One of my favorite Robert DeNiro movies is a flick called "RONIN." DeNiro's character is a former intelligent agency figure whose situational awareness is amazing. One of his personal rules was "Never walk into a place that you don't know how to walk out of." His character also had an uncanny ability to spot ambushes.
Another great movie that illuminates the importance of situational awareness is The Book of Eli. There is a scene where Denzel Washington's character is walking through a the apocalyptic landscape and stumbles upon a busty woman in need of help. He correctly identifies it as an attempted ambush scenario.
Situational Awareness Checklist
- Try to guess what individuals around you are thinking or doing.
- Look for odd behavior or things that seem out of place.
- Determine where you’d go if you had to seek immediate cover from an explosion or gunshots.
- Find the two closest exits.
- Determine whether someone is following you or taking an unusual interest in you.
Mentally preparing oneself for a disaster is one of the most important aspects of being prepared. Like any aspect of preparedness, practice makes perfect. Using the checklist above, regularly simulate practice drills to get your mind into the habit of using situational awareness. So many people walk around completely unaware of their surroundings; and at times, walk into dangerous situations. Remember to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings – it could save your life!