A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

January 13, 2012

Situational Awareness 101

     My husband has started this little game with me.  Actually, it is more of a test, and I have to admit I have failed it more times than I have passed it.  It is as important a component for my personal safety as my carry weapon.  It's called Situational Awareness.
     Just the other day, after coming home from a week-long business trip, I was returning a rent car, with my husband following me in our vehicle.  I turned the car in, received my receipt from the attendant and began walking towards the parking area where I knew my husband would be waiting for me.  I strolled along, thinking about unpacking our luggage, doing the laundry and all the household chores I knew would be waiting for me when we returned home.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a movement, and then heard him say, "Situational awareness.  You had no idea I was coming at you from behind."
     Of course, I had some lame excuses..... "There were people all around me, I was safe"..... "It was broad daylight, no one would try anything" ..... "I knew you were there".....  Yeah, right!  I did become aware he was at my side, but if he had intended me harm, I would not have had time to react to defend myself.
     Now, I have not always failed so miserably, and have been successful in being aware of his sneak attacks.  But more often than not, I have placed myself in a compromising situation.  What should I/we be doing when we are out in public?  Ask yourself these questions:
     1.  Do you regularly scan your environment for potential danger or threats?
     2.  Do you take note of entrances and exits when in a new location?
     3.  Do you make a point of noticing the people around you?
     4.  Do you check behind yourself while walking?
     5.  Do you avert your eyes when approached by a stranger?
     6.  Do you sharpen your observation skills by taking note of hair color, facial hair, eye color, license plates, etc.?
     7.  Are you often startled by people who are suddenly in your space?
     8.  Do you check the back seat of your car before getting in?
     9.  In the event of an incident of violence at your job or school, do you have an escape plan?
     10. If stopped by a police officer, do you roll your window all the way down to hand over license and registration?
     11. When in a restaurant or crowded public place, do you orient yourself where you can see the main entrance?
     12. When stopped in traffic, do you allow enough space between you and the car in front of you to maneuver out of your lane if need be?
     These are just a few of the questions that will give you an idea if you need to sharpen your Situational Awareness skills.  My #1 advice would be to always be aware of your surroundings.  Play little mental games with yourself, figuring how you would stay safe in any given situation.  For example, when standing in line at the grocery store, ask yourself what you would do if an armed robber burst in the store at that moment.  Or test yourself at a crowded mall -- how aware are you of all the people within your immediate space.  And remember, averting your gaze marks you as easy prey.
     Above all else, listen to your instincts.  If that guy crossing the street towards you gives you the creeps, then avoid him and put as much space between the two of you as you can.  Place yourself in a group of people until he passes by, and don't be afraid to ask for help.  And always make sure your cell phone is charged!
     Just remember that your first line of defense is being aware of what is going on around you at all times.  Create a mindset that you will not be an easy target.  Walk tall and confidently, and be prepared to face a threat head-on.   Remember, Situational Awareness is as powerful a weapon as pepper spray or a Glock 26.  And it can be just as successful in securing your safety.

     2 Timothy 4:5      "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."


  1. Thanks for the great self-quiz questions. I do a similar "observation" game with my kids, but I think I'll up the ante and challenge them a little more. I'll have to get my husband to help out with the awareness too.

  2. I think it's great you're involving your kids! Although they think it's a game, you've just added another layer of protection for them.