Mission Myopia: A situational awareness barrier

fireThe primary mission of all first responders is to save lives and property. In some agencies when a new member is inducted into the organization they take an oath of office that includes pledging their commitment to this mission. The mission is an important – even noble – calling. But what happens when a responder is blinded by the mission? The result is mission myopia.

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Posted in Attention Management, Decision Making, Distractions and Interruptions, Ego and Self-Esteem, human factors, Meta Awareness, Multitasking, Risk Assessment, Safety, size-up, Task saturation, Tunneled Senses | Leave a comment

Near-Miss Reporting System Expert Panel

Situational Awareness Matters Radio Show

Special Episode 002

Topic: Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System Expert Panel Discussion
(from Fire-Rescue International, Dallas Texas)

Situational Awareness Matters!
The purpose of the SAMatters Radio show is to improve situational awareness and decision making for individuals and teams who work in high risk, high consequence environments.

The SAMatters mission is simple… To help you see the bad things coming… in time to avoid bad outcomes.

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Posted in Accountability, Communications, Complacency, Crew Resource Management, Culture, Decision Making, Ego and Self-Esteem, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, human factors, Personal protective equipment, Risk Assessment, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines, Tacit knowledge, Teamwork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fatigue can impact situational awareness

Situational Awareness Matters Radio Show

Episode 16

Topic: Fatigue can impact situational awareness

Situational Awareness Matters!
The purpose of the SAMatters Radio show is to improve situational awareness and decision making for individuals and teams who work in high risk, high consequence environments.

The SAMatters mission is simple… To help you see the bad things coming… in time to avoid bad outcomes.

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Pre Arrival Lens and Situational Awareness

pre-arrivallensThe pre-arrival lens is a neurological phenomenon that can both help and hinder situational awareness. The “lens” is your mental view of the incident you are responding to, developed prior to your arrival and based on the triangulation of three primary data sources – dispatch information (shared via radio), past experience and imagination. This article explores how the pre-arrival lens is developed and how it can help or hinder situational awareness.

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Posted in Communications, Decision Making, firefighter situational awareness, human factors, Safety, Situational awareness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 15: Radio Communications Can Impact Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness Matters Radio Show

Episode 15

Topic: Radio communications can impact situational awareness

Situational Awareness Matters!
The purpose of the SAMatters Radio show is to improve situational awareness and decision making for individuals and teams who work in high risk, high consequence environments.

The SAMatters mission is simple… To help you see the bad things coming… in time to avoid bad outcomes.

Continue reading

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A situational awareness paradigm shift

New ParadigmParadigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them. Recent research conducted by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have revealed a flaw in a long standing paradigm about fire attack. As this blog does not focus on matters of strategy and tactics, we will focus on the situational awareness implications of the finding of the UL/NIST research.

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Posted in Accountability, Attention Management, Complacency, Decision Making, Emotions, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, human factors, Incompetence, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Stress, Task saturation, Tunneled Senses, Workload Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 14: The need for realistic training

Situational Awareness Matters Radio Show

Episode 14

Interview with Dave Casey, Director of Louisiana State Fire & Emergency Training Institute on the need for realistic training.

Situational Awareness Matters!


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Situational Awareness Survey

surveyRecently I conducted an informal survey on my social media networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), asking: In your opinion, what is the #1 barrier to situational awareness. As expected with social media, the responses were varied and some were intended to be humorous. I would like to share a few of the responses. Continue reading

Posted in firefighter situational awareness, Multitasking, Safety, Situational awareness | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Episode 13 – Training for Failure

Situational Awareness Matters Radio Show

Episode 13

Training for Failure

Situational Awareness Matters!

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Posted in Decision Making, Emotions, Fear, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, human factors, Neuroscience, Safety, Situational awareness, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Risk Versus Reward

At 2:04 am the fire department was dispatched for a fire in a commercial building. Upon arrival the first engine reports a working fire and commences with interior fire attack. Upon entry, the engine crew reports high heat conditions and low visibility, but they pressed onward. Situational awareness is marginal. Soon the second engine and first truck arrives and are pressed into action. A second line is pulled and the truck commences with rooftop ventilation. The fire conditions worsens and a second alarm is called. Additional resources are deployed with additional hose lines. Despite the tenuous conditions, the firefighters remained true to their sworn calling, fight the dragon, and valiantly declare victory. The fire is out and no one is killed, despite several close calls. Been there? Seen that? What is to result of this heroic endeavor?

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Posted in Decision Making, Risk Assessment, Safety, Situational awareness | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments