Wendy Megyese explains the various awareness levels that we MUST use, especially when we’re outdoors.
The first and most important safety tip is to be aware of your surroundings. If you can spot a potentially dangerous situation before it happens, then you have a greater chance of being able to avoid it.
But how aware do we have to be before our precaution turns into paranoia?
One of the best ways to determine how alert we need to be in any given situation is by using the military color code system:
WHITE: White represents a condition of complete unawareness. You might be sitting at a traffic light so absorbed in checking your emails that you fail to see when the light turns green. Your attention is refocused only when someone behind you honks their horn. While this may not be particularly dangerous, you may fail to notice any potential threats approaching you. The advent of smartphones has increased the number of people who perpetually walk around unaware of what surrounds them. This dramatically increases your chances of being taken by surprise and attacked.
YELLOW: Yellow represents an awareness of your surroundings and acknowledgement of what is occurring around you. It is a relaxed alertness. This is the ideal state to be in at all times. In this state, you are aware and prepared to deal with any potential danger. It is important to shift into this level of alertness any time you enter a danger zone. Danger zones are defined as any place where a potential attack is more likely to occur. Parking lots, even during the day, are a top danger zone. Darkened streets, convenience stores and stairwells also top the list. Danger zones can also include events, such as first dates with someone you don’t really know, or a night out on the time with your friends.
ORANGE: This color represents our state of awareness when a potential threat is perceived. It is a heightened sense of awareness. There may not be an actual threat, but if your perceive one, you must be ready to respond to it immediately. Your awareness level will not return to yellow until the threatening situation has been resolved.
RED: When a potential threat has transformed into an actual confrontation, your awareness must shift into this level. A red condition requires action. You may not be able to predict the outcome, but you can predict with some accuracy what your response will be. In a crisis situation, the human brain reverts to what it has been trained to do. If you have no type of training, chances are you will be victimized.
Training can be as complex as attending martial arts classes and becoming a skilled fighter. But it can also be as simple as running “what if’ scenarios in your mind, where you mentally face an attacker and “see” yourself fighting back and getting away.
For most people, the most realistic training probably lays somewhere in between these two. If you decide to carry some type of self defense weapon, take time to practice with it. Even if it is a pepper spray, make sure you know exactly how to use it. The time to figure it out is not when you are facing an assailant.
You have the best chance of avoiding or surviving a confrontation if you live in a Yellow state rather than in a White state most of the time. Be aware. Be prepared. Stay safe!