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Awareness

One area where I seem to be lacking is awareness. I seem to spend my time focused on a subject and miss out on what is going on around me. At the moment it is not an issue but in an event it could become a major issue. It is funny because when I go into a room I notice where the windows, doors, exits and food are. I just don’t notice people and what they are doing unless it is something noisy or heated and even then I would have difficulty describing them with any accuracy later.

When I go into hotels I always look for the exits and, if I cannot see them, I search out the fire doors. I check the windows and doors and I automatically memorise the route so if it is in the dark or smoky I know where I am going. I can still remember the layout and escape route from the last hotel room I was in, which had locked windows, I could even draw the room layout to fairly good proportions but have no idea what colour the room was, the curtains, carpets or the bed sheets.

I’ve tried to notice more about my surroundings but nothing I do seems to work. I have good special awareness. I can look at something and see if it will fit in my car, through a door or if it looks the right size. I can point to the front entrance after walking inside a building and can walk back the way I came in without help.

The reason I tried to fix it is that I was reading about how the Israelis identified people to check at airports rather than strip search everyone which our lot do. They look for odd people, wearing the wrong clothes, looking at certain things, not looking at other things and how they walk can tell if they are armed. It made me think about needing situational awareness when I go out and about. Does someone look suspicious? Could they be armed and planning something? Do they look like they are the look out? Are they wearing the wrong clothes for the weather? I don’t notice any of these things. I would make a lousy witness after a murder, bank robbery or mugging. I would probably be suspected of being in league with the culprit because I would not be of any help.

I can look at a house and notice cameras, lights, alarms, entrances, door, windows and tell tale signs of dogs. I can imagine in my mind where I can be seen and where I can get bogged down in mud or stuck on brambles. I can map it out on paper when I sit down and if I am asked to describe the person who opened the door or if they wore glasses, or had a moustache I would have no idea. In case you are wondering I used to work for a CCTV installer and planned out installations rather than a previous life as a criminal casing joints.

An old friend of mine used to work as a copper. He noticed everything, we also worked in the same CCTV company, but as well as the things I noticed he came back saying so and so was smoking weed, did you see so and so’s wig, so and so was hiding something and so on. He said the first test he had before he joined was he was shown a photograph of a scene for about fifteen seconds and then asked questions about the scene. He tested me with what he called a similar scene with people around a table playing cards. He then asked how many men, how many had moustaches, how many were sitting, anything unusual with the scene? I got every one wrong. I noticed the time, the room layout, the food but nothing about the people. What makes it worse was I concentrated on them as well but he asked the wrong questions. He thought I was deliberately getting them wrong.

Anyway, the point. It will be something that will be a requirement after an event. Walking up to someone’s house with people in the drive, people standing by a road, in a car. Two cars crashed in the road, they look abandoned. Someone lying face down at the side of a road. Are they dangerous? Is this an ambush? I’m hoping at that stage I would be paying more attention to the situation. For one thing people out and about where I am should be uncommon and thus I would be more suspicious plus we would all be looking for suspicious signs to improve our survival prospects.

How is your situational awareness? Can you see things that others miss or are you like me?

6 comments to Awareness

  • moosedog

    Plod are trained to remember certain details such as clothing, hair, facial features because they need to identify one person in a crowd and relay this information to colleagues so they can catch said person. Essential to their job, very impressive to the uninitiated, totally useless for our purposes. We need to see different things: signs of a house being occupied, a road that is used regularly, ambush points, likely places a sniper could be positioned. We need to notice little details such as how long a cigarette end might have been lying on the ground, how fresh footprints are, how long a car may have been stood in that place. All things that we can practice and expand on now, while walking the dog or going on a hike. Don’t get bogged down with details of facial hair and shade of jeans someone is wearing, concentrate on things that will be essential after an event.

  • moosedog

    Oops, having read my comment after it was posted I realise the ending may come across as a little abrasive: that wasn’t my intention, perhaps it could be better put, maybe:

    Don’t get yourselves too bogged down with details Plod needs for his job, such as facial hair and colour of clothes. These things aren’t going to be too relevant to us after an event. We will need to concentrate on other things in order to keep ourselves safe.

  • Skean Dhude

    Moosedog,

    Don’t worry about the comment. I didn’t take it as abrasive anyway.

    I agree we will be looking for different things and I think I can adapt to those things if the situation arose. We already do that now while walking home at night and so on.It would just be more of that.

    The photo was during the interview for the job. He did get further training but not before he started.I would have failed my interview.

  • Hi,

    My awareness is pretty good, I work in front line security in Nottingham city centre so I have to be on my game and often deal with dodgy, stressed, pissed zombies.

    Its hard to stay on it all the time and I still get caught out sometimes which can be painful lol, but in a SHTF, TEOTWAWKI situation what with my preps and experience I hope to have an edge and survive the worst of it, beyond the initial carnage anyways,what happens after? well who knows.

  • maddog

    stan, well at least you will have access to weapons down there when tshtf. I understand they are given away free when you buy more than two pirate dvds in nottingham

  • Skean Dhude

    Stan,

    More like Plod then so you will learn to be on the ball. The edge will be useful in an event.

    Maddog,

    It was the gun capital of the UK at one point. I’ll see if I can get a transfer there for a while so I can stock up. (Only joking Plod) (whisper: Call me Stan)

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