Part of the section Self Defense.
(Biased towards the UK’s defenceless citizen world).
WARNING, Long Article.
Stock up on hot drink and biscuits.
So what’s situational awareness (SA) all about today?
On a local level, SA is best described as keeping your eyes open when out and about.
It’s using your common sense to NOT walk, ride, or drive into a hostile situation by carrying out a continuous visual assessment of your surroundings.
OK. Essentially being street smart. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
Only some people travel with their eyes open, looking where they are going BUT NOT SEEING ANYTHING i.e. not paying attention to what is actually going on.
The daily drudge, grind, sleep walking, or however you describe boredom or routine.
It’s wearing and a bit bran numbing isn’t it?
Anyway this is something you can write about all day, listing all the things to look out for, how to dress, act, and interact with others.
ONLY WHY BOTHER?
I use the term “comfort zone” as something people know, accept as normal, and are basically content with. It’s that local knowledge you gain by living where you do.
So does it follow that OUTSIDE of your comfort zone is the first time you need to become wary?
THAT WOULD BE A NO.
You need to start looking round you now LOOKING AND SEEING and not staying in your usual level of awareness, HALF ASLEEP.
So what are you looking for, what are the danger signs?
OK what if I asked you this?
How many horrible road junctions or alleyways exist along your usual walk, ride, or drive?
Is there CCTV, and what is the usual routine of life on a daily basis?
That’s Deliveries, busy days at the post office sort of thing.
At night, is there anywhere you DON’T FEEL SAFE walking, riding, or driving in?
If there is, why? What is spooking you? Who crawls out of their hole at night to frighten you? I submit that if something is wrong at night, quantifiable or not, why can’t it happen during the day?
So now you are LOOKING AT EVERYTHING and asking why?
If you know what is normal, it should help you to pick out the ABNORMAL.
That is if you can stay awake and aware for the duration of your excursion.
Is that it? NO!
Walking round out of hours, on days you are not familiar with, or travelling to strange places doesn’t exactly allow you to build up a picture of NORMAL let alone SAFE.
For example, what if you broke down, got a flat on your bike, or got lost and wandered into the wrong ‘hood. (Reference Post, In Transit)
This is a different Situational Awareness (SA) which needs you to PLAN out your journey.
PLAN? “Oo-er“ which translated into US speak means “darn it or OMG”.
A people are shuddering because that involves them thinking for a change. Not nice.
So what I’m talking about is doing a little sensible research.
- Get a street map!
It also helps you understand what else is out there. The good, the bad.
Relying on your GPS doesn’t always get you from A to B the safest way does it?
Anyway what plans have you if your SAFE route is or gets closed?
- Where is SAFE? A refuge where you can go to and wait for aid.
For example, who’s open 24/7, hospitals, shops, gas stations, etc.
- Where are the gas stations and is your recovery insurance up to date?
- Where can you park that is SAFE? What if that place was closed?
What happens if you are returning to your car at night, will it be a lonely dangerous experience in the dark? Is your usual place the best place to park?
- What street lighting is there “from and to” and does it always work?
- Got a mobile phone, will it work along the whole route?
- Does someone RESPONSIBLE know where you are going, how you are going, what time you are expected there, and when you are due back?
Would they mind you texting them on your arrival and as you depart for home?
What would they do IF you missed a text or couldn’t be contacted by phone?
More importantly, what you WANT them to do?
Yawn, about 30% of people would have moved on about now. Too much like hard work.
After all they have driven to granny’s house, the restaurant, the cinema, swimming pool, every month for years without a problem. Why should anything change?
My answer to that?
Oh look, a victim waiting for somewhere to happen.
Last part is Civil unrest
Get more tea and biscuits!
Yep, I had to get there eventually.
Situational awareness is about looking around, planning, and keeping yourself out of harms way except it’s a dynamic thing.
What was safe two minutes ago might suddenly change because some idiot, or peace-loving religious, terrorist, or ethnic glee club flips!
Thus your planning will need to include a few ‘what if’ scenario’s.
I started with your SAFE route being closed. Your turn!
The disturbing thing for me is how many people are NOT AWARE of public demonstrations or even take heed of warnings issued on the local radio about an incident.
Even more scary is the fools that go out of their way to involve themselves with public protest. Seemingly sensible people who want to go on their first “protest march” only to find themselves in a full on riot. What is it about people who do that? Are they just plain stupid or what? They may find themselves in a situation they have little control over and probably in receipt of incoming riot control both physical and chemical.
So, either by foolishness or by design, you’re in the shit now and you’ve got to be thinking solely about yourself than your “noble cause”.
Once again it’s all about planning. (Ouch, that word again!)
Anyway in 2012 it wrote a bit about [rioting] but a lot of it was written with being prepared in mind. The essence of it was:-
Gather Intelligence any way you can. Media, notices, rumours, it all counts.
Most riots and demonstrations don’t just happen. There is usually a build up to them.
For example racial, financial, or religion are a few issues that come to mind.
Don’t Go to (or even through) areas You Know Are Going To Be Trouble.
Obviously unless you are going to take part in the rally or demonstration, keep away.
If caught outside, move away from areas where people are gathering.
Although you might find yourself caught out by LEO’s and their civil disturbance plans.
A lot of the time the police are at fault here as they may suddenly reroute a demonstration due to a developing situation and you just get caught up.
The UK police are also going to great lengths to get the communications infrastructure turned off at times of crisis. It’s not for your benefit though.
Anyway bear in mind that alone can make you and others panic.
Imagine your family phoning you to warn you or you trying to call them to tell them you are OK and up comes a message saying your network is down.
Watch your footing.
Keep away from walls, fences or barricades, and anywhere where people are bottle-necked.
Avoid public transport, escalators, lifts, and elevated walkways or bridges.
Make yourself VERY aware of the ground or surface you are standing on.
Stay away from barriers, fences, stairs, or walls, in case a crush happens.
Don’t hang onto lamp posts, if the crowd is sweeping you along, walk with it.
YOUR PRIORITY IS TO KEEP YOUR FEET.
Once you are on the ground, your chances of survival have reduced dramatically.
If downed, curl up in a ball and protect your head.
Caught up in Riot
Survey the area and decide on at least 2 emergency exits
Stay on the sidelines and back away slowly. Always stay close to your escape route.
WALK NEVER RUN.
Don’t walk against the crowd, walk in the same direction but follow a diagonal path between pockets of people towards your chosen exit.
Keep moving away from the riot. WAY AWAY!
If you’re caught up in a car, stay calm.
If you can safely drive or back away, do so.
Calmly, no horn, gently, don’t draw attention to yourself.
Be careful not to push through a crowd. It will invoke a reaction.
Don’t drive towards police lines. You might be taken as a threat.
Don’t stop the car though.
Keep doors and windows closed.
If you are forced to stop, put the car between you and the rioters.
Disembark, lock up, and walk away, apparently empty-handed.
As for the car? You can replace that, you can’t replace you.
Had enough? I have.
Time of a final mug of: