We are excited to announce the first ever National Situational Awareness Day will be September 26th! This day was approved by the registrar of the National Day Calendar and was submitted for acceptance by Pretty Loaded. Situational Awareness is a skill that everyone can use immediately to improve their personal safety.
Imagine yourself in the following scenario below that highlights the importance of Situational Awareness. This actually happened to a friend of ours:
You are in your driveway washing your car and you happen to look up and see two young men dressed in black with rifles in their hands and they are headed your way. These armed men are only 30 feet away so you have little time to make a decision about how to handle this potentially very dangerous situation.
What’s going through your mind right now?
What would you do?
Please take a few minutes to keep reading. We’ll help you come up with a plan.
So let’s assess the situation and ask yourself questions to help you develop this skill in the above scenario:
- Young men dressed in all black are walking on the sidewalk toward you. *RED FLAG
- Rifles are in their hands! *RED FLAG
- The men are talking with each other and seem to have a relaxed gait even though they are carrying rifles.
- They are not looking directly at you.
Always get out of any area that involves a suspicious person and make sure you find a location where you will be safe. It is better to take the time to think about what is going on after you are away from the possible threat. We will discuss what happened in the real story later on.
What Can You Do TODAY?
Situational Awareness is one of the keys to help you and your loved ones remain safe when confronted by a predator or any general personal safety threat. You have an opportunity RIGHT NOW to build that plan of action.
Pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
Be in a general relaxed state of alertness with no specific focal point. You are not looking for anything or anyone in particular; you simply have your head up and your eyes open. You are difficult to surprise, so therefore, you are difficult to harm.
Look for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Watch people’s eyes, hands and body language.
Look for anything hazardous like a pothole, moving cars, loose boards on a deck, people walking with guns, etc…
Pay attention to 30-50 feet all around you since you will have enough time to move and get away if you need to.
How did this true scenario turn out?
The person was smart enough to run in the house and make sure all the doors were locked and dialed 911. The police came 10 minutes later and the young men were actually playing paintball with paintball guns that looked surprisingly real.
If this event happened to someone that was not paying attention and they looked up at the young men with real rifles a few feet from them it may have ended differently. It’s very important to have time to assess the situation so you can make better decisions. It’s also important to educate your children to not walk around with paintball guns or any toy gun that looks real.
What is Situational Awareness?
Situational awareness is really just another way of being mindful of your surroundings. Developing this skill will make you more present in daily activities, which in turn helps you make better decisions in all aspects of life.
The concept of situational awareness was identified during World War I by Oswald Boelke who realized ‘the importance of gaining an awareness of the enemy before the enemy gained a similar awareness, and devised methods for accomplishing this.’
In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even a few seconds early may keep someone safe by giving them time to act instead of react. The lack of or inadequate situational awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.
Although situational awareness skills seem to be lacking in modern society, our ancestors used these skills to survive. It has been extensively taught for decades to law enforcement and the military, but it is not exclusive to them.
Most safety experts agree that situational awareness is the number one skill to learn for the safety of everyone.
Situational Awareness Day highlights the importance of using situational awareness skills in every day life to stay out of harm’s way. Harm may come in the form of walking in front of a moving car or that of an assailant, both of which can happen from any myriad of distractions which cause one to not be aware of the surroundings and situation.
The date of September 26th was chosen because it is the birthday of Dru Sjodin, one of the inspirations to start Pretty Loaded. To spread awareness of this important day, use #NationalSituationalAwarenessDay on social media platforms. Discuss its importance with those around you. Be human again and pay attention to the people and events happening around you more than you pay attention to modern day distractions. Situational Awareness is celebrated once a year and practiced 365 days a year!
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