Today people are walking through town, looking down at their phones, oblivious to the world around them. This makes a perfect target for an attacker. Situational awareness is something attackers do not like to see – people walking with their heads up aware of the world around them. Those people can see trouble before it has a chance to start and often take steps to avoid an attack.
A 150 pound woman of 5’4” who is aware of everything and everyone around her, may be a less likely target than a man of 5’11” and 185 pounds who is tuned into a YouTube video having no idea that the man next to him is holding a knife. This is the essence of situational awareness and is equally important to a concealed carrier as it is to the general public. Learning the four focus levels of situational awareness can help keep us out of a situation where we are forced to protect ourselves, keeping us safe in less than perfect circumstances.
Focus Level White
The first level of situational awareness is Focus Level White. In this state, the person is completely unaware of the world around them. Most victims fall into this category. They believe nothing bad will ever happen to them and only to other people.
Focus Level Yellow
In Focus Level Yellow, the person is aware of who and what is around them. This is the level people should always be at when in public. It is not about being paranoid. It is about being aware and keeping an eye out for potential threats. People in this level carry themselves with confidence, making eye contact, and scanning a room for possible issues and exits when entering the room. This is a relaxed alert stage of awareness.
Focus Level Orange
Focus Level Orange is the third level of situational awareness. Here a threat has been identified. The person is making a plan on how to react. The person may walk off the line they are traveling, to see if a follower will make that same move. It is time to be mentally aware of how you will react. You are ready to access your method of protection but it remains concealed.
Focus Level Red
The last focus level of situational awareness is Red. It is time for action. You execute your plan. You know to escape, take cover, or engage the threat. It is time to trust your gut. You are better off to avoid a conflict, escape, if possible. If you misread the situation and it was not life-threatening, taking the wrong action can have serious implications.
If you should have to engage the threat at this time, know your rights, and your responsibilities as a CCW owner. If it is possible to use something less than deadly force, you must do so. You may only use enough force to stop the threat. That may be difficult to remember when adrenaline is rushing, but once the threat to your life no longer exists, you must stop engaging. Know the laws in your state, or the state in which you are traveling.
Situational awareness is something that can stop a threat before it happens. At the very least, it can help you identify threats more quickly than others and show you your escape options. Being aware of your surroundings will go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones safe.