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2 February 2018 by Online Carry Training

Have you ever noticed how distracted our society is? Everyone you go it seems that people are caught up reading their email or text messages, checking their Facebook, Twitter or Social media posts. We are a society addicted to technology and tuned out to what’s going on around us. We have lost our situational awareness.

Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight. They’re more powerful and do more things than the most advanced computer at IBM corporate headquarters 30 years ago.

Our cars have become Infotainment centers with built in music, TV, computers, GPS, phones etc. And we use them all the time.

Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so. Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can over stimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking.

In a self-defense situation, the last thing you want is scrambled thinking.

Ladies, imagine you’re in a shopping center parking lot. When you arrive back at your car, you notice that there is a man sitting in the van parked next to your car. He is in the passenger’s side, and can easily reach you if you approach your car. Perhaps this man is simply waiting for someone to return to his van. Or he might have more sinister intentions.

You aren’t sure, but since you noticed him, it’s best to take a safe course of action. Enter your car from the opposite side, lock the doors immediately, and slide to your seat. Or you can return to the shopping center and ask a security guard to escort you to your car.

If you had not been paying attention and missed the man in the van, you might have been in trouble, because this is a popular tactic for attackers, who will reach out and pull women into their vehicles or get into your car.

Situational Awareness means being alert to everything in your environment at all times, particularly the people in it. Think 4WH.

WHO: Scan your surroundings. Get a rough idea of how many people are in the area with you.

WHAT: Get into the habit of looking up from your phone periodically to see what time it is and what is going on around you while you are using your phone.

WHERE: Scan the area and know where your entrances and exits are located and sit with your back away from them.

WHEN: Every 10-15 minutes change your position in your seat or move to a different location in the room.

HOW: Be observant but inconspicuous. If you observe a potential threat, start formulating in your mind how you will deal with that danger. This means you will be putting your phone down and focusing 100% on the threat.

Your goal should be to always have a basic level of awareness of your surroundings so that, should a threat arise, you know what action you will take to remove yourself from danger. By practicing the 4WH levels of situational awareness, you are training your mind to always be aware of what is going on around you.

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