Maintain Situational Awareness Wherever You Go
Besides having a general idea of what you’d do in an active shooter situation, another thing you must do to increase your chances of surviving is constantly maintaining situational awareness.
We’ve written in detail about situational awareness before, so rather than getting into the nitty gritty here, let’s review a few important principles as they apply to shootings:
Stay in condition yellow. Condition Yellow is best described as “relaxed alert.” There’s no specific threat situation, but you have your head up and you’re taking in your surroundings with all your senses. Most people associate situational awareness with just visual stimulation, but you can also learn a lot about a particular scenario from sounds. This is especially true for active shootings. If you hear gunshots — or something that sounds an awful lot like gunshots — that should be a sign that you need to start immediately preparing to take action.
Though your senses are slightly heightened in Condition Yellow, it’s also important to stay relaxed. Staying relaxed ensures that you maintain an open focus, which allows you to take in more information about what’s going on around you. Research shows that when we get nervous or stressed, our attention narrows, causing us to concentrate on just a few things at a time. A narrow focus can therefore cause us to miss important details in our environment.
Bottom line: Don’t have your nose constantly in your smartphone and don’t zone out; rather, you should open your eyes, ears, and nose, and calmly and constantly scan your environment to take in what’s going on…………
While active shootings are increasing, they’re still rare. We shouldn’t be cowered in our homes in fear. But there’s no downside to being prepared. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to survive a shooting; you’re in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and you’re killed without warning. But you may get a chance to act, and will only have seconds to figure out what to do. Your stress will be through the roof and the situation will be utter chaos. If you hope in that moment to be able to protect your life and the lives of others, ready yourself now and have a plan of action wherever you go.