Situational awareness when going out

Situational Awareness When Going Out.​

During times of high risk / disaster / civil unrest etc need to become much more situationally aware before you go venturing outdoors to the shops, work, school, visiting family etc. You must check your local news traffic and crime warnings before going anywhere, EVERYTIME….. Don’t JUST anything.

Never drive (walk) to destination into without ensuring you have at least TWO ways out.

Never let your vehicle fuel tank go under half , preferably 3/4 during a crisis

Keep Vehicle doors locked especially in built up areas.

AND the I.C.E in your car is for listening to local news, traffic news etc during a crisis, not music.

Keep Shades, Hat, Gloves, Mask, Wipes, Flat shoes, easily to hand in vehicle.

No bags or valuables on show in vehicle (in the boot / trunk or under the seat or in glovebox.)

Never try to drive through any sort of crowd gathering, even slowly.

When you park up,do so ONLY in brightly lit areas and ALWAYS park so you can drive FORWARDS to get out, Never park nose first into a blind parking bay.

Never ENTER or LEAVE a shop or building without looking AND listening in /out to see if its safe.

Always have your car keys ready to hand when you return to your vehicle.

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN is it safe to proceed?


Never sit NEAR the window or with your back to the window / door in a cafe, diner / bar etc

NOTE where the fire escapes and emergency exits are.

Go armed, your PDW (if legal) goes ON YOUR PERSON not in a bag.(as should your Wallet/Purse/Bill-fold & Car Keys)

Keep your Bag / Purse to your FRONT, and NEVER wear the strap over your head.

(Ladies) if possible no high heels, tight short skirts, exposed valuable jewellery on show

Trust your instincts, chance are if something does not feel right, then it probably is NOT all right.

If you see crowds / mobs at destination go some place else or delay trip until another day

Watch the crowds, how are they moving, Purposefully? Aggressively? Fearfully? Are they fleeing or are they attacking ?

Finished shopping? Make sure you or your vehicle is not being followed as you head home ( Keys ready) 

Night Time Observations.

Not many people realise the following,During the day your eyes mainly use the rods and cones and the BACK of the eye to detect SHAPE.But at night your eyes mainly use the rods and cones on the SIDES of your eyeball to detect MOVEMENT.

It part of a ancient ancestor predator detection system we inherited. it is why highly trained soldiers on night patrol constantly move their heads from left to right as they patrol because they know they are more likely to detect the enemy by their MOVEMENT more than their SHAPE.

One noted problem with NVG is they are very narrow focused, if the detectors look straight at the bad guy you will see them, but often your view is limited to about 30 to 40 degrees but anything outside that arc you dont. They are still great devices to have to assist.

Night Time Movements

You have all seen it in the movies or experienced it in the movies, someone moving tactically at night trying to remain undetected, then Crack or Snap they stand on something like a twig or piece of an old bottle and it breaks and makes a telltale noise.

The risk of doing this can be REDUCED not stopped by walking tactically by SLOWLY sweeping the ground with your foot close to the ground then slightly sideways as you take each step. This frequently brushes aside anything that could snap or break before you stand on it. It can also help you detect trip wires before you trigger them. It looks weird , takes concentration, is not guaranteed, and slows you down but has been proven to work in both rural and urban night time environments.

You often see the lead guy in a time or line in a clearing operation pushing his foot forwards close to the ground rather than using the lifted stepping normal method of walking.


It also worth pointing out the benefits of having noisy gravel drives and paths on the approaches to your house / retreat as an early warning system of unwelcome visitors. 


  • Comments (15)

    • 8

      Good morning Bill, If apprpriate for the prepper, carry in bag, large purse, a recreational boating disposable canister fog horn. Walmart carries 3 sizes of canister horns.

    • 4

      Bill –

      I have been catching up on posts and this one contains excellent information and tips for staying safe, not only in disaster situations, but for everyday behaviour as well.

      One point I would like to add is that using one’s instincts when out and about can save your life.

      Because I have PTSD and am a survivor of multiple random traumas and violence over time, I am extremely hyper-vigilant. My husband is always amazed at how much I pick up on in my environment. The following story illustrates how your instincts can save you from attack.

      I was in a city and on my way to meet a friend for supper. I arrived in the area a bit early, dressed for street safety in low heeled boots, stretch slacks for ease of movement/deploy kicks and fitted but non restrictive jacket to allow range of motion for delivering hand blows and with long hair tied back. I carried a leather pack over one shoulder which could block knife attack or be used to subdue by sling straps over an attackers head and around his neck.

      I purchased a magazine from a store, crossed the intersection and proceeded up the street to the restaurant which was the second building in from the corner. As always, I took note of everyone around me. It was early evening, supper hour. There was a couple, and one other person and myself. I noted where those people went.

      Just as I was passing the first building, I heard something that sounded like “turn around”. I paused mentally, but thought it was a sound of tires driving through slushy snow coming from the street beside me.

      Then, I heard it again, more deliberate and insistent – “turn around!” My instincts fired. I went dead calm. I began to step toward the street as I raised an arm to block and brought my other fist back, poised and ready to strike as I spun around.

      I still had no idea what, if anything was behind me. I was in process of turning around to find out.

      Sure enough, there was male coming at me full tilt, in a crouch and style of fighting used in this region designed to take out the lower back. When I spun around and made eye contact with him, (my husband says I have wolf eyes and am very scary when I get that “look”), he stopped cold and spun around himself and ran away. There was no mistaking that he intended to attack me.

      Once I was certain that he was gone, I resumed my walk to the restaurant. It was just before the restaurant, that I realized there was a dead end alley in between those two buildings. He had planned to grab me before I could make the restaurant and drag me into the alley.

      I couldn’t figure out where I had missed him. I knew who was around me on that street, until, I realized he had been hiding below a low brick wall that was beside the first building. It’s how he saw me exit the store.

      To this day, I have no idea where that warning to “turn around” twice came from. Maybe I had angels watching over me.

      There have been other incidents over the years. I know one for certain – never ignore your first instinct about a person, place or situation.

      And if meeting someone unescorted, always check the map of how the back lanes and other danger zones are situated around the building where you intend to meet.

      Great info, thanks for taking the time to put it together for us.

      • 5

        The more you prep, the more you plan, the more situationally aware you are  of yourself, your abilities and your surroundings the less your PTSD will control you.   TAKE CONTROL of your personal space, TAKE CONTROL of the situation and dominate events and that damn PTSD will fade.

        Its NOT doing the above that lets that alligator sneak up and bite your ass.

      • 8

        Agreed. I did 10 years of counselling, wrote two books and still writing, and married a man who also has it (so he gets it), however, it was prepping that helped me to take control again.

        I have made peace with this disorder and try to live with the best of it: hypervigilance can be put to good use, for example.

        I have learned to accept that the worst of it (triggers) can happen and put my therapy skills into practice.

        Sleep is still a big issue. My husband knows to never lean over me in my sleep. The last time he inadvertently moved the wrong way and ended up hovering too close to me, I had a palm strike levelled just below his nose in my sleep.

        Poor man had to gently call my name until I woke up. I felt awful, but there are some things I have yet to control. That isn’t the first time in my sleep. I have to warn medical people if in hospital of the same and to take what I tell them seriously.

      • 8

        Somewhat related to hyper-vigilance;

        “Sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts.” William S. Burroughs

      • 4

        Good one, Bob. Burroughs had a way with words.

    • 7

      Another point I thought of this morning, Bill – Situational awareness has to include who lives around you and have there been any changes in the neighbourhood. Who has moved out and who has moved into the community?

      My neighbourhood has changed since I first moved here. There was a concentration of people in a particular demographic. Some passed away, leaving a widow or others sold the house after the spouse passed. The house then became a rental unit for an absentee landlord, with all the fun that become for the people who have to live around their methed up tenants.

      • 5


        Above describes the typical scenerio making me a firm believer in the neighborhood watch program.

        When “uncomfortable” with changes in neighborhood, ’tis a far, far easier and productive matter to mention or discuss with point of contact at sponsoring political subdivision.  Here, it is county Sheriff’s Office. Regardless, contact is official enough and will get some attention.

        We had an area neighborhood watch …… but the changes occured and our program evaporated away – when it is actually needed.

      • 3

        Now that you mentioned the Neighborhood Watch program I had remembered that a study by the Justice Department found out that they don’t work. I found a link about it https://journalistsresource.org/politics-and-government/us-justice-department-neighborhood-watch-reduce-crime/

        This is not to discredit your thought or experience, just something to ponder on?

      • 7

        Main, Understand; am familiar.  A major problem with the national studies is they tally so many diverse neighborhoods.  A highrise apartment building in a major city probably has a neighborhood watch program that fails after day one.  Here, in a rural county, we had watches, annotated maps with members’ pictures house, of pets – dogs, horses. Cars had bumper stickers and a picture of car with license plate number and our own bumper sticker was on our maps. Our program collapsed when the area changed.

        I do feel for those stuck in the big cities. If it was me, I’d plan to reduce my standard of living and relocate to a place that’s safe and secure.

      • 2

        I like neighbourhood watch, too, Bob. I have run people off my property and the neighbours uninhabited property next door.

        We all get the communities that we have stood up for. I wish other people around me would, too. 

    • 7

      Bill, I just thought of another point yesterday. I have made it a habit (even in a small town) to always watch when I tank up my vehicle.

      I installed a locking gas cap years ago, because there were people parked and watching who tanked up at the local gas bar in my small town. Then they followed the people who had purchased fuel home and stole their fuel. In some cases, they bypassed the locking gas caps by putting a pail under the vehicle and puncturing the tank with a screwdriver.

      I still installed the locking gas cap as a deterrent, however, I am very observant and always watch to see if anyone is following me be it gas station, grocery store, etc.

      Also I make it a point to observe other patrons in the gas station or grocery store. My husband had a female who tried to come right up on top of him while he was using the bank card. He told her point blank to get back and away from him. She kept trying and he stopped the transaction cold and told the cashier get her away from me.

      One other point to watch for is people working in teams and texting each other. Before Covid and I did normal grocery shopping instead of ordering ahead and picking up my groceries, I caught a couple hanging around the checkout. 

      The store was busy, but I always watch and know what is going on around me. I alerted my husband with our code word and direction. When you are putting through a large and expensive order, you get noticed. We were on high alert coming out of that store. We did it in stages. 

      First I made strong eye contact with the couple. They knew I saw them and was ready for them if they wanted a go at me. Second, we paused in the vestibule between inner and outer doors to check for accomplices working with them (this has been a problem at the Walmart in the same city). Third, I scanned the parking lot and we proceeded to the vehicle. Finally, husband kept watch while I fired the groceries into the van.

      They used to have security staff for the parking lot. I can’t imagine how infirm persons are coping with the criminal element in and about that store. 

      • 8

        A lot of robberies here occur at filling stations, I always insist my wife waits to use the pump nearest the cashier, these days we tend to only use two specific filling stations because they have bright well lit forecourts and are fenced it at the back so people cannot easily hide in the shadows. 

        If there is pedestrians near by but no vehicles she knows to pull away and go elsewhere.

        All the family are also trained to park up then look around before exiting the vehicle, and to lock the car when to go and pay ( inside vehicle bag snatching)

        Coincidently my wifes car a Dacia SUV, its doors lock automatically as soon as it moves part 4 mph, Our other vehicles we physically lock as soon as we go into town. (traffic light ambush robberies)

        She also knows not to put her shoulder bags strap over here head.

        Its rare but we also try to think that ” are we being followed” when they leave the fuel station, if they think that is the case to not go straight home but to drive around until the potential “tail”  drops away.

        At the end of the day those who are SITUATIONALLY AWARE dont get bushwacked.

      • 6

        All of the cheap gas is on the smaller back roads and in the sketchier parts of town. While it is tempting to go there to save 2 cents, it’s not worth having my car and purse stolen.

        I only fill up in the day time, which means I need to keep an eye on the gauge and make sure I don’t put myself in a situation where I need to fill up at night or in the early morning.

        But filling up in the daylight doesn’t necessarily make you immune to robberies. My buddy who is a police officer told me about some middle of the day car jackings at gas stations, and even in the middle of a busy grocery store parking lot in the middle of the day. 

        I also like to stay near the major roads with plenty of traffic. Preferably ones on a corner where cars parked at a stop light can stop and keep an eye on me.

        When I get out of my car, it unlocks all the doors. I lock all the doors except the drivers side door. I don’t need someone walking by the other side of my car to pop open my passenger door and take my purse while i’m being bombarded by the stupid tv on the gas pump. I hate advertising by the way… just let me fill up my car in peace. 

      • 5

        Hi Alisa, Good thinking on the service stations and methodology.

        Something I just found out was happening in the city closest to me is as follows:

        Lady finished grocery shopping. Gets into vehicle. Doors locked. Suddenly a woman on foot, bumps into the front passenger side of her car. Lady almost got out of car before noticing male accomplice coming up behind her on the driver’s side. She was able to get door closed and locked.

        Passing info along to warn others shopping.

        Yah, I hear you on the gas pump advertising. There is no break from it.