Personal Safety & Awareness

in Security

Maintaining awareness of your surroundings at all times is paramount in securing your person.

In the military we have a standard procedure used in any potential altercation: We OODA. We are taught to observe, orient ourselves, decide, and then act.

The observation portion is harder than it appears at first because modern technology has lulled us into a sense of being linked together. Of particular concern are people who walk routine routes to work or shopping, to exercise, or other daily activity. We cannot stress this enough. Observe.

Keep your wits about you, head up, paying attention to your surroundings at all times.

If you find yourself in a position where you might have to react in defense, orient yourself. Note your surroundings and use them to mask your body, evade capture, or escape. I know this sounds ominous and it is meant to shock you. Rapists, muggers, and murderers who are looking for victims are deadly serious, and you need to be ready to react, however possible.

If you think about these color-coded conditions that we use to rate threats, it will help you think about your stage of engagement:

White – Head in the clouds everything is great, you are not paying attention to anything. You can be rear ended while driving, mugged on the street in broad daylight, etc.

Yellow – This should be your standard stage, when you walk around in condition yellow, you are aware of your surroundings. You keep in mind, how does what lay ahead, to the side or behind affect you or how could it?

Amber – Once you have identified a threat, you note unusual behavior, body language, cursing, ranting, a weapon held in hand, you orient toward it, and you start preparing. If you are incapable of defending yourself physically and you have paid attention to your surroundings this is when you are rapidly plan an escape route. Do not just be focused on moving ahead. Sometimes, withdrawing is far more effective.

If you are driving, getting to a fast food parking lot, or other well-lit location with a crowd can save you from physical danger. Criminals try to isolate victims, so they don’t have to worry about themselves being attacked during commission of a crime.

Red – You are actively engaging the threat. If you have not been able to escape, you must commit to fighting the criminal. The goal is to disable the person long enough to then escape. If you are armed and cannot withdraw you can act in self-defense.

Remember these important points:

  1. Do not text or use your phone while you are in transit. Keep your senses clear for monitoring your surroundings. Is the phone call that important? Are you in a completely safe location?
  2. Know where you are going. Look at the people around you and how they are acting. Try to walk or travel with others, but if you must go somewhere alone, watch the people around you. Stay focused, get to your destination. Do not be distracted by someone calling to you on the street. That may be a ploy.
  3. Have a plan if anything should happen. Play the what if game. What if the person who just started following me is an attacked, where should I go?
  4. No destination is that important. If you arrive at an appointment, go shopping, out to a restaurant or the theatre, and something doesn’t look or feel right, leave immediately. Trust your instincts. Better to lose a few dollars for tickets than end up in the hospital or worse.
  5. If you see a large crowd gathering for seemingly no reason, go the opposite direction and leave. Riots generally have a pattern. For example, if you paid attention to the news and a police shooting has occurred nearby that day, chances are there will be a reaction.

Treat suspicious activity as a signal that something is wrong. Do not wait until you are a target to extricate yourself. You are your best first line of defense, so stay aware.

Derecho Investigations can educate your family or co-workers on how to be more personally secure. Call us to arrange a class for your family or workplace: (910) 849-6719.

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