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Situational Awareness for Youth/Teens

Situational awareness is the act of being observant and vigilant in one's environment. It is the subtle skill of recognizing commonalities within your environment, as well as detecting things that do not fit, or shouldn't be there. today we will be observing four key components in developing and maintaining Situational awareness.

Step 1. Movement.

Develop routes of travel to and from your environment. Understand during your movements from one domain to another domain, you are most vulnerable to be encountered as you are guaranteed to be at that location. I say domain instead of location. Location being the environment you are in. Domains being specific places you are guaranteed to be found in.

For example, some places one may guarantee to find you during the week are directly correlated to your schedule. The more habitual the pattern the easier it is to plan an encounter so for example if you are walking to and from school it is important to not only understand your primary route of travel but also understand an alternate route as well as a contingency/emergency place of rest in the event one does not feel safe to return to their home. This allows you to randomize our time, and distance to and from your domains.

Step 2. Develop a Baseline and Detect Anomalies.

A baseline is a set of commonalities in your environment. What belongs in your environment at that specific time. Understanding what belongs in your environment allows for you to notice what does not belong in your environment. These outliers are called anomalies. It is in observing these anomalies which influence our decisions and actions in a situation.

For example, when at school what are some things, you should see or notice that should be there? Students, teachers, classrooms, and depending on the time of day- Students playing or walking to and from the school. Understanding the daily functions of the environment you are in allow you to be more cautious when anomalies appear.

Step 3: Have a Plan

Many times when crisis visits, we are seldom prepared to deal with the event. In times of crisis we only know what we are able to recall under stress which for many isn't much. Knowing this, planning for the worst is always the best option. The worst being defined as the most probable and most impactful vs. a person's worst fear. Fear is not always rational, so it is imperative one creates an action plan to deal with the most probable and most impactful crisis. A good way to determine this is to understand what crisis, negative event, occur commonly in your environment. Are there fights, muggings, or more serious crimes such as abductions. It is important to understand the Baseline of criminal opportunity within the environment you are traveling to and from. When do crimes happen? What kind of crimes occur? Will you make a cheat sheet for your loved ones? A cheat sheet defined as a life of numbers and even locations one can go that are already known to be safe in a time of crisis. Understanding some of these answers as it pertains to your environment able you to properly plan for what is most likely to occur. Also understand the legal measures in which you are allowed to act during a time of crisis as well as the possible repercussions of your actions.

Step 4. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Rehearsal of the plan previously made.

Make sure everyone involved in the plan understands their role and function as well as accounting for other liabilities such as elderly or young children. Who goes where? Who does what? For how long? What relieves the plan? Who calls the authorities? Designated Safe Location? These are a few questions one might ask in order to be successful and maintain the overall safety during the event of a crisis.

So let's review:

Step 1. Movement. Secure your routes.

Step 2. Understand your Environment and Vulnerabilities

Step 3. Create a plan.

Step 4. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Be Kind, Stay Deadly

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