Awareness of our surroundings is imperative to keeping ourselves and our families safe. That awareness is going to drive our response time in the event that you are faced with the reality of making a life altering decision. What dictates the decision to avoid, to escape or to defend? Time and awareness drive these decisions.
To Avoid a situation you will most likely need 1 to 5 minutes lead time. You may never know if that decision helped you avoid a violent crime or not, or if you over reacted to what you believed was a valid threat. Avoiding a situation all together, is the only guaranteed method of surviving a violent encounter and obviously your first choice.
Escape from a situation where violence is already taking place and you need to escape in 30+ seconds . Being proactive is key, so look for alternate exits or cover. Remember cover stops a bullet, concealment doesn't. In this situation, run hard and move fast by putting distance between you and the threat.
Defending ourselves is the only option in the midst of a dangerous situation offering 3 to 5 seconds to respond. At this point, it's too late to avoid or escape. This is the situation we all hope never happens. If you carry a firearm, remember your training and how to move, how to think, know your target and what's in front, around and behind it. **Know the legal use of force and how your decisions here will determine your future.
Test yourself daily on being situationally aware at the gas pump, in parking lots, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Imagine situations and determine how you would avoid, escape or defend in each situation. Seriously consider making a personal protection plan which is designed to keep you physically, legally, financially and morally safe.
For more information on situational awareness, check out Home & Personal Deterrents blog post.