What is the “fight or flight response”?
This is our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival.
As a security guard, you are constantly faced with perceived danger, whether real or something out of our imagination.
How does this affect your performance? … and How do you know the right action to take in any given situation?
Let’s find out.
When and if ever you are faced with a threatening situation (This may simply be as a result of a sudden sound) your inborn fight or flight syndrome will kick in.
… If you recognize these symptoms you can either opt for “flight”, meaning you get yourself as far as possible from the danger without taking action or finding out more about the situation.
… OR, you may stand up and “fight” the urge to flee. A Fight doesn’t necessarily mean physical violence, it means being aware and in control of your emotions so that you take the best course of action, which may very well be to flee. It is about keeping control of the situation and keeping others safe.
How the body responds to different levels of outside stress can vary from one person to the next.
It is not that easy to decide what to do under this kind of pressure. We need very good preparation and some experience to handle difficult situations.
The more training security guards receive ahead of placement, the more skillful they’ll be in managing their own fight or flight responses
Here are some of the ways security guards successfully handle their instincts
- Get more training: Even after getting your certificate and have started work, educate yourself as much as possible. Take on more hands-on courses, go online and read as much as you can. Example: different case studies, Call your training school and ask questions.
- Recognize Pre-Assault Indicators: By recognizing the symptoms and signs of being in fight or flight situation, security guards can begin to take steps to handle the stress overload.
Here are some indicators of situations where you have to be more alert and follow your training.
- Scanning the Area: Is the suspect in question looking around intently and suspiciously when they have spotted you. Are they looking for their backup or yours?
- Closed Fists: This is a classic indicator of tension and aggression
- Targeted Glance: Are they looking intently at your belt if you have a weapon?
- Targeted stare: Is their stare more than just a dirty look?
- “ The 45 Degree” Stance: Are they getting ready to attack? This 45 degree stance is an angle pose that many people agree is a stance for an ideal position to launch an attack from.
- Closing the distance: Are they trying to get closer with intent?
- Maneuvering to cut off your escape route: This usually involves a sort of circling maneuver, perhaps accompanied by closing the distance simultaneously.
3. Changing your perception of the reality: This includes any technique whereby we seek to change our mental perspectives, our attitudes, our beliefs and our emotional reactions to the events that happen to us.
According to Dr. Neil MD “Changing our perceptions of reality is best illustrated by the proverbial saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Without actually changing our reality, we can alter our perception of reality—viewing the difficulties of life as events that make us stronger and more loving. In the Buddhist tradition, this is referred to as developing a “supple mind.””
4. Physical Exercise: This doesn’t mean having a 6 pack or being muscular, When we exercise regularly, we restore our body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state by metabolizing excessive stress hormones. In this state, security officers are better equipped to remember their training and to make rash decisions that will ultimately save lives.
5. Know your environment: Security officers are usually tasked with the responsibility of a wide region. This may be a mall, a warehouse, a construction site or just a residential home. Knowing your environment very well can help you deal with tense situations like sudden noises, decision making during danger and anticipating aggressors actions. Even during your off-duty hours, take the time to patrol the area and know more about hidden corners, escape routes, blind spots and everything you can find out.
Make smarter choices and remember to educate yourself. The more you get training, the more you educate yourself to better understand your fight or flight syndrome and how it impacts your job as a security guard, the more equipped you will be to handle and anticipate difficult situations.