Situational Awareness Safety Tips from Cooper’s Color Code of Awareness- Combat Mindset & Alertness

Both men and women benefit by developing self-defense awareness. Situational awareness comes by paying attention to your surroundings, even when you have pressures at work, family problems or other situations that compete for your attention.

Human society is filled with dangers on all levels and while we sometimes rely on security officers and members of the police and military for the main part of our defenses, alert individuals can do a lot to prevent harm from coming to themselves and others.


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Situational Awareness in the Workplace and Elsewhere

Schools, banks, homes and even places of worship can all be dangerous places. In the United States alone, there have been several attacks at institutions of learning in recent years. Fast action by quick thinking teachers and students sometimes helped to prevent loss of life in these situations. Sometimes noticing that someone in your vicinity is acting suspiciously can prompt you to alert officers who can detain them or take action to keep yourself safe.

Situational awareness goes even further. People put themselves in danger by not noticing computer cables that are spread carelessly in their path, drivers who are overtaking recklessly in front of them or pots of hot water that are precariously positioned on kitchen counters. Situational awareness allows you to use avoidance techniques to reduce your risk of being harmed. It gives you more control over what happens to you from day to day.


Cooper’s Color Code

Whether you are driving, walking or out for a morning run with your pet, Cooper’s Color Code of Awareness presents guidelines that can help you to spot threats quickly. The Code was developed by John Cooper, a U.S. Marine, writer and firearms instructor. He developed the Modern Technique of shooting handguns and is thought of as a leading international expert on small arms. He has trained many civilians, law enforcement and military personnel in the proper use of firearms for personal protection. However, throughout his lessons he emphasizes the combat mindset as being essential to emerging safely from any confrontation.

John Cooper was the first to use the color code to indicate an individual’s mental state. He stressed that it was important for any individual to be able to quickly move from one mental state to another in order to handle any situation properly. For example, a mother would have to be able to shift from the more relaxed mindset associated with playing with her children to one where she assesses the level of peril to herself and her kids while hiking and is willing to do something about it.


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What Poses a Threat To Individuals Varies

Everyone has a level of peril that makes them willing to take action. Whether you have a weapon or fighting skills that allow you to defend yourself or give yourself time to get away from a threat, your rate of success will depend on whether you have a combat mindset.

There are several cases of licensed firearm holders who have their weapons taken away from them by thieves or freeze in the face of danger. They are in the white zone.


Situational Awareness Color Code- The White Zone

The White Zone indicates the lowest level of preparedness for handling threats. People in this zone are completely unprepared and are usually in shock or denial even while the event is taking place. This sometimes happens to tourists who visit a foreign country and because they are on vacation, they relax their boundaries.

They are more trusting of a man with a big bag who brushes up against them on the street, even though if they were at home, they would immediately suspect that person of being a pickpocket. The thing that may save people in this situation is the unpreparedness of their attacker.


Situational Awareness Color Code- The Yellow Zone

Cooper recommends that people should always be in the Yellow Zone when they are in an unfamiliar situation. Always use your eyes, ears and nose when you are around people who are new to you or even when you go somewhere new with people who are familiar.

If you go to a new club with friends or a church missions trip in a new city, be aware of your surroundings. If you carry a licensed firearm, always be aware that you may have to shoot it on that day.


Situational Awareness Color Code- The Orange Zone

People who are in the Orange Zone have definitely noticed something suspicious. It may not be something that they can quite put their finger on but they sense that something is wrong.

Perhaps they noticed a car following them for a long distance or enter a public building and detect an unfamiliar scent. Men and women in this situation may specifically tell themselves that if another person takes a certain action, they will have to counterattack in a predetermined way.



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Situational Awareness Color Code- The Red Zone

In the Red Zone, an attacker has done something that triggers a response and the fight has started. People are also willing to take certain levels of action as the threat to their lives and property increases. If they cannot defend themselves by kicking an attacker in the shins or groin or shooting them in the leg and getting time to run away, they may use lethal force if they see that this is necessary to protect their own life. Black is also used by the USMC to indicate the fighting state but that was not part of the original color code that Cooper developed.

There is no need to put yourself in jeopardy, whether you are at school, work or out fishing. Most criminals are opportunists who only take action when the ideal chance presents itself to them. Similarly, there are many people in hospital or at clinics who took careless actions and hurt themselves. Always be attentive, aware of your surroundings and ready to respond to any threats that you see.

By thinking according to the color code you are able to assess the level of danger to you in a logical manner. Detecting the amount of danger present can even help to decrease injuries and harm in your own home.You are also able to prepare yourself psychologically for what may be a difficult step to take. However, by conditioning your mind and habitually being aware, you will be more prepared to do what is necessary every time that you are in a dangerous situation.


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