a small classroom near by.

    again, thanks for the suggestion.