Two things you should know at all times are:
Your Location: If you had to call for help do you know where you are?
You should always be able to describe your location. While it may not be practical to know the numerical address of every place you go to (even though it’s probably posted over every door you enter), you should be able to describe your location based on a few factors; the street you are on, if it is a business establishment, the name of said establishment, or by a nearby landmark.
If you are familiar with the area you are in you should be able to describe your street location by “cross-street” (“I am on Main St. between Oak St. and Elmwood Ave”).
Yelling “theres a man shooting people at the supermarket!!!” into your cell phone when there are 5 supermarkets in town isn’t going to help. Even if you say “the supermarket on Main St.” you are getting ahead of the curve. “The Giant Eagle on Main St. next to the movie theater” will get someone there without fail.
Your Direction: If a bad guy or a bad guy’s vehicle is moving, you should be able to describe the direction he is going in (and from what location he is running from). An easy way to do this is to simply figure out the directions of the streets in your area. Most streets run North, South, East or West. The next step is to know what city/town/village or county is to the N/S/E and W of yours. If you know that Anytown USA is to the east and you are on a road that it taking you to Anytown USA, then you are going east. If you are travelling on a road heading away from it (towards Othertown USA), than you are heading west. If you are running through yards and you know that if you kept on running you would eventually wind up in the City to the south of yours then you are heading south. If you are heading east and the bad guy went the other way, or turned right or left….see where this is going?
Keep in mind that streets are mostly arranged in a grid. If you turn right at an intersection and know you are going east, then if you turned right at the next intersection (or had turned at the previous one) you would be going east as well. That sounds really “well duh” I know, but it really does help you to memorize the street directions in your area.
I suggest that you frequently test yourself at random intervals. While you are driving do a “turn by turn” in your head, naming the street you are on and the direction you are travelling. When you look out your window at your neighbor’s house, is it N/S/E/or W of your house? When you are at the gas station do a sudden “address check”…either name the address or make a quick location description in your head.
While it may seem mundane, this stuff is absolutely vital.