Be Aware to Stay Safe
Have you ever tripped or bumped into something while talking or texting on your phone? How about arriving at a job site without remembering how you got there because you were “zoned out” while driving?
These are dangerous situations that can often be avoided with “situational awareness.”
September 26 is National Situational Awareness Day.
Situational Awareness Defined
Situational awareness is being aware of one’s surroundings and identifying potential hazards and dangerous situations.
Most experts agree that situational awareness is the number one skill to learn for the safety of everyone. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the safer you are.
Situational awareness is more of a mindset than a skill. The primary elements in establishing this mindset are:
- Recognizing that threats or hazards exists. Bad things do happen. Apathy, denial and complacency can be deadly.
- Understanding the need to take responsibility for one’s own safety.
Levels of Awareness
People typically operate on five distinct levels of awareness:
Level 1: Tuned Out – ex. zoning out while driving.
Level 2: Relaxed Awareness – ex. driving and aware of your surroundings.
Level 3: Focused Awareness – ex. driving in hazardous road conditions.
Level 4: High Alert – ex. reacting to a car pulling out in front of you; you’re surprised, but you break and avoid a crash.
Level 5: Comatose – ex. “freezing up” in a dangerous situation.
Strive for Relaxed Awareness
When you are in an area where there is potential danger (which, in reality, is almost anywhere), you should be in a state of relaxed awareness.
A good way to start is to stay off electronics when they are not necessary – at the park, in the car, and on the job. Then, if you spot something out of the ordinary that could be a threat or hazard, you can “dial up” to a state of focused awareness, analyze the situation, and take action if needed.
Pay attention to the people and events happening around you every day to keep everyone safe.