Asking if you’re on green is a standard question around our house. You see, my grandson is in kindergarten and having a ‘green day’ is a really good thing. This means he participated, followed directions, and overall had an excellent, well behaved day.
Kindergarten is not the only place a color scale used. We all know about the Homeland Security Advisory System that spans from green to red. It’s a color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale. Green being the low risk of terrorist attacks and red being a severe risk of attacks. Since 9/11, I can’t recall the U.S. being on anything less than yellow. Yellow, which stands for ‘elevated, with a significant risk of terrorist attacks’, is the new norm.
For us adults, there’s yet another scale. Originally developed for special forces and military, it’s a scale used in self defense and known as the color code of mental awareness. Often this is referred to as situational awareness. Lowest on the scale is condition white - unaware of your surroundings and unprepared for any danger. The highest on the scale is condition black - under attack and in the fight for survival.
My interpretation of this scale in everyday life:
Condition white: walking and so 'into' viewing your cell phone you trip, stubble or run into something. Or so busy/preoccupied shopping at the mall, you forget to dig out your keys before arriving at your car. If you are in condition white, you are likely to be a victim. Predators are looking for people in this condition. They want you preoccupied as you are so much easier to overcome.
Condition yellow: looking around and noticing those around you. Not frightened but aware. You are prepared and cautious while you go about normal everyday errands, outings. Prepared even at home, locking doors, cars and windows.
Condition orange: on high alert, you recognize something is not right. Often your body tells you something isn’t right. That feeling in your gut, hair standing up on you neck. There is a possible threat and it is recognized.
Condition red: you know there is a real problem. You are under attack and fighting back, taking cover or neutralizing any threat.
Condition black: in the fight, maybe the fight of your life. Likely experiencing tunnel vision seeing only the threat at hand. In a panic state, possibly unable to properly react without training. You know the threat is real.
As we head into the holiday season, it’s a good time to remind us all to be safe. Here are a few suggestions:
Stay on yellow, look those you pass in the eye - this says ‘ I see you’.
Lock your car doors while getting gas or waiting for others in your car
Having your car keys at hand and even making two trips to the car so you have a free hand.
When dining out, seat yourself where you see entrances, know your available exit routes/doors.
Enjoy that movie at the theater, get seated early checking out the paths and obstacles before the lights go down.
After gift giving, break down the cardboard boxes, turning them inside out. No need to advertise your brand new 60” television set.
Have a great holiday season and stay safe - are you on yellow???