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Situational Awareness

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Myrtue Medical Center

Situational Awareness is an important skill set to use to maintain your safety. It not only allows you to avoid stereotypical dangerous situations (such as muggers), but also every day circumstances, such as an icy sidewalk or distracted driver. It is the ability to take in information about the people around you, your surroundings, your responses to the people around you, and interpret and act on that information.

  1. Put your phone away when you are walking. This allows you to notice and respond to your environment. Does the sidewalk have slick areas? Does the oncoming driver acknowledge you as you enter a crosswalk? Remember that multitasking limits your ability to focus on one given task.
  2. Do not wear headphones. Headphones distract you from the sounds of your environment. You may not notice the honking of a horn, or call of a nearby person.
  3. Scan your environment. Pay attention to obstacles you may encounter, emergency exits you may need; notice suspicious objects, such as an unattended backpack. Notice things that are out of the ordinary in a familiar environment.
  4. Use your peripheral vision to monitor a wider space than the object of your focus.
  5. Maintain your personal space. If someone is close enough to make you feel unsafe, move away from them; five to six feet gives you time to react if needed.
  6. Trust your instinct if someone “sets off your alarms.” This person may be giving of subtle cues that you are not consciously noticing. Pay attention to body language to help you assess your situation.