People today lack situational awareness. We have traded our real time awareness for virtual awareness and as a result no longer have a clue what is going on around us. And it is not just the “new” generation’s problem.
People walking down the street are busy looking down at their smartphones. The “kid” working at the convenience store refuses to make eye contact. The waitress at the diner appears to have no idea you are trying to get her attention. Some days it seems like nobody is looking up or even attempting to engage the world. It is only after the “crash” or the yell that everyone looks up and says “what was that?”
We can teach all types of great emergency responses but if nobody is noticing the smoke coming out of the closet, the traffic accident ahead or the assailant lurking in the shadows of the parking garage it is often too late to avoid disaster…now it’s a matter or reducing the amount of damage not avoiding it all together.
Any worthwhile all hazards training program MUST contain a situational awareness component. After all it is a prerequisite to responding to a bad situation. Teachers since the day of one room school houses demand a student’s attention during class. The student is expected to know what the topic is, follow the lesson and engage the teacher and the class by following along. Situational awareness is simply asking our staff and students to maintain that same level of attentiveness when they are walking down the hallway or across the parking lot that they are required to have in math class. This is not a new skill, just one we have stopped performing in our daily lives because all too often we are busy texting our BFF.
If you want to know more about situational awareness I would love to talk with you. This is John Baker for Safetysolutions4schools.com.
Image courtesy of www.teamcoorp.eu.