Situational Awareness Tips

Even for those who feel pretty confident about their own situational awareness, sometimes it can slip. It’s good practice to engage in purposeful awareness beyond the ordinary ho-hum of life’s activities.

Note that situational awareness is NOT engaging in paranoia. Being paranoid is being nervous or afraid of everything. Situational Awareness is simply a state of mind relative to being alert of one’s surroundings and situations.

Here are some tips and drills for your own situational awareness:


Whenever you enter a building, identify the exits. Plan your exit.

During a panic most people will exit the way they came in, creating a bottleneck.

Most restaurants have an exit in the kitchen.

In a public establishment, sit where you can see the main entrance.

Try not to sit with your back towards the majority.

When parking against a wall or barrier, back in for a quicker exit.

Look around when walking away or towards your vehicle.

Observe others. ‘Oddness’ will stand out.

Attempt to identify those who may be carrying concealed.

If your gut is warning you, pay attention.

Notice those who are themselves looking around, being observant.

Estimate the percentage of people around you who are NOT aware of their surroundings.

In a parking lot, identify vehicles with people inside.

Wear neutral clothes.

Observe others who are dressed outside that environment’s normality.

Listen and identify conversation topics of those nearby.

Facial expressions are often worth a thousand words.

Especially in public, keep your mental focus outward, not inward.

Don’t ‘daydream’ in public.

Amuse yourself by counting human zombies with heads in their smart phones.

Utilize your peripheral vision.

Reflections off windows will reveal what’s going on behind you while walking.

When entering a environment, do a quick scan around you.

Be fully and consciously aware of safety while operating potentially dangerous equipment.

When out and about, walk with purpose, confidence, shoulders back.

Look for aggressive body language.

Look at the hands. Anything there?

Assess the baseline of the environment you’re in.

When there’s a ripple in the force, figure out why…


Add your own tips or drills in the comments section below:

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