By Jeremiah Johnson

Never drop your guard…It’s better to face a jury of 7 than to be carried by 6.

The situational awareness will help you to avoid complications.  Be aware of your surroundings, and who is in those surroundings.  My wife and I gassing up her vehicle, and as I pulled up to the pump, there were two young men and a young woman just acting stupidly…right in front of the door to the convenience store/gas station.  My wife was going to go in and pay while I pumped the gas.  I motioned for her to stay put while I both paid for and pumped the gas.

The men were carrying beer and the woman carousing with both while all played the fools.  No matter.  I kept my eye on them and paid for the gas, then came out and pumped it as they moved off (“staggered off” being a better term) across the parking lot.

Situational awareness.  I didn’t have to say anything.  I avoided a situation.  Most of the times avoidance is the best answer.

Move out of the area and away from the potential situation before it escalates.  It will all be forgotten in no time.  It is important in the moment for the threat it potentially poses, however, in the long term it is not even worth the time of day.


Situations accomplish nothing if they’re allowed to escalate: avoid them as much as possible.


7 Tips To Improve Your Situational Awareness

Let’s cover some simple basics that you can use all the time.

  1. As with “Driver’s Education,” Get the big picture: see everything that is happening around you and take in the full view.
  2. Watch what people are doing, and what state they are in: whether they’re mad, inebriated, overly friendly…watch them and pay attention to their actions.
  3. Watch what people have in their hands or on their person (such as a knife strapped to their belt, etc.)
  4. Know where you are. Are you up against the wall as two men are approaching you from two different directions?  Do you have a narrow alley to walk through and a gang of thugs just took notice of you and they’re in motion?  Are you in the back corner of a dimly-lit diner, and in came the Hell’s Angels and they’re staring at you?
  5. Know what your escape routes are. In #4 above, do you have alternate routes to take?  Do the Hell’s Angels know about that small fire exit door beyond the restrooms?  Have a backup route to employ…in all things you do…whether walking, driving, or just sitting having a cup of coffee.
  6. Have a plan in place. If you’re attacked, how will you defend yourself?  Having a plan in place and knowing how you’ll execute that plan…rehearsing it in your mind…this will keep you from being completely unprepared.
  7. Avoid a situation by not allowing it to happen. You can leave the area.  If your bargaining skills/people skills are good, you may be able to talk your way out of it and defuse it before it occurs

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