With everyone on alert post Islamic terrorist attack around the world, what are your priorities. Have you stopped to think how you should respond with and without your family.
The moment any of these tragic events take place there is a major amount of brainwaves dedicated to how we might respond. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, these “what if” games are crucial towards developing your situational awareness. A lot of times we hear comments like “keep your head on a swivel” or “stay alert”, but what does that really mean to the average person? I break this down into looking for things out of place, general alertness and high probability. While visualization will help with all of these, I find it very useful to the high probability events. These are events that meet a certain set of circumstances such as; time, location and history. These visualization games help us back things up a bit and look at the precursory clues or indicators in the hopes of spotting them while we are still ahead of the game.
Even then, there are still lots of questions to ask yourself, such as will you make contact, will seek cover, will you move to an exit. While each of these responses should be well thought out a big consideration is are you alone or are you with family? If you are with family the dynamics are going to be significantly different. Your primary responsibility will be seeking and securing their safety. More than likely that will be moving to an exit or exfilling to a known safe/secure location away from the area.
Move with a purpose
Even with the situation narrowed down as above, there are still many things to consider. The tactical imperative should be getting your party to safety in the most expeditious manner possible. While you may not be able to predict with absolute certainty what is going to happen, what you can do is familiarize yourself with the current location you happen to be occupying. I break these down into hasty, fixed, mobile and in extremis. Either case, there are some principles that transcend these scenarios. I’ve mentioned them before, but they are worth restating, any tactical movement you perform should have these principles in mind; where is the enemy, where is your next piece of cover, where is your last piece of cover, where is your exfil/exit and where are friendlies/support.
Yes, this is a lot to think about, but like anything we do practice helps to make things smoother. Chances are you already performing something similar when you drive, you just haven’t thought about it from this perspective. These principles help you make better decisions under pressure, narrowing them down will also speed up the decision making process. My last visit to a well known restaurant drove this point home during a brief incident. While the commotion happened outside, it happened within eyesight of the customers. Since I was with my family and I had no idea what the commotion was all about I put into place some immediate prerogatives. Fortunately I did not have to initiate any of them, but the point was once again driven home. I believe it is more than reasonable for folks to come up with their own as they see fit.
Even a poorly thought out plan executed swiftly and aggressively will beat not doing anything in these critical incidents. Getting off the proverbial “x” should be your tactical imperative.