DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS?
As I sat down to write this weekly tip, I knew that I wanted to cover the topic of "Situational Awareness", however I grappled for days trying to figure out how to take the standard definition and apply that in a meaningful way to preparedness measures. "Situational Awareness" after all, is defined as the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event. Upon much contemplation and intense internet research, I found an article that nailed the definition for me, the author defined "Situational Awareness" as the ability to pay attention to your surroundings and what is happening around you. This type of awareness will help you to identify risks and opportunities sooner than your counterparts.
How often do you take the time to pay attention to your surroundings? I mean really pay attention to your surroundings? As a Seattleite, you likely made a trip to your favorite coffee shop today. When you picked up your coffee this morning, did you pay attention to your surroundings? Can you remember how many people were working behind the counter? How many people were in line with you? Were they male or female? Were there any bags left on any chairs unattended? Was the exit easily accessible? Or were you looking at your cell phone? Or perhaps, you were looking at your cell phone with your favorite song pumping in your ears?
If you didn't pick up coffee this morning or haven't left the house yet, think about the last time you were in a coffee shop or out to dinner last. Could you answer similar types of questions?
If you are able to answer the questions posed above, you have made a conscious effort to be aware. You are also probably more likely to pay attention to the flight attendant when they are demonstrating life safety measures prior to take-off and check for the flotation device below your seat and look for your nearest exit. You are also probably more inclined to review the emergency evacuation sign posted on the interior of your hotel room. You might even assess a place to sit in a restaurant or other local gathering that places your back to the wall or near something something sturdy to duck under in the event of an earthquake. In the book I referenced last week, The Unthinkable, Amanda Ripley shared that she met someone that went beyond familiarizing herself with hotel evacuation routes, she actually followed the route and in one case the stairwell opened to the hotel's kitchen. Not at all what I would expect and I plan to test that one out the next time I travel.
In one of the articles, I read earlier this week, it likened situational awareness to the skills exhibited by Jason Bourne. For those of you that are fans of the Bourne movies, you get it. In one cafeteria scene referenced in the article, Bourne is able to indicate the handedness of the waitress, the number of cars in the parking lot and their respective license plates, etc. He is the master of situational awareness.
So, how can we be more like Jason Bourne and develop our situational awareness? One article shared this family friendly fun activity to strengthen your situational awareness. The next time you are out with your family take some time play this game. Develop some questions ahead of time like the ones listed below and ask your family to play along at dinner, at the theater or at your favorite family hangout. Here are some sample questions:
• How many people have brown hair? blonde? red? grey? bald?
• How many people are men? women?
• How many children are present?
• How many people are working?
• Where are the bathrooms?
• Is there another exit, other than the way we came in?
Obviously, the list could go on and on. Have some fun with it! Kids are the best at learning preparedness measures and will likely be better able to remember details than us old folks! Shoot, you might even incentivize the activity with a dessert for the family member that was able to identify the most?
Lastly, we want to share a couple of final tips: (1) Remember if you see a bag left unattended in a public space it is best to report it to the proper authorities and (2) Please keep at least one ear readily available to help your eyes in detecting threatening situations. I cringe when I see people out walking or running alone with both ears plugged with earbuds and likely loud music. (It is doubly painful to this once upon a time audiologist, as they are putting themselves at risk and likely creating permanent hearing loss. Mrs. Holmes, this one is for you!).
DON'T FORGET ABOUT OUR PROMOTIONAL OFFER!!!!
With National Preparedness Month, in September, quickly approaching, we are offering a special promotion for an educational seminar, response plan development, tabletop exercise or drill to organizations that would like HT2 to develop, deliver and/or lead a session. For those of you that are residential recipients of these tips, you are welcome to schedule a home safety consultation. You must book your 1-selected service by the end of September to be eligible for the 10% promotional reduction and your offices or residence must be located in the Greater Seattle Metropolitan area.
If you can't commit at this time consider reaching out later. Should you need further assistance or want additional resources, please contact us. To learn more about preparedness measures or to schedule a presentation, safety walk, tabletop exercise, home consultation or general consultation with HT2, please Click Here!