Situational awareness and vigilance tips for ourselves and our families!

By | September 29, 2014

The unimaginable attack at an Oklahoma plant last week was a stark and unfortunate reminder that the need for vigilance and situational awareness has grown more acute!

And while this topic is an uncomfortable one that some may prefer to ignore, it’s critical to at the very least follow some basic and fundamental rules for personal and family safety.

The tips that are provided below are by no means all-encompassing but they lay some excellent groundwork.

Fundamentals of Individual Protection include:

General Awareness Tips.

  • Maintain situational awareness of your surroundings at all times. Pay particularattention to activity happening around you in order to identify anything unusual. If necessary, leave the area and report suspicious activity or behavior to localauthorities.
  • Protect your personal information at all times. Do not reveal details of yourpersonal life (such as where you live, work, family members, your associationwith the U.S. military, email address or phone numbers) to anyone you don’tknow and trust.
  • Do not discuss personal information in public, on the telephone or on the internet. Take extra precaution with social media networks (such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs) — avoid posting or providing personal information. Criminals and terrorists are known to use these forums for open source information gathering and for recruitment and these media do not provide“secure” communications.

Individual Awareness at Home:

  • Basic security begins with the home. Make sure your door and window locksand exterior lighting function properly. Children should keep doors and windows locked when home alone.
  • Participate in a neighborhood watch program to establish a shared responsibility for the safety and security of your local community.
  • Be prepared for an emergency that may require your family to “shelter-in-place” or relocate on short notice. Make a family emergency plan and ensure all family members understand what to do in each of these scenarios.

Individual Awareness at Work:

  • Know the emergency evacuation procedures for the place where you work.
  • Know the bomb threat procedures and how to report threats to local law enforcement or security authorities.
  • Understand what to do in an “active shooter” threat scenario.

Individual Awareness while Traveling:

  • Maintain a “low profile.” Try to blend in with the local populace through how you dress and your appearance — especially when traveling abroad. Know the locations of safe havens and carry with you the emergency telephone numbers.
  • Understand the culture where you are traveling and learn basic survival phrases (such as “I need a police officer” and “I need a doctor”).
  • Avoid civil disturbances or demonstrations of any kind – these events can turn violent with little to no advanced warning.
  • Public venues with large crowds present lucrative terrorist targets. Understand the risks of attending public venues based on the history of terrorist attacks in your area and security provided at the event.
  • Never travel alone; always travel in groups of two or more. Think ahead and choose safe travel modes and routes.


Written by Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service, New York.

HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions specializing in the areas of New York City, Long Island and Westchester.

Remember that you have the right to choose your own title company (click here to learn more)!

If you have any questions you can reach Michael by email at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.