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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Situational Awareness- Cooper's Color Code & Boyd's O.O.D.A.

Situational awareness is vital to preppers and for good reason. As preppers, we need to be aware of our surroundings to safely conduct our business as usual.
We also need to be aware of threats. Threats can range from recognizing that a storm is coming, to noticing that a stranger is lingering in front of your house, among many others. Your situational awareness and your state of mind will play a huge role in recognizing a threat and minimizing your exposure to that threat.

Cooper's Color Code:
Cooper's color code is a system used to categorize different levels of awareness.
White: The lowest level of awareness, this can be described as completely unaware of ones surroundings. In this level one does not notice people or changes in their environment. This is the state that an attacker would look for in choosing a victim.
Example: Walking down the street texting, with earphones on. This person generally is not paying attention to their surroundings.

Yellow: This level is cautious and aware, it can be described as a relaxed state of awareness where one does recognize the possibility of something unexpected happening. This is the ideal state of mind to remain in at all times. In this state one notices people and their behaviour as well as small changes to their environment. This is not a difficult to do by simply continuing to pay attention to the surroundings.
Example: Walking down the street, you watch all vehicular traffic as well as any people on the street with a cautious eye.

Orange: In danger, this state focuses on a determined threat allowing you to evaluate the next course of action. In this state you have identified the cause of danger and are preparing to take action.
Example: You notice a man in front of your house. He makes a sharp turn up your driveway and proceeds into your backyard.

Red:  The highest level of awareness, red is now in conflict. Red is the zone where you carry out the decisions made in orange. This is the fight or flight zone. If formal training is present, this is where it should kick in.
Example:  I'm going to use a first aid example here. Your toddler is quietly watching t.v. with a bowlful of grapes, then from the kitchen you hear a gagging, coughing sound, this is orange. You see your child standing with his mouth open struggling to breathe. You are now in red.

Using this system you can train yourself to remain in yellow most of the time. You can then escalate your awareness depending on the threat, plan for, and take appropriate action. Practice throughout the day remaining in yellow and fluidly transitioning to orange when a possible threat is identified. It helps to imagine a possible threat and transition into orange, then try to plan for any possible course of action.

This can also be used in communications.
Code Yellow- relaxed caution
Code Orange- possible threat detected
Code Red- in conflict

Boyd's O.O.D.A Loop:
Boyd's O.O.D.A. loop is a continuous process that is an apt extension to Cooper's Color Code.
It stands for:
Observe: Observe the threat.
Orient: Orient yourself, process any courses of action.
Decide: Decide on the most appropriate course of action for the situation.
Act: Act on the decision.
Example: You're at a corner store, a man enters with a mask on and a gun in his hand. You have now taken your awareness level from yellow to orange. The man is already on action mode of O.O.D.A. you are at the observe mode.

Practice will allow you to transition quickly from one to the other. Practice this loop in your mind. Imagine some of those "what if?" scenarios and practice the transition of O.O.D.A. through your thought process.
What if you came home to an intruder in your house?
What if someone tried to snatch you wallet or purse?

Although these techniques were originally created for the military and the police they have since been adapted to train for numerous other scenarios. I believe they are a vital tool especially for preppers who want to be ready for come what may.

This is likely something most of us have naturally become accustomed to doing. We pay attention on a larger scale and prepare on a larger scale but many issues occur on a personal level every day. By remaining in a relaxed state of awareness or level yellow, and being aware of any possible threats many unfortunate situations can be easily avoided.
There is no better tool to prep and condition then your mind.

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