for Security Professionals & You
The purpose of any security service is to train their officers to prevent or deter an incident before they manifest. However, when it appears like a threat is developing, it is critical for officers to have good situational awareness. Otherwise, the threat may go unnoticed.
While this is security professionalism 101, and most armed and unarmed officers know this, situational awareness is not solely for the security industry. Many clients who hire security companies to watch their property don’t hire security for themselves.
Therefore, may behoove you to think about developing your own sense of situational awareness. In this blog we will give you the steps to do just that.
I. Minimizing Distractions
This is probably the hardest thing for us to do in these modern times. We are constantly bombarded by screens and other things that draw our attention.
We become so laser focused on entertaining ourselves we lose sight of what is around us. Now, before you get ahead of us, we're not going to tell you to put your phone down and go outside and smell the roses.
Phones and other devices are an integral part of our lives, and yes, they are fun to use.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your eyes off it for a few seconds to make sure you are safe.
A deer foraging in the woods is a great analogy. A deer must ALWAYS be aware of its surroundings and cannot be distracted by what it wants most, predators could be nearby. It splits its attention between what it is doing and checking its surroundings.
... Sometimes that deer will perk its head up and look around for no reason.
Don’t let your phone, or whatever you are doing, distract you from the potential dangers that may surround you. By simply looking up between posts or short vids is a perfect way to deter any potential predators from attacking you.
II. Developing Good Habits
As previously stated, taking your eyes off your phone is a great start but it might not stick unless you get into the habit of doing it often.
There are other ways to train your brain to be aware of its surroundings. Just like when you do that final check as you leave the house: “Do I have everything? My wallet, phone, keys...”
You can do the same thing when you are walking down the street...
“Am I safe?
Is there anyone around me?
Where is the nearest place I can go if I encounter a threat?”
When you ask yourself these questions, you begin to develop habits that improve your situational awareness.
Additionally, by asking these questions your instincts kick in and your brain forces you to look around, even when you are in a safe place. Let’s not mistake this for paranoia, there is a stark difference between being paranoid and being aware.
Being paranoid is believing that everyone is out to get you. Being aware, is checking to see if anyone is out to get you. One instills fear, the other instills safe habits.
III. Understanding YOUR Surroundings
An active threat can come from anywhere at any time. We all know this; it is ingrained into our DNA. Having good situational awareness can help you become more aware of your surroundings.
Over time you may start to see things you were once blind to.
It’s what we call a double take.
You’re walking home at night, and you look at the entrance to a closed drug store across the street. It seems normal at first but then you see a glint in the corner of your eye, and you do a double take.
That’s when you notice a person standing in a shadow with a knife looking at you.
What do you do?
Understandably, you’re on high alert but did you bother to check your surroundings to make sure there wasn’t someone else on your side of the street?
Again, situational awareness doesn’t equal paranoia, though it may seem that way.
As you’re walking take rapid glances around you, even when you’re on your phone for whatever reason. By taking those glances you project to others that you are aware of your surroundings. This can be a great deterrent for people who wish to harm you. You will also take in information and your mind will process those snapshot images.
In them, your brain may alert you to things you weren’t sure of, and you’ll do a double take. After a while this process becomes second nature, and you develop eyes in the back of your head.
You will rarely know when a horrible situation is about to manifest. However, if you develop good situational awareness you won’t need to, because how you’ll react to it will be obvious.