Situational Awareness: 4 Tips for Improving your Safety

Situational Awareness: 4 Tips for Improving your Safety

May 5, 2021

Situational awareness is a crucial part of health and safety while you are at work, home, or elsewhere. By learning the principles of situational awareness, spotting dangers and equipping yourself with the necessary physical and mental tools and techniques, you can keep yourself safe and reduce the emotional impact of worst-case scenarios. You’re also increasing your chances of detecting, reacting to and responding to potential threats before they happen. 

Structured situational awareness training can help you remain safer; the real talent is training yourself to quickly and decisively assess and understand the risks at different distances, including your peripheral vision.

Managing and Mitigating Risks

Good awareness management involves consistently assessing dynamic risk situations using the ‘People, Object and Place’ (POP) framework for any current (or future) risks or hazards, based on your current environment.

While you may look at your surroundings and believe the risk level is low, what factors may you need to consider in the imminent future? What could potentially disrupt the situation to create risk or threat?

We are human beings; ergo, there is always a risk of error. The threat usually lies with one or more people in your immediate vicinity, and people can be the root cause of many dangers or hazards, depending on your environment.

Without the ability to anticipate, you’ll reduce your competence at evaluating or analysing environmental changes and situations. As the threat of people increases, you will not know what to avoid.

At Advanced Tactical Resources, we train people on anything from urban and rural benign situational awareness to hostile environment awareness courses. We are dedicated and committed to helping our delegates attain maximum safety throughout their daily walks of life. Still, we always teach them how to understand self-awareness and the relevant risks in their immediate environment. It’s integral to understand this to increase situational awareness.

Understanding Situational Awareness

By definition, situational awareness refers to having a complete understanding of what is around you at any given moment. The reality is that situational awareness in safety needs to include so much more than this arbitrary definition.

How many times have you heard of incidents that have happened because the victim “wasn’t aware of” or “had failed to notice” something? We are always prone to errors as humans, but we can make it easier for ourselves, with the help of some structured thought processes and actions. 

With training, we can increase our awareness levels to about 84% prepared, as opposed to the 54% we can usually obtain without structured training. If you don’t train, you could be missing many threats.

It’s more than simply being versed in the art of self-defence, or teaching yourself close protection techniques. You may well know how to administer first aid to anyone who has suffered a severe injury or accident, but assessing threatening situations ahead of any risks or threats developing is a skill that anyone can improve. It boils down to some simple steps:

  1. Perception of your environment (and its elements)
  2. Comprehension of the situation’s current landscape
  3. Anticipation and prediction of future developments

Understanding real-time situational awareness will only get you so far; you need to demonstrate the ability to communicate and act effectively in an emergency.

There are numerous ways you can enhance your situational awareness, and to help you start considering your surroundings, the team at Advanced Tactical Resources have outlined a handful of them.

How to Improve your Situational Awareness

Assess risks from all angles

Learning to look at your surroundings with complete peripheral vision, beyond your own, is a critical factor in successful situational awareness. Look at what other people may be seeing. How does it differ from what you see? Have they considered their surroundings?

Consider the absence of the normal

Usually, your gut instinct is a reliable and efficient indicator of something feeling wrong or unsettling. We do have cognitive biases, which we need to consider in our everyday situational awareness. However, to make logical decisions, you need to look at the absence of things that feel normal.

Chinese woman in London wearing anti coronavirus face mask while on essential travel during lockdown - health and lifestyle concepts

Spot the presence of the abnormal

Situational awareness strategies rely on people to communicate effectively with others so that everyone is as aware of possible risks and threats as possible.

Communicate with others

Conversely, following point 2, the presence of the abnormal is what triggers the unsettling feelings that we occasionally have. This could be due to anything from threatening behaviours to piercing sounds. In other words, anything that doesn’t fit into the scope of what’s ‘normal’ in our situational awareness at a particular time.

Situational Awareness Courses

If all of the above feels overwhelming, don’t worry. You can learn situational awareness properly from CPD-accredited training providers like Advanced Tactical Resources. It’s worth investing in training as it can be instrumental in saving lives. Get in touch with us to find out more.