Your survival depends on your ability to assess the situation. Whether there’s an active shooter in the cinema, a hurricane, a riot, or even a zombie apocalypse, situational awareness can double or even triple your chances of survival. Find out what situational awareness is and why you should learn it!
What is Situational Awareness?
Situational awareness is simply the process of being aware of what is going on around you all the time and having a plan to respond to even the most abnormal possible events. Some people think that being situationally aware means being paranoid, pressed, insecure, or scare, none of which is true.
It is all about assessing your environment for threats so that you can either avoid those threats or control the situation and start stacking things in your favor. This is a principal skill that gives you more chances of survival in case things go bad.
For preppers and survivalists, there isn’t a more important skill than situational awareness. Being able to identify a threat is what drives them to stockpile, learn other skills, and prepare their home. If you can do all these, you put yourself ahead 99% of the public and guarantee your own safety and security.
History of Situational Awareness
Situational awareness was first explored by researchers in studies regarding the successes of American pilots in Korea and Vietnam. When the best dogfighting pilots were asked what they believed contributed to their success, they all had the same answer. According to past experiences and observations, they can expect the move of the pilot they were chasing so they maneuver to a position of advantage by correctly anticipating the enemy’s next move, resulting in their victory.
This led to the development of the Observation, Orient, Decide, Act loop (OODA loop) by John Boyd. It presents a process of how successful decisions are made. Simply put, the original decision making information is obtained during the “observational” phase. Then, the individual “orients” himself to anticipate the next event and start “deciding” the “action”.
You can apply these concepts in situational awareness. It can help you enhance your performance in everything from driving, work, and hobbies to prepping for survival situations!
For instance, if you’re driving, check the internet for street closings. If a street that is supposed to be open is closed for no obvious reason, ask yourself why.
And when you’re hunting, it’s also important to know your wildlife, plants, the habits of your game, and watching out for changes.
Why is Situational Awareness Important?
In the case of an SHTF event, most people are going to panic. But if you’re situationally aware, have expected this situation, and have planned and practiced for it, you have a better chance to survive. You could avoid injuries, panic, wrong decisions, and more. You could protect yourself and your family.
Situational awareness is also important because criminals like targeting those who are not situationally aware. They have thoroughly planned for what they are about to do, and they took the time to select the target that they felt was most vulnerable to an attack. Usually, it’s the guy who is walking around totally oblivious to the world around him!
You might say, it’s okay I know self-defense. We say prevention is better than cure. None of your self-defense skills will mean anything without your awareness of your surroundings.
Can Situational Awareness be Learned?
Yes, you can learn situational awareness but it will take a lot of effort for you to do that. People who innately have good situational awareness naturally “see” things as they are. They notice patterns and create paradigms in their thinking. But if you’re not one of them, it’s never too late to work on it and developing it.
What you need to be situationally aware is a lot of information. Read the news, go on the internet. Educate yourself on different issues. Here are some areas you may want to focus on:
- Survival skills
- Political science
- World and US history