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Situation Awareness

Situation Awareness, what is it and is it important? If you are preparing what does it mean for you? Are you ready, do you think you are ready or are you addicted to social media that makes you believe you are prepared?

As we watch current events unfold, especially in EU with the energy crisis and soon (October) military in German streets. I see the calls from the prepper community to become more diligent in being prepared. Stock up on food and water, and get out of debt. Get your preps in order, and start growing food these suggestions are not wrong, a bit late but not wrong.  That will sort out your physical stuff, but what about mental? I am a strong believer in “mind over matter”, so the question is ARE YOU MENTALLY PREPARED, for what is at our doorstep? 

On our prepper page, we introduce Situation Awareness, now it is time to develop that skill and a few others. Lets dive in and see what I believe you should focus on. 

1. Develop Situational Awareness

Situation awareness is, according to the USCG,  the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team (you) with regard to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you.

Awareness can be broken down into 4 different stages. Some people may have already heard about these four stages, but if not they are as follows:

  • Condition Blue – relaxed and unaware
  • Condition Yellow – relaxed, but aware and vigilant
  • Condition Orange – alert, possible threat identified
  • Condition Red – threat verified, call for action

Unfortunately, you can’t simply decide to become more aware. It is something that takes a little practice and training, we have been “conditioned” to be in the blue state comfortable, the fridge is always full and nothing to worry about. Australia has been the lucky country in that regard, little or nothing is really happening in relation to threats. Sure we have bushfires, wild weather and flooding, but we always rely on the news or emergency personnel to tell us. That is not what I mean by Situation Awareness. You have to train yourself to remain in condition yellow. Over time, you will become adjusted and conditioned to being in “condition Yellow”. Just practice, head on a swivel, look around play the “what if” scenarios in your head. For example, when you enter a building, know where the exits are, and when you walk down the street recognize awkward situations. Always think “do I need to be here”. 

2. Learn to spot fake news/false knowledge

False knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance. – Bernard Shaw

So how do you know what is fake and what is good information? There is so much of it on Telegram, Fakebook and all those other hype channels. Talking about flooding caused by the government, chemtrails and more weirdo stuff. Use your intuition, it never fails, it subconsciously uses all the information such as your experience, location, situation and goal into account and creates that weird feeling that something is “off”. 

If the information is important for me, as in not for entertainment, I generally check it against at least 3 independent sources. Articles that “talking” about the same subject but not posting the same information. So much cut and paste going on. We see it with “build back better”, we see it with chemtrails and all other weird stuff to create hype and collect telegram members.  

Read case studies. Read government reports if there are any. These aren’t exciting, but they can and do present a good source of knowledge. For example, we see plenty of promoting videos on survival, foraging and the latest in Bug Out Bags. Let’s take foraging for a minute, you read upon it, buy the latest fact sheets, watch the videos and armed with the knowledge you set off into the bush. 

Once out there you wander around, realizing THIS SUCKS. You are a few hours into your journey and realise you should have taken the car, burn more energy than you actually gather and the stuff just tastes foul. On top of that, it is the wrong season. So you go, stuff it. I’ll try again tomorrow.  

I know from experience that foraging takes a lot of energy, it is not easy and the likelihood that you will collect enough food to sustain yourself is very small. You go hungry eventually, I know. 

As for “fake news”, I recommend avoiding “Main Stream Media” Instead, I try to find multiple alternative news sources. And I keep an open mind, knowing that there are always at least two sides to every story. Trust but verify. 

As always, you need to stay current on news and events. Just be aware that most “Mainstream media” has an agenda to push and “clickbait type” stories to promote, and it is not limited to MSM either.

3. Take a break from negative social media

As I just mentioned, mainstream media and social media thrive on clicks and many telegram channels are filled with hype. They start off as Off-Grid channels only to be filled with conspiracy theories. If you question what a “littlebirdie” told them, they fly off the handle. They get angry because they cannot provide factual evidence backing up their posts. Like MSM, they push narratives that anger and possibly even incite in the hopes of getting more clicks. More clicks mean more advertising dollars for them. It is an energy drain for most people.

So are you addicted to social media? There are 8 signs that you might be addicted to social media:

  1. Spend a lot of time when you are offline thinking about getting back online. 
  2. Urge to use social media more and more over time. 
  3. Use it to distract from your immediate issues and problems. 
  4. Get annoyed by everything you see.
  5. Spend a LOT of time scrolling and “rabbit holing”.
  6. Can’t enjoy whatever you’re doing without posting about it. 
  7. First thing you check in the morning… (Oops that is what I do). 
  8. Social Media is simply no fun anymore. 

If you find any of those to be personally true, it may be time to take a step back from social media and detox! I find myself in the morning checking the news, youtube (I follow GSM-type stuff) and before you know it coffee is depleted and an hour plus is gone. 

4. Develop your skills

For years I have talked about the importance of developing your prepper skills set, from growing food to repairing shoes and socks. The Key is to become valuable to yourself and your community. That is the most likely key to every survival. Skills are easy to carry. Remember that. 

Unfortunately, only experience can provide you with real skills. Sure, you can watch videos or read books about these skill sets. That can be beneficial. And knowing (as opposed to experience) is better than nothing. But when times get truly tough, having that experience of those skills is better than just having watched a few videos on it. Everything here on the Trade Shack is practised by the poster. For example, I will not post a video or story about something I have not practised myself. In the course “meet BOB,” you will find that I carry some cotton balls and some vaseline. This is to create fires easy. I can carry this because I have practice with it in different scenarios, just remember the sun is not always shining. 

Experience and familiarity with skills will help you remain calm and control your emotions during high-stress events. It lessens your chance of panicking because you know what you are doing, this reflects on others. Panic and fear are contagious. So your calm, rational demeanour will impact your family and those around you, I am a loner and an introvert I go about my things generally alone. That said, here in Australia, I spend years in the Rural Fire Brigade in NSW, being deployed to big fires in the Blue Mountains, Canberra and Sydney to name a few. Because of experiences in my “previous life”, I can deal with life-threatening and stressful situations quite easy, and leading a team in those kinds of situations is second nature to me. It shows that often I was surrounded by the lesser experienced, because of my clear direction and “relaxed” attitude towards stressful situations. 

Building your own skill set will make you less dependent on the knowledge and skills of others, and you will become more resilient and self-reliant. It will also help to increase your critical thinking and problem-solving. Both of these will be CRUCIAL in an SHTF scenario.

The thought processes in your brain will have an enormous impact on your success and happiness today as well as when disaster strikes. Maintaining a positive, can-do attitude is an important skill that is essential overlooked.

Of all the survival skills considered, I think this one is the most critical to your survival in challenging times. Decision-making skills including the ability to include the ability to evaluate problems, explore possible solutions and implement appropriate actions promptly to boost your self-confidence and help you overcome fear in stressful situations.

5. Remain calm – control your emotions and let little things go

As the economy (and society in general) continues to deteriorate, the stress level of everyday people will continue to rise. Tempers will grow shorter, especially if our current situation continues to decline. Violence is on the rise across the country, and not just from hardened criminals. Every day people are letting their emotions get the better of them. And unfortunately, I do not see it getting better anytime soon. With the food shortages becoming more obvious, those who do not grow their own food will be more likely to “abuse” good neighbours, this is another good reason to create communities. Create responsibility for the local food supply, this will create a positive sense of ownership and reduces the likelihood of “food tourists” coming to and taking what you grow. 

Anger, when not controlled, can lead to some extremely bad outcomes.

As a prepper, you need to remain calm in stressful situations. Make no mistake, the direction that western society is headed is scary. More and more people are living in fear. Fear of increasing violence. Fear of their financial situation growing worse. Fear of the unknown. And fearful people are prone to lash out and do stupid, dangerous things.

So before you lay on your horn at the driver who cut you off in traffic; before you yell at a disrespectful guy at the store, stop and think, “Is this worth the potential harmful outcome?” If not, then take a deep breath, count to 10, and walk away. I want you to remember two essential survival techniques. “Do I have to be here?” and “Be grey”

If you feel your life is in danger, then by all means protect yourself. But if you can avoid the situation altogether, then do so. A huge part of preparedness is being able to spot potential troubling situations, and avoiding them.

6. Remember, you are prepping to live. Don’t live to prep

I find that as my knowledge and skill sets increase, my confidence has increased and I feel more positive and upbeat. It goes in waves, sometimes I look at the YouTube videos and realise I am nowhere near prepared. Yet then I compare, the climate I live in I can grow year around, so I do not need a fully stocked food seller. There is no need for me to have 100 jars of pickled beans. 

Be realistic, take control of YOUR situation, not some YouTube dude. 

To me, being prepared isn’t about the end of the world. It’s about knowing that you can survive whatever life throws at you. Realistically it is more about saving money, being self-sufficient and quality food. I prep to safe money in the long run, be happy and sustainable within my means. 


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