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WATCH: Shop owner shoots robber; situational awareness 101

Shopowner shoots robber

WARNING: The video in this blog is not for sensitive viewers. Caution is advised as it contains graphic content.

In this video from what seems to be in 2018, a shop owner is seen shooting a robber as the perpetrator attempts to draw his firearm. The shop owner demonstrates fantastic situational awareness and utilizes his training to defend himself and bystanders. Below are some basic pointers with regards to situational awareness.

Definition of Situational Awareness:

Situational awareness simply means knowing what is going on around you.

Situational awareness is a critical, yet elusive, foundation for successful decision-making across a broad range of situations, many of which involve the protection of human life and property, including emergency response, command and control operations and self-defence.

The value of being situationally aware:

Situational awareness is about getting in the mindset of consciously knowing what you’re doing and observing your surroundings.

Situational awareness is often discussed, but it is worrying that few people know what it truly represents and why it is so important. Thinking proactively and understanding what to look out for can be the difference between life and death in many situations.

If you have to make the same trip into town, drive the same route to work or going out for a peaceful walk every day, it pays to practice situational awareness. Whether you are home alone, visiting friends, or going shopping, you should always be prepared – even when fulfilling routine tasks that seem harmless or danger-free.

Lacking or inadequate situation awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.

A vital principle of situational awareness involves conditioning your mind to spot all kinds of things in your environment and identify whether they are, or could become, obstacles when you need to make a quick decision. If you have mastered this, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed by circumstances and outside factors which may stifle your decision-making.

Decisions are made based on what your brain is processing and what your intuition detects. By balancing and harmonising both of these activities in your brain, you will be able to make more informed and pre-emptive judgments, allowing you to become more situationally aware. This extends to decisions beyond the perception of potential threats from people and environmental risks or hazards.

Ways to Practice Situational Awareness:

Practice makes perfect, and the following are ways in which you can practice situation awareness in everyday settings:

Be mindful – Practice being ‘in the now’ – when you are aware of your environment, all of your senses are engaged. You can hear, smell, and see everything, and you can respond much faster.

Identify exits – Anything can technically be an exit out of a situation, even if it is not a formal one. But this could prove useful in any emergency.

Be aware of the people around you – Observing people around you unobtrusively and watching how they react or express themselves is a great way to understand what’s going on around you or what may happen next.

Notice nonverbal cues – Nonverbal communication can tell you a lot about people. Does their body language support what they’re saying? Many people have an easy giveaway when they’re lying or are nervous.

Avoid distractions – Being distracted makes you more vulnerable. While distractions can’t always be avoided, you can do your best to limit them.

Trust your gut feeling – Listen to your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone or someplace, you should remove yourself.

Be alert – Being alert, walking tall and limiting your distractions is very important for situational awareness.


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