It is not unusual to see people standing outside 24-hour stores, even late at night. Also, most convenience stores have numerous hiding spots, such as corners, ice machines, trashcans and gas pumps. So, even if no one is apparent, there could be someone sitting or standing in a secluded location. This doesn’t mean the person has bad intentions, but folks still need to go to a higher condition level above relaxed awareness (Condition Yellow) when entering these zones.
Hyper Awareness in Transitional Zones
With no disrespect meant to Col. Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite, there really needs to be another condition level between yellow and orange specifically for these situations. These zones require more situational awareness than Condition Yellow, but doesn’t quite require going to Condition Orange. It is almost like a “what if” condition should be used. Thinking about what might happen gets one to thinking tactically.
To start, get off the phone and walk through these areas with the head up and eyes open. That way you can see what might potentially be a problem and determine the best way to avoid it. This might include waiting a minute to see what might happen or walking to the other side of a door to keep the gun hand free. It might also mean that it would be better to head to another location. Every potential situation is different.
Col. Cooper’s Awareness Color Code
Condition White is unaware. This typically involves being asleep, fatigued or impaired by drugs or alcohol for self-defense advocates. It is also the level that where the average person stays.
Condition Yellow keeps a person in relaxed awareness. He or she is aware of surroundings and the people nearby, and includes paying attention to body language.
Condition Orange means that something might not be right. At this point, people need to be planning for evasion and fighting, if needed.
Condition Red means the situation has escalated to decisive and immediate action. At this point, a person is trying to escape or fighting for life.