How do you increase your situational awareness?

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by dtwn92 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:53 pm

Great thread with lots of solid responses.

Growing up where I did, I learned two things; to talk my way out of a situation that would end poorly if I didn't communicate correctly and how to be aware enough most of the time to not have to get in a place where I had to talk my way out of the poorly ended situation. Those that didn't learn those 2 things found out the hard way to get better at those things. In other words,I didn't have to go looking for trouble and I knew how to be a salesman prior to getting out of grade school.

So, yes you can learn it. Some are better than others but if you don't use it all the time it goes, that is why the suggestions around here have been great.

Look, don't see. Handle yourself with confidence and anticipate what others are doing around you.
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by vahtryn » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:39 pm

I find my degree in audio engineering helps quite a bit. I tend to be somewhat aloof when talking to people because my ears pick up so much. I don't have to look at someone to hear what they're saying and am quite good at interpreting tonality. This comes in extremely handy when out in the woods as I can pick up random sounds most people tend to ignore and pinpoint where they're coming from.

I also have quite good night vision due to being a night owl for so long me thinks. I tend to be very comfortable with very little light no matter where I'm at. This tends to help as I wake up stupidly early and helps me not wake others up.

Using my eyes and ears constantly tends to keep my surroundings at least known to me for the most part. I say work on those two senses the most.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by buck85 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:58 pm

I picked theses up from some where.

There is 3 levels of threat;
green -all clear all calm
Yellow -situation warrants a higher level of attention /people mayhem potential possible
red -situational chaos along with potentially aggressive people

Think like a hunter; If I was hunting a victim what would I do and how would I do it?
Think like a victim; If I am in this situation what could i do/avoid or prepare.

Move with diligence,act with confidence, plan for alternatives,abort when things are in question

When I am interacting with people off my property, I travel on yellow.
As I come onto or leave my property,I try to take a moment to look at the cars to see if any one could be patterning me

I like watching a crowd of people. It much like watching a yard full of chickens The random ordered disorder of a group interacting has a natural rhythm. Learn to 'see' a group as a whole and them you are able to pick out the hunters hunting.
If you know who you are, you can, then know other people.

If you have faith, chaos will turn into order.

Let them hate...So long as they fear!

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by buck85 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:07 pm

vahtryn wrote:I find my degree in audio engineering helps quite a bit. I tend to be somewhat aloof when talking to people because my ears pick up so much. I don't have to look at someone to hear what they're saying and am quite good at interpreting tonality. This comes in extremely handy when out in the woods as I can pick up random sounds most people tend to ignore and pinpoint where they're coming from.
I also have quite good night vision due to being a night owl for so long me thinks. I tend to be very comfortable with very little light no matter where I'm at. This tends to help as I wake up stupidly early and helps me not wake others up.
Using my eyes and ears constantly tends to keep my surroundings at least known to me for the most part. I say work on those two senses the most.

I live out in the woods (and also work nights). I find for me it seems like I focus on sounds that are at a distances.My wife has complained at times when we are sitting at the dinner table that I am not listening and yet when I am in front of the TV in the living room and she is in the kitchen and my name is mention ,I immediately respond.
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by angelofwar » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:10 pm

This may sound a bit silly, but play every game of Splinter Cell you can get your hands on. I'm serious. My SA increased 20 fold. I started "paying attention to" cameras, exits, motion sensors, etc., etc. But that's just my "locality" SA. To improve your defensive/immediate surrounding SA, take up sparring...or just have some one slap-box with you 5 minutes a day several days a week. My dad always "boxed" with me when I was a kid, and I immediately had 3' SA. I was blocking/striking back at things I shouldn't have, but, it gave me AWESOME" SA. My dad would come up to me, and throw some soft jabs at my stomach...I'd say "Stop-it...it hurts" (It didn't really hurt, more of an annoyance). His response? "quit talking and keep yer guard up". Not that I could ever take my dad in a sparring match, but after a few of those, I was much better able to predict incoming hits based off body posture, etc. And it works. A co-worker jokingly lunged at me one time, and I accidentally gave him a 5 knuckle-introduction...we laughed it off, but I felt good about my reflexes/SA.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by buck85 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:05 pm

and the number one answer is, break your routine !!!!
If you know who you are, you can, then know other people.

If you have faith, chaos will turn into order.

Let them hate...So long as they fear!

In the absence of light darkness will prevail

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by triggerhappy2006 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:05 pm

Learn to be inquisitive. Question everything. Pay attention to the little things(god I hate that saying).

Why is the telephone guy doing service on a Sunday?
What is the schedule of the meter reader?
Why does the UPS driver occasionally switch to a UHaul Truck or other rental vehicle.
How busy is the place I get my coffee every morning? What factors would make it not busy.
What are the constants in your area? Is there always a crossing guard in front of the school at a certain time?

A lot of these seem insignificant but if you can train yourself to subconsciously look for these things then you will start finding other things to notice; road construction vehicle on a newly paved road (Blocking a speed trap), 2013 Charger with a Rag out the window signalling its broken down(what are the chances a 2013 Dodge is broken down vs it being a cop).

Read the police blotter, listen to a scanner AT HOME (some locales it is illegal or frowned upon to drive around with one), establish "norms" for your area. How many cops are usually on duty on any given night, what are their patrol routes, what about the local EMS, are there always kids out playing or not out playing (children are naturally more inquisitive and notice things better than adults because they have less on their minds).

Increase your cultural knowledge capacity, do you have a high Puerto Rican community in your area? Learn their holidays, it will help with traffic when there is a parade or something. Where are the Mosque's, Temples, Churches and other religious places of worship? (Religion is trigger of conflict, any events in the world can trigger riots, demonstrations or protests that you will want to avoid) If you have a higher concentration of one religion in your area than another, learn about that religion's history, its practices and its holidays, and customs. (Help you in not being offensive during a tense event and triggering a larger event and give you insight on when to avoid area's.)

Learn the Demographics in your area, who supports gun rights? Who is pro gun control? Who is big into off roading? Who is a nosybody? Where do the local politicians live? Where are the gated communities? What are the various routes to the supermarkets and gas stations? Where are the choke points (bridges, tunnels, roads with no shoulders and no way to turnaround)? Where does traffic build up during rush hour(probably around said choke points)?

Think like a criminal, police officer, and foreign invader all at the same time, each one is going to have different things they are targeting. Thinking like a criminal will allow you to see the weaknesses in security and area's where police sit and how you could get caught. Thinking like a police officer is going to allow you to start to "profile" everything around you (a lot of burn out marks in a parking lot or on a road? chances are street racers or kids meet up there with cars). Thinking like a foreign invader will allow to see exploitable choke points from a strategic stand point ( is there one road that easily connects your town to the next town or gives you access to a highway? Is there a military strategic target nearby, IE large airport, straight wide road way, military installation, mountain peak with communications towers, power plants) Obviously all towns have these but to what extent to they affect the surrounding area. Will crashing your powerplant shut down a portion of the grid? Is there a large cellular node near you? Water supply for a large city (NYC reservoir system).

Just some things I think about.....having Situational awareness treads a fine line with paranoia, paranoia would be the inability to function with normal life due to using situational awareness to justify irrational fears. Good Situation awareness is knowing that the George Washington bridge you drive over every day is a choke point but because you are not a world class spy or enemy of the US, you really don't have a reason to be concerned with it. Prioritize your fears by rationality, that old poorly maintained bridge that you drive over a small stream every day to save 3 minutes and is a 25mph zone and everyone does 65, that would be some thing worth avoiding, the chance of police sitting there and the chance of the bridge falling out are far more realistic than a strange uhaul truck pulling up to your neighbors house being a FBI spy truck because you have 3 shotguns and a pistol, but they both teach the same thing. Now if you have an arsenal of illegal machine guns and cut cocaine in your basement but always drive the speed limit......worry more about the strange uhaul truck...

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by triggerhappy2006 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:30 pm

triggerhappy2006 wrote: Increase your cultural knowledge capacity, do you have a high Puerto Rican community in your area? Learn their holidays, it will help with traffic when there is a parade or something.
Just to clarify. I choose Puerto Rican holidays specifically because they are one of the largest public gatherings I have seen that surprise people, yes Memorial Day parades are also cumbersome on traffic however more people expect that than they do Puerto Rican Holidays. Memorial Day is on the radio for weeks, there are always commercials about traffic, and usually set up ahead of time. Most non-Puerto Rican's don't really notice Puerto Rican pride parades until they are stuck in traffic. I didn't want that to be interpreted as racist. Same goes with Muslims, its not that Muslims are more devoted to their beliefs than other religions or that they are more likely to react violently when offended, but a confrontation about Islam between a Muslim and someone uneducated or unexposed to Islam is more likely to escalate. Also Christianity accounts for 75% of the US demographically, therefor more people are going to be familiar with their beliefs/customs and less with Islamic ones, thus they will be more fearful of the Islamic ones. (and there is already a lot of irrational fear of Islam anyway)

My point being, look for the most common but least understood group in your area, learn to understand them, and for that matter learn about the various sects of the most common religions and your specific communities practices.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by Whackpack7 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:45 am

Typed a post to this about a week or so ago but I lost it and was too disgruntled to try until now since I am avoiding work... So situational awareness or SA has always been a challenge of sorts for me. It's not something you can really teach. Simple concept, but like many things it takes a decent amount of practice to get decent at. After a few times of being surprised by things that I have should have noticed coming (nothing bad, just a few times where I was like "why didn't I notice that") I decided to work on SA.

1) I hopped on the interwebz and talked to a few of my friends that work as LEOs and some of the guys in my company who have been downrange. Asked them what they look for and how they get better with their SA. The first is, as everyone knows, to keep your head on a swivel. Not giving yourself whiplash, but slow your roll and pay attention to your surroundings. Especially paying attention to things that seem out of place. For my friends down range it was vehicles riding real low (possible IED on board) or someone paying pretty close attention to them and talking constantly on a cell phone (the Americans are at the intersection of...). For my LEO friends, things like having the jitters, looking around too much, or dressing/acting out of place. Maybe like wearing a jacket in really warm weather or having a duffel bag/large backpack in some place you usually wouldn't such as a restaurant.

2) Unplug yourself...right now. This would have been harder for me, but I can't walk and text/talk while in my ACUs. Army no no. But, I adapted it to when I'm in civvies too. Never, ever have yourself talking on the phone, texting, or listening to music when you are walking. Ever. This destroys your SA. Destroys it. You are too busy following the conversation or the beat of the music when talking or listening to music. When you are texting or reading emails, your focus is on the wrong thing. Forget an active shooter, you have a pretty high chance of walking out in front of a car. As a majority of people on my campus. It also makes you look like a soft target. You gonna pick on the person who is alert and paying attention? Or are you going to pick on the person oblivious to what is going on around them? Exactly/

3) Practice things. Got my prepper friends on board and we rehearse. It's so easy to do because you can always practice it and not look weird. When we get into a new place (classroom, building, movie theatre), we ask one another "okay no looking around, where are our closest exits? Fire alarms? Windows?" things like that. If we maybe talk to a person or a person walks past us "hey dude what was that guy wearing? Hair color? Shoes?" And you can do it by yourself too.

4) Pay attention to little things. Once you get better you can start to look for things like a slight buldge on someones back or their shirt not falling correclt and uniformly (CCW), perhaps hands in pocket (could be holding weapon...or just cold hands :wink: ) I find someone with hands in their pockets slightly more threatening than someone with exposed hands. I can see they are empty so I know they aren't holding a weapon.

5) In any room or building where you have to sit, stand, or wait, face your entrance/exit area. Don't put your back to a door. If you face towards it, you can see who or what is coming in and not be surprised. This puts you in a more offensive position. Say a shooter does come in, you can see them quicker, maybe flip your table for some concealment draw your CCW and return fire. Not action movie stuff here people. And if I do ever stop to take a call or text, I like to position myself so I don't have to watch my back as I am stopped and using my cellular device.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by kir » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:26 pm

Lots of good ideas in this thread already. I personally find the little games you can play to be the best mindset-trainer for me.

I found the following to be a good article that I re-read every so often to remind me of what I'm working on.

Stratfor: A Practical Guide to Situational Awareness
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/practica ... -awareness
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by dogbane » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:57 pm

Whackpack7 wrote:2) Unplug yourself...right now.
^this^

Absorbed device users oblivious to danger
A man standing on a crowded Muni train pulls out a .45-caliber pistol. He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away—but none reacts. Their eyes, focused on smartphones and tablets, don't lift until the gunman fires a bullet into the back of a San Francisco State student getting off the train.
The advice from police is simple - pull out cell phones less, pay attention more. It's a mantra San Francisco State police officers have been spreading around campus since the Sept. 23 shooting, said student Jordan Sanchez, 17.

Sanchez spoke as he waited for a Muni train, after pausing to look up from his phone. Like many passengers around him, he said he didn't think the way he used the device in public put him in danger.

"When you're bored and there's nothing to do, you go on your phone," he said.
I never get bored keeping an eye on people in mass transit and crowd situations. I feel as if my life may depend on it.
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:58 pm

Everyone harps on the cell users, but all the leaders (team/squad/etc) in the military and all the police I see are using radios. Sure, walking while reading the latest threads on ZS is gonna slow you up, but talking on the phone shouldn't mean you're oblivious. Hell, even having your phone out and texting doesn't mean you can't look around every few seconds.
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by buck85 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:44 am

Yesterday my daughter and i walked in to mcdomalds .Waiting with here back toward the dining area, I asked 'How many people were sitting down in the restaurant,was closer to ten people or twenty'? With out hesitation she said thirteen. Damn, she was not only dead on correct, but with only a 10 to 15 second walk through the door to waiting in line. I was truly impressed(and told her so!!!!).That's my girl!
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If you have faith, chaos will turn into order.

Let them hate...So long as they fear!

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by LJ126 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:25 pm

NECROTHREADZ! Yeah, I'm doing it. I've got what I feel to be an important enough contribution to make said faux pas one that is valid.

Here's my thoughts on the topic. I've tried to keep it organized and logical, but obviously we can't cover everything. And yes, I've pointed out some painfully obvious stuff, but people seem to miss that stuff pretty often.


PART I: The Physical Self: Our Marvelous Containers

First, we must be able to OBSERVE our environs efficiently and effectively. How do we do this? Eyesight and hearing; to a lesser degree, smell. Those who are gifted in these senses are at a significant advantage to those who are not. How do we improve/preserve these senses?

-- Corrective technology/medicine. *Prescription lenses, contacts, surgery, and **hearing aide technology can go a long way in improving your most basic survival tools.
-- Appropriate use of PPE. Sunglasses, safety glasses, hearing protection, etc.
-- Quit smoking. Smoke negatively affects both eyesight and smell, damaging them significantly over time. Untreated high blood pressure can negatively affect both eyesight and hearing. Additional advantage to quitting smoking, is that you leave a smaller "scent footprint" for others to observe.
-- Healthy lifestyle. Appropriate diet, sleep and exercise go a long way, people! Quit smoking, drinking, and abusing illicit pharmacology. Talk to your doctor and get on meds to control your ailments, if they're an issue. Sleep is an often ignored lifestyle decision, but make sure you're getting enough quality sleep.

*If you choose to wear glasses, choose functional over fashionable. Larger, round lenses may make you look like a '80's serial killer but they're more practical. Additionally, care for your lenses using quality products and protect them when they're not being worn.

**To touch on the auditory corrective measures, bear in mind that we're not talking about scoring a date with that hot guy/gal you've been stalking interested in meeting. We're talking survival (aren't we?) Hearing aides at a younger age might seem like a major bummer to you. However, if you want to dial in to your environment most excellently, you may need help. Use the help.

PART II: A Mental Nod

FACT: Some people are naturally more alert and dialed into their environment than others, even while focusing on a task or engaging in bad habits (discussed below.) You can observe this in children and adults; some are not easily startled and are harder to sneak up on, while others are totally oblivious to their surroundings and those within them. The sum total of one's life experiences can dramatically influence your level of awareness to the outside world. Some people just have it, and others are just airheads, and it's out of their control.

Part II.5: Limiting Bad Habits
Many people have adopted habits that inhibit their awareness. Ever seen that person who's got their head buried into a game of Candy Crush, playing their game and animatedly interacting with it? Or the person who's chatting away with a friend with the flow of activity taking place behind them. They're probably not paying attention to that which is going on around them. These are bad habits. Everyone has them, and unless treated that they can reduce your awareness considerably.

Do you have any bad habits that reduce your level of awareness? If so, what are they? Can you do anything to improve upon them? Try to think outside of the box.

***And to offer an important correction: sitting faced towards an entrance isn't exactly a good habit, it's the mitigation of a poor choice. You're limiting a bad habit by selecting the most sensible choice.***

PART III: Tips for Success, Skill-building
There's nothing you can do to improve your latent level of alertness (short of the physical aspects addressed above), but there are techniques you can apply to maximize awareness while engaging in potentially hazardous situations. Here are a few things that you can

1) --- Every time you take a step, you're entering a new environment. Slow down. Slow WAY down. Stop. Look, listen, smell your new world. Be the fish in the fishbowl, and look out of it. Each "fishbowl" is different, but here's a list of generalizations that you can apply to these situations.

Hierarchy:
1. People/animals, 2. Movement, 3. Environment;
A. Close/short, B. Medium/middle, C. Far/furthest


(While "movement" isn't an object, it is an aggravating factor for both people, object, and environment. You will probably want to look for movement around you before you scan the floorboards for slippery spots.)

* Scan the entirety of any new room visually, quickly.
* Make note of those who're looking at you during your scan, especially those who are scanning you in return; consider demeanor of noted individual/s. Most people will glance away when you meet eyes, but some do not.
* Glance briefly at the faces and hands of those moving around near you.
* Glance briefly at the nearby environment: look at hands, then look nearby objects that stand out.
* Scan the distance environment, making note of anything out of the ordinary.

Obviously, apply common sense when appropriate. If a situation seems unsafe, or begins becoming unsafe, extricate yourself and posse posthaste. And don't be the weirdo who takes it to the extreme and makes others uncomfortable: be alert, not paranoid. Think bigger picture. Make your scan brief, but adequate.


2) --- When driving in short trips, try to keep a mental checklist of license plates from visitors from different states or counties. Include those cars from behind you, too. At the end of your trip, try to remember how many different locations you saw during your trip. Then develop down to finer details, and change credentials for the cars you notice. Try to notice every hybrid. Try to notice every car of a certain color. Try to remember every bumper sticker. "Count" them.

*Remembering license plates is a valuable skill in an urban setting, especially for those working in LE/Security occupations. You'd be surprised how often it goes neglected.


3) --- When leaving the grocery store, "count" people. I mean that literally, count them as they walk towards your general direction, including those behind you. Look at their face and hands, count 1. Next person. Do not stop until your vehicle is in motion. A busy Wal-mart lot can get up to 40 or more in the span of the walk to your car, and the loading of your newly purchased sundries and other goods.

*A low count is safer than a high count.
*Try to work from nearest to furthest.
*Carefully observe those who seem to be making a "Beeline" toward you.

4) Can you add anything like number 2 or 3, above? What "games" do you play when in public?



PART IV: Exterminate!! Evaluate!!
Just seeing a person, movement, or environmental concern is good, but it's only the first O of the magical OODA loop. You're ultimately determining an action, and more intelligence will be required to make good decisions. Evaluate your observations, and determine which have meaning to you.

Knowing the number of people in a McDonald's is worthless information. Knowing which people have an affect on your visit to said burger joint IS important. Are they in line ahead of you, increasing the duration of your visit? Are any blocking alternative exits? Is anyone having a medical emergency? Are any of them potentially threatening, given their gestures, demeanor, or obvious activity? Do you see the potential for an accident that may affect you or another? What do the cars outside look like, and are they occupied? How many times are they occupied? Did you notice they cars in the drive thru, and are they moving? Any LE or security around the shop, inside or out? Do you see anyone else with a concealed weapon?

Remember, just seeing and counting is worthless. Awareness involves evaluation.
...As the great warrior poet O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson, Sr. once said, "If the day does not require an AK, it is good."

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by Andy in NH » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:30 pm

Great points. Thanks!
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by doitnstyle1 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:33 pm

itzybitzyspyder wrote:I didn't think situational awareness could be taught.
If that were the case the military would be screwed. Yes you can teach it and it requires a lot of dedication.
itzybitzyspyder wrote: I'm acutely aware of my surroundings all of the time. I wasn't taught to be aware, I just am. I don't meditate either.
That might just be paranoia :lol:
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by doitnstyle1 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:48 pm

"All religious stuff aside, the fact is people who can't kill will always be subject to those who can." - Brad "Iceman" Colbert, Generation Kill

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:58 pm

The one with the lone lady in the subway happened in Philly and she did something that you never what to do on a subway alone, looking down and earphones on. Always, always, always keep your head up, look around, and keep your ears open. When I use to ride the subway, I would listen to tunes, but only if things look safe, and even then with one earbud in one ear, the other was out and listening to the world.

Hearing is very important. Here is a sound that will make anyone from a bad neighborhood hair stand on the back of their neck...the sound of someone running up behind you. I can't tell you how many times walking in suburbia, I have spun around and almost cold-cocked a jogger who would run up behind me. If that lady who got knocked out in the video hear it coming, and turned around and eyeballed the guy, she might not have been knocked out, or even punched.

Smell... here is one thing I do with so called "homeless panhandlers" in the burbs. I will see someone with a sign that says " Homeless..Please help" and I would usually laugh and call it a scam, and my suburban friends will think I am cruel. I tell them this, you know someone is really homeless when you SMELL them. Suburban panhandlers may have dirty T-shirts and a sad cardboard sign, but their jeans and sneakers are clean, and some have nicer clothes then me. The stand their with their sign, collect their money, and at the end of the day drive home. Regular people try not to stink. Real Homeless people smell because they don't use deodorant, they sleep outside, wear the same clothes everyday, and wash them in sinks or a city fountains. If you are walking around and you suddenly smell something foul, or someone with heavy BO or just smell funky, take note of that person. Not only homeless people smell, but so do crazy people, and junkies who don't give a crap about hygiene. Some people on amphetamines will have a weird combo smell of sickening sweet and BO, and pot head will smell like pot smoke, drunks will smell like booze. Also think of this. A criminal who just snatched a purse and ran, or jumped, beat up, and robbed a guy, or just raped a girl and is looking for victim #2 already worked up a sweat. Even if they are looking for their first victim, they are already going to be amp'ed up and starting to stink.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by angelofwar » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:56 pm

Good stuff LJ. I will agree doitinstyle1 though...SA can be taught...or developed...I honed my SA playing Splintercell religiously...I didn't play it to hone my skills...it just naturally happened. Now everytime I walk into or out of a store, I immediately scan for cameras/security sensors, etc. I also have a "bad habit" of not talking to people...even family...LOL!...so, when i wait in a line, wait in a room, I'm constantly watching/observing. I don't count or check everything you do, but I primarily focus on demeanor...which has kept me out of trouble for a very long time...

Also, spar...spar...spar...doesn't have to be professional or anything. When I was an older teen/young adult, my dad would always try to mock-box with me...he'd tap me in the stomach or where-ever just enough to make it uncomfortable...every morning or coming home from school, randomly, my dad would get in his boxing pose and take a few swipes at me...now, all my blocking/deflects are second nature...people actually taunt me at work about it...Ha! I actually popped a co-worker in the head one time when he did a fake lunge towards me...DON'T MAKE ANY FAST MOVEMENTS AROUND ME AND YOU'LL BE OK... :D

This also helps you naturally pick up body signs...when some-one is fixing to lunge, fixin' to swing etc.

Anyways, great NECROBUMP...enjoyed your thorough analysis!
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by Sworbeyegib » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:04 pm

One thing I've noticed, and this has nothing to do with "survival skills", is that well developed situational awareness has helped me a lot in my social/dating life. Everything from remembering peoples names/faces, remembering details from previous or earlier conversations, and picking up on signals from women that I'd like to get to know. And the way I tend to present myself to people does not come off as either passive or aggressive, but very assertive. And people like that.
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by zero11010 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:37 pm

doc savage wrote:
itzybitzyspyder wrote:Live in a high-crime area and start taking the bus.
yeah, i'll second this one. live in a neighborhood where if a car backfires, the locals are all crawling along that five inches of curb for hard cover.
I like the original quote a lot. As people are saying, it can be taught. You have to be self aware. You have to be trying to pay attention.

I think the part about the backfiring is well intended but not a very good descriptor. In bad neighborhoods you hear loud pops very often. Fireworks at any time of day and year round (legal or not). Cars backfiring. Things landing on concrete from stories up (a loud crashes). People who are in areas like this can tell the difference between these things and gun fire (like being able to tell the difference between the bang in different caliber weapons).

Also, no one drops to the ground for one bang without more information (unless it sounds like it was fired right next to you). When there's one bang you look to see if you can see what is going on. Chances are it's no where near you. This also gives you a chance to listen to for more gunfire. If you hear a lot of gunfire that's when everyone drops to the ground. It happens too often to do it every time you ever hear one shot fired.

Check out the kid with the backpack (it takes less than 10 seconds of video). Oakland:


My girlfriend grew up in nice neighborhoods all her life and she has no situational awareness. She has absolutely started to park her car (with me in it!) in a bad neighborhood right next to a drug deal with a seller who had 3 spotters supporting him (the amount of support he had was rare, and an indicator of a big potential for violence). If I hadn't told her to look for another spot she would have parked right there. Odds are that would have been totally fine, if the buyer or seller were having a bad day it could mean trouble, and if the two had a disagreement there may be shots fired. In her defense it's hard to find parking in a bad neighborhood that isn't within a half block of something shady going on. But, when we walk down the street she cannot tell who is a pimp, who is a prostitute, who is a drug dealer, who is looking to buy, and who is just going to the store for milk.

Even if you have good situational awareness things will surprise you. A friend of mine was stationed over seas in the Navy. His deployment went just fine. He gets home and goes to a house party and a drunk guy who had just been beaten up at the party walks out the door then comes back inside. Turns out he was getting a gun. He opens fire with a pistol, fixates on my friend, then chases him down and sticks a gun in his face (still hot from being fired). The guy who had been beaten up didn't know who was beating on him, so he went for the first person who made eye contact with him.


If you're an adult and have no situational awareness (or don't know how your situational awareness is), keep to nicer parts of town and you'll be fine. You can play games where you look for exits and keep your back in a safe direction when you eat, or look for gang tatts/colors/symbols/graffiti. For the most part, if dealing with things like that aren't any part of your life as an adult, you don't really need to start looking for it. All you're likely to do is get stressed out. It isn't enough to spot that there is a gang marker on a wall, or that the guy passing you on the street has a clear gang tatt visible. More important than that is recognizing mood through body language and such. If someone is going to snap out of no where, they're going to surprise you. Like the first guy with the gun in the video on the first page, until he took the gun out he didn't show much of anything in the way of signs that he was about to do something. It is less important to notice that a guy is a potential source of trouble because of his outward appearance. It's much more important to notice that he's balling his fists, or puffing up his chest, or keeping a hand concealed down by his side, or the tilt of his head as he purposefully approaches you. And, to be honest, situations like that are super rare. If you want to start learning to read body language, you should start with something that most people fine more applicable to everyday life. Learn to read the body language of the opposite sex. When you can read women/men and their general intentions, it will be easier to transfer that information to recognizing physical threats.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by selen » Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:45 am

I was in Manhattan during 9/11. A few months later I was talking to a student in my school and he said he was in the twin towers during the event. He said after he saw the first tower was hit, he didn't even attempt to take his cell phone that was on the desk in front of him but he immediately ran downstairs.

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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:55 am

I think "situational awareness" and "attention to detail" go hand-in-hand... hard to have one without the other. Only way to learn it is by practicing or training to be a "trained observer"
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Re: How do you increase your situational awareness?

Post by Neptune Glory » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:00 am

Pooter wrote:Most of what I have been reading on SA "Situational Awareness" involves following a set of rules or guidelines.
But nothing on increasing awareness, like I've done thru meditation. But some on here consider meditation
to be a religious topic that needs to be avoided, I dunno if it is, your thoughts on it please.
I would like to think that an increased awareness would be needed for survival type situations.

And, uh...
is it religious or not?
I enjoyed Dan Millman's books on the subject quite a lot (Peaceful Warrior series). Definitely not religious in that set of writings.

When one can focus down to fractions of a second, the world seems easier to cope with.
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