8 Ways to Achieve Higher Levels of Situational Awareness

Inge Holzträger

Inge Holzträger

About the Author: Inge Holzträger is a GBV activist who is passionate about making small changes where she can. She believes that something positive can come out of a horrible situation if you look for it.

8 Ways to Achieve Higher Levels of Situational Awareness

"Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness." - James Thurber

So let’s talk about situational awareness. It can be as simple as being aware of what is happening around you in terms of where you are, where you are supposed to be, and if anyone or anything around you is a threat to you in terms of your health and safety. We have all heard the phrase “be safe” when heading out into public spaces, most likely from a friend or family member. Knowing what it means versus actually incorporating certain habits into your daily activities are two different approaches – so how do we use what we know to determine whether a situation is safe or not?

Situational awareness is individual and different to each person and is, therefore, only as accurate as our perception or reading of the situation. How we read our environment is influenced by many factors such as the type of information we have been given, our own experience as well as current distractions diverting our attention.

So, why is situational awareness important? In a potentially threatening situation, you are the first responder, so the most critical benefit of practising these habits is that you win over time. It is essential to scan your surroundings, anticipate the behaviour of others, and predict what could happen so that your brain can work out a plan to keep you safe. Therefore, it is not just crucial for your personal security but is also a fundamental building block for collective security.

Now, you might be thinking that is great information but what can I do to improve my situational awareness? Make a conscious decision to implement these 8 simple tips every day to enhance your situational awareness

  1. Be mindfulPractice being “in the moment”. When you are aware of your surroundings, your senses are all engaged. Therefore, you can hear, smell and see everything to react a lot quicker. If you feel like your mind is very busy and you are having a hard time focusing, a quick way to be more present is to take 3 deep breaths.
  2. Identify exits when entering any public space – A public space can be a shopping mall, restaurant, school, gym, etc. When entering such locations, it’s best to allocate the exits. For example, if you can’t see a door, scan for windows. Anything can be an exit. This could prove useful in an emergency.
  3. Watch people without staring – Be present by observing people around you, and how they react and express themselves. This is a great way to understand what’s going on around you.
  4. Notice nonverbal cues – Nonverbal communication can tell you a lot about how people are feeling. Does their body language line up with what they’re saying? Most people have a giveaway that tells you they’re perhaps lying, nervous or angry.
  5. Limit distractions – While distractions can’t always be eliminated, you can also reduce your distractions. Not being present makes you more vulnerable. If you enjoy listening to music while walking, why not try using one earphone and reducing the sound? When walking alone try not to be glued to your phone so you can scan your environment. Most “trips” are short and temporary, you can always engage in these activities when you are in a safe space.
  6. Trust your gut feeling – Listen to your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone or a specific place, rather remove yourself from that situation by listening to your intuition, even if there’s no visible danger. This way you train your body to trust your instinct, which in return boosts your level of confidence to always want to put your safety first.
  7. Be strategic – Ask yourself regularly if you feel safe in the space that you are in. This will give you an indication of how alert and present you need to be to make proactive decisions for your safety.
  8. Carry a self-defence toolin the event that someone threatens your personal safety and invades your personal space, it is best to have some type of reinforcing self-defence tool with you, such as The Woke Self-Defense Alarm Keychain, which can distract and scare off a potential attacker. 
          Remember: It is important to know that in a situation where you are feeling unsafe, it is not your fault. You have the right to feel safe and to take precautionary measures. See situational awareness as a tool to help you become more conscious of what is happening around you. It’s a great way to stay alert, practice staying calm, and train your brain to develop a plan of action in case of an emergency. When you train your ability to be situationally aware, you reduce the risk of freezing up. This enables you to focus on your safety, embrace your power, and feel more comfortable in your ability to protect yourself.

          SHARE POST

          Personal Safety Blog

          Personal Safety 101

          This is a safe space to learn more about safety, situational awareness and personal development. Safety is a very important topic for all of us. It’s not just about how we feel and how we do. Safety is about what we do and what we don’t do. Our blog aims to teach you how to be safe in different situations, so that you can make better decisions and take the right actions when it matters.

          Personal Safety 101: An Introduction!

          “Some things aren’t normal; they have been normalized. There’s a difference!” Personal safety is a complex and sensitive topic, yet one of the most important life skills we ALL need, but as a society, we are honestly still at the

          Read More

          Self-Defence Workshops

          OWN YOUR POWER

          Be A Safety Leadership Advocate in Your Organisation!

          We want to change the narrative. We need a paradigm shift! Let us re-imagine what personal safety could do for our organisations if everyone were equipped with essential tools and information for protection on an individual level. Helping you create a safety culture in your organisation, where the human asset is your most valuable one, is our mission!

          OWN YOUR POWER & EMPOWER OTHERS!

          Our self-defence programme has been developed to ensure that all participants leave our workshop feeling empowered, confident and enabled.

          Our Self-Defence training Programme

          Secanity and iDefend have created an inclusive self-defence workshop for your organisation to learn the basic principles of personal safety, prevention and self-defence. iDefend was founded by Anthony Segal and is an established self-defence training organization in South Africa. Anthony has trained and empowered hundreds of students throughout the country, and has supported many outreach programmes to promote the importance of personal safety in communities. 

          Prevention

          Situational Awareness

          Protection

          Community

          Our programme focuses on why we all need a personal safety strategy and educates us with practical tools, including techniques, on how to deal with public street harassment, the importance of prevention, various de-escalation techniques, how to become an upstander without endangering yourself, and practical self-defence techniques and tools that can easily be implemented regardless of your fitness level and age. These skills are proven to enhance the overall security and confidence of an individual, and in return, will contribute to a healthy safety culture in your organisation. Our workshop contributes to team building, a healthy safety culture, and it encourages communication in organisations.

          EMPATHY TAKES PRACTICE

          Create a safety culture that amplifies your values

          Take your organisation's safety initiatives to the next level. Safety is not only about the security mechanisms and procedures in your organisation, but also about ensuring that the people are trained to protect themselves on their way to and from the workplace or learning environment. A personal safety strategy is essential and contributes to the overall wellbeing of communities. Whether you are a school, university, corporate company or an organisation looking for a partner to support you with introducing or enhancing personal safety culture in your environment, our programme will cater for your individual requirements. We trust that you can call on us to boost the safety culture in your organisation.

          Meet the team behind the programme

          We want to raise public awareness on how personal safety is perceived by moving away from a fear-based mindset to a self empowerment-based strategy. Personal safety is part of personal development and builds the foundation for one’s own empowerment and independence. Our mission is to empower one womxn and child at a time, thereby creating a ripple effect of enablement within communities, public spaces and organisations.

          Palesa Mashinini

          CEO & Founder of Secanity

          Anthony Segal

          CEO & Founder of iDefend South Africa

          OWN YOUR POWER & EMPOWER OTHERS!

          Our self-defence programme has been developed to ensure that all participants leave our workshop feeling empowered, confident and enabled.

          FAQ

          Most frequent questions and answers

          Booking a workshop is simple! All you have to do is send us an email with the following information: 

          • When and where your event is taking place? 
          • How many participants are expected?

          A self-defence workshop is usually 60 – 90 minutes, depending on the number of participants.

          You are planning to train > 50 participants? No problem! We have enough trainers to cater to such events.

          Please kindly inform us about your requirements and we will get back to you with more details on the package. 

          We have a strict safety policy, which adheres to the standard safety protocols in place. Our workshop is designed to train groups of different sizes, all depending on the COVID-19 regulations given by the government and the respective organisation.

          About Us

          Own Your Power!

          Secanity is a South-African company founded by Palesa Mashinini.

          “Secanity” is an abbreviation for “Securing Humanity and Dignity”. Our mission is to transform South Africa into a place where all women and children feel safe and empowered. We stand against gender-based violence. We strongly believe that personal safety is everyone’s fundamental right. Thus, we aim to offer easily accessible, affordable, and practical self-defence tools to regulate self-protection.

          Check out our video to learn more!

          Our Heart Project: Be Kind Foundation!

          Be Kind Foundation

          We are passionate about devising solutions that contribute to keeping women and children in South Africa safe. We wish to level up our initiative by supporting women who support women. With every Woke Alarm Keychain purchased, Secanity donates a percentage of its proceeds to our partner organization, The Be Kind Foundation.

          Be Kind Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Variza Roopa, aiming to provide assistance, care, love, and support to the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children. Through their self-defence educational programs and provision of essential goods and services to the most vulnerable groups and communities in South Africa, they are improving lives.

          Our core values and philosophy are in full alignment with their vision. Hence, we take pride in this collaboration. With your purchase, we can help others together!

          Click here to visit the Be Kind Foundation platform!

          We Care About Your Safety!

          The Woke Safety Alarm Keychain is a discreet device designed to produce a 140-decibel loud alarm to alert others when you encounter an emergency – decisive split seconds can change your life.

          ONLINE SHOPPING TERMS AND CONDITIONS

          Last modified: 1 July 2021

          Please take a moment to read these online shopping terms and conditions (“Online Shopping Terms”) to understand how they apply to your online purchase of any products or services. Use of our Services is also subject to additional General Terms, which apply to online purchases. 

          Online Registration

          You can complete the ordering process as a guest or register with us before placing your first order online. During the checkout process you will be asked to register. Registration and/or use of our online shopping services constitutes your acceptance and agreement to be bound by these and the General Terms of our Services.

          To register you will be required to provide certain personal information including personal and payment card details, as well as an email address and password. Please keep your personal information secure. We accept no liability for any damages suffered or losses incurred from the unauthorized use of your personal information. You will be required to enter your email address and password each time you visit our online shopping site. To amend any of your details, please go to “My Account”.

          Product Sales and Availability

          All products displayed on our website are subject to availability and will be delivered only within the Republic of South Africa to areas where we deliver. All prices shown on our website are quoted in South African Rands and are valid and effective only in the Republic of South Africa. We reserve the right to discontinue or change the specifications of our products and services from time to time without notice. We will inform you as soon as possible if any products or services ordered by you are not available.

          Colours

          We have made every effort to display as accurately as possible the colours of the products that appear on our website. However, as the actual colours you see will depend on the device that you use to access our website, we cannot warrant that your device’s display of any colour will be accurate.

          Content Errors

          We regret that no order will be accepted if we identify a material error in the description of any of our goods or services or their prices on our website. Packaging may vary from that shown on our website.

          Pricing

          You will be charged the prices that are reflected on our website, subject to availability and delivery address. The prices do not include Value-Added Tax. Special promotions may be subject to certain conditions, including stock availability and limited offer stipulations. Special promotions apply only to items on your original order (i.e. not on items which are added after the order was placed).

          A flat rate delivery fee of R99 will be charged for each order you place.

          Payment

          When you place your order, funds equal to the total value of your order will be reserved against the card you are paying with during the checkout process. To allow for any possible product substitutions, payment will only be affected once your order is ready for delivery.

          By submitting your order and payment card details you warrant that you are authorized to make payment with the payment card and that there are sufficient funds available to pay for the order.

          Stock Availability

          We cannot always guarantee stock availability and will deliver a substitute product, if possible, where you have authorized us to do so. If we are unable to supply certain items or quantities ordered, you nevertheless agree to accept delivery and make payment for the items delivered.

          Confirmation of Orders

          Your offer is deemed to be accepted when you receive an order confirmation.

          Delivery

          Deliveries are made Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.

          On delivery, you will receive our delivery note showing a summary of the items delivered. You will receive by email a detailed tax invoice showing the product price details, the delivery fees, and the amount debited from your payment card. You or your authorized representative will be asked to sign a duplicate copy of the delivery note to confirm receipt. For verification purposes, the person accepting delivery at the delivery address may be required to produce a form of identification. Any person other than yourself who receives the products at the delivery address is presumed to be authorized to accept delivery on your behalf.

          Should no-one be in attendance at the time of delivery, the driver will keep the products and leave a notice. The driver will try to contact you to make new arrangements for delivery or collection. We reserve the right to charge an additional delivery fee should it be required. Our liability for any delay in delivery is limited to re-delivery at a later agreed time at no additional charge.

          We have outsourced all delivery arrangements to third party service providers. Accordingly, we cannot, to the extent permitted by law, be liable for any loss or damage caused by them.

          Returns & Refunds

          If you are for any reason dissatisfied with any item purchased online, you may return it to Secanity within 30 days of purchase for a full refund, replacement or exchange, provided you have the original tax invoice, and it is in a saleable condition. Please read our return policy for more information.

          Cancellation

          If for any reason you would like to cancel an order this must be done by contacting our Customer Services Centre on +27 (0) 74 728 9160. You will only be able to cancel orders until midnight on the day prior to the date of delivery. We may debit your payment card for the delivery fees in respect of any late cancellations. If you cancel your payment for any reason or if your payment card should cease to be valid for whatever reason, you will remain liable for the full purchase price, including all related costs. We reserve the right to cancel any sale and/or your registration in the event of a breach of any of these or the General Terms.

          Risk and Ownership

          Risk in the products shall pass to you or your authorized representative on delivery. We will retain ownership of the products until payment is received in full.

          Return Policy

          Last modified: 1 July 2021

          Please take a moment to read our return policy to understand how they apply to your online purchase of any products or services. Use of our Services is also subject to additional General Terms, which apply to online purchases. 

          We want you to be happy with your items. If for any reason you’re not, you may return items purchased online to the following address:

          Secanity
          P.O. Box 66182,
          Broadway 2020,
          Johannesburg,

          for a full refund, replacement or exchange, provided you have the original tax invoice, and items are returned in a resalable condition within 30 days of purchase.

          Preparing your products for a return

          To ensure your request is processed as
          quickly as possible you are responsible for the following when returning your
          products:

          • package
            your products safely and securely for protection during transit;
          • clearly
            mark your return reference number on the outside of the parcel; and
          • include all
            accessories and parts that were sold with the product.

          Failure to adhere to any of these requirements could delay the processing of your request or result in its decline altogether.

          Products damaged on delivery

          Should a product be damaged or missing any parts or accessories at the time of delivery/collection, please notify us within 7 days of such delivery/collection by contacting our customer support service at +27 (0) 74 728 9160 or sending us an email at info@secanity.com.

          We will arrange to collect the product from you at no charge. Once we have inspected the product and validated your return, we will at your choice repair / replace the product as soon as possible (if such repair is possible/ we have the same product in stock to use as a replacement) or refund you if that is your preference.

          Defective products

          We do our best to ensure that the products we deliver to you are of high quality, and in good working order without defects.

          What is a defect?

          A defect is a material imperfection in the
          manufacture of a product or any characteristic of a product, which makes the
          product less acceptable than one would reasonably be entitled to expect in the
          circumstances.

          The
          following will NOT be regarded as defects and will not entitle you to a return
          :

          • faults resulting from normal wear and tear;
          • damage arising from negligence, user abuse or incorrect usage of the product;
          • damage arising from electrical surges, sea air corrosion or contact with water;
          • damage arising from a failure to adequately care for the product;
          • damage arising from unauthorized alterations to the product;
          • where the specifications of a product, although accurately described on the Website, user manual and generally fit for its intended purpose, do not suit you.

          Returns

          Please present two documents when you return an item you’ve purchased online:

          • Your dispatch note: This is given to you when your order is delivered.
          • Your original tax invoice: This is emailed to you when your order is being processed.

          Please note we will only expect refunds if:

          • the
            original invoice is presented on return as proof of purchase;
          • the price
            ticket / barcode is attached;
          • the item
            has not been worn or used;
          • the item is
            in its original condition and packaging;
          • the item is
            returned in the country of purchase;

          We cannot accept items that have been altered or changed unless there is a quality complaint unrelated to the alteration or change.

          Our delivery agents are not authorized to accept goods for return on delivery. Please phone Customer Services on +27 (0) 74 728 9160 or send us an email at info@secanity.com should you need any further details.

          Quality issues

          Any item with a quality issue that does not have a
          best before or use by date can be refunded or exchanged within 12 months of
          purchase.

          Original proof of purchase is however always required
          for items with a 12-month guarantee.

          Your refund will be given against the original payment card as specified on your proof of purchase (your online dispatch note serves as your proof of purchase). For example, if you paid online with a credit card, your refund will be processed to the given credit card. Please note that you cannot receive a cash refund for items purchased online.

          Charges and refunds

          If you return a defective product to us, but you fail to return all of the
          accessories and parts that were sold with that product, we are entitled to
          (subject to applicable law) refuse the return, only to replace the item that you
          did return.

          If you return a product that does not comply with this policy, you may
          be liable to reimburse Secanity for the cost of collecting the product from you
          and the cost of having the product returned to you.

          Please note that we
          only refund to the payment method that you originally used – i.e. payment
          by credit card will be refunded to the same credit card, debit card or payment
          by EFT will be refunded to your nominated bank account.

          General Terms & Conditions

          Last modified: 1 July 2021

          Please take a moment to read these general terms and conditions (the “General Terms”) to understand how they apply to your access and/or use of our websites for information or shopping purposes.

          Who Owns the Services?

          The Services are owned and operated by SECANITY, a company registered in the Republic of South Africa (Reg. No. 2018 /5 94757 / 07).

          Terms and Conditions Apply

          These General Terms apply to your use of the Services and incorporate the Online Shopping TermsPrivacy Notice as well as Return Policy which may also apply to you, so please take a moment to read them. By using the Services, you acknowledge that you have read and understood these General Terms and agree to be bound by them. 

          Amended or Updated Terms

          We may periodically update or change the General Terms, without notice. You should check them from time to time as your continued use of our Services will mean you accept any updated or revised General Terms.

          Law and Arbitration

          Any dispute arising in relation to these General Terms shall first be referred for arbitration. In the event that the dispute cannot be resolved by arbitration, then the Parties may refer the dispute to a Magistrate Court in Johannesburg.

          Your company’s registration address is in Johannesburg. Secondly, the High Court handles litigations that are above one hundred thousand rands

          Our Services

          You are welcome to browse or use our Services for your own personal, non-commercial, shopping and information purposes only. No other use is permitted without our prior written consent. The unauthorised use, copying, reproduction, variation, modification or distribution of the content of our website, the uploading of any unlawful or damaging information or viral software or the creation of any links to our websites is strictly prohibited. You agree to indemnify us against any loss, damage, harm, claim or any other cost whatsoever that we may sustain as a result of your use of our Services and/or the contents of our websites contrary to these General Terms.

          We reserve the right to suspend our Services or any part thereof or terminate your account at any time if we, in our sole discretion, determine that you are not using the Services in compliance with these General Terms or if we believe the information provided by you is untrue, inaccurate or incomplete.

          Use of our Services Outside South Africa

          Customers who are not residents in South Africa are welcome to use our Services in accordance with these General Terms to make online purchases provided that the delivery address is in South Africa.

          Marketing

          We send out various newsletters and other marketing material. You are free to unsubscribe from any marketing material at any stage. It may take up to 21 days for your profile to be updated.

          Personal Information and Privacy

          Your privacy matters to us and we are committed to the protection of your personal information. If you wish to know more about when and how we collect, use, share and store your personal information, please read our privacy notice.

          Accuracy of Content

          All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the information accessed via our Services is accurate and up-to-date. We do not however warrant that the content or information displayed is always accurate, complete and/or current.

          Any comments uploaded by users or any authorised experts are their opinions alone and do not necessarily represent our views, opinions, beliefs or values.

          Your Comments

          We value your comments, ideas, suggestions and feedback. By sending us your comments you agree that we may use them for commercial purposes (including using them to endorse our products or brands) without any compensation to you and you grant us a non-exclusive license to do this. We will not respond to or maintain your comments.

          You agree not to post comments which violate the right(s) of any third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy or any other personal or proprietary right. You agree not to disclose, submit or offer any comments that are or contain any defamatory, unlawful, abusive or obscene material. We disclaim any liability towards any third party regarding your comments.

          Intellectual Property

          All rights, including copyright, trademark and other intellectual property rights embodied in any logos, text, images, video, audio or other material on our websites are owned by or licensed to us. Unauthorised use, reproduction, modification and/or distribution of the content thereof is strictly prohibited and constitutes an unlawful infringement of our intellectual property rights.

          Advertising and Hyperlinks

          External hyperlinks may appear on our websites. We do not necessarily have a relationship with any third party which is linked to our website, nor does a link signify our endorsement of the third party, its products and/or services. Your reliance on any information contained in such third-party material is entirely at your own risk.

          Disclaimers and Exclusions of Liability

          Use of our Services is entirely at your own risk. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, whether express or implied. We do not warrant that the functions provided by the Services will be uninterrupted or error-free, or that the Services or the servers that make them available are free from viruses or other harmful components. We accept no liability, to the extent permitted by law, for any direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever or howsoever caused arising from the access or use of our Services or the purchase of any of our products or services. You agree, to the extent permitted by law, to indemnify us against any loss or damage suffered or liability incurred by reason of any act or omission on your part or that of any third party acting on your behalf in connection with your use of our Services and/or your purchase of any products or services.

          Notwithstanding any other provisions contained herein, our liability arising from any breach of these Terms, negligence or otherwise shall not at any time exceed more than double the monetary value of any order placed via the Services.

          This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.