Situational Awareness Tour Stop at FDIC

Flawed Situational Awareness BarriersThanks to everyone who got connected with me at the 2014 Fire Department Instructor’s Conference in Indianapolis last week. The conference and all the programs were amazing (as always).

I am grateful to Bobby Halton, Diane Rothschild, Cindy Huse, Tommy Grigg, Marla Patterson and the entire Fire Engineering/PennWell team for the opportunity to contribute.

The program delivered this year was a new offering of the situational awareness message.

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On-Line Academy

Promotional video created for  Situational Awareness Matters.
(Click on the crest to watch the video)

CLICK HERE for more information about Academy content and how to sign up.

OnLine Academy Crest

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SAFER Book Testimonial

Thank you to Chris Peak for sharing the following review of Situational Awareness for Emergency Response book.

Dear Dr. (Chief) Gasaway,

I am not an expert in book reviews or any “science”. That is something I think should be mentioned. I am a Fire Fighter and Emergency responder second to a husband and a father. I have others in my command on emergency scenes on a regular basis. Thus, I have the simplest and most complex job on scene “make sure we all do the best we can to make it back home alive and uninjured.”

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Mobile Data Computers and Situational Awareness

Mobile Data Terminal

Mobile Data Computer

I am seeing an increase in the use of mobile data computers as a tool used by incident commanders. Commanders are using computers to capture and manage information, aid in decision making and in some cases as a tool in the development of situational awareness . On the surface, it would appear that situational awareness could improve if command vehicles were equipped with technology that would aide in data and information management. However, there may be danger lurking in the shadows. Let me explain… Continue reading

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Multiple Awarenesses

Situational Awareness MattersThe mission of this website and my personal passion for situational awareness is to help first responders see the bad things coming in time to change the outcome. Consistent with that mission, I try to help responders understand how various aspects of the job - from training, to human factors, to command competence and everything in between – can influence situational awareness in high-stress, high-consequence decision making environments.

Now I want to introduce you to the concept that you have multiple situational awarenesses, three in fact. Each dimension of situational awareness requires you to capture clues and cues, comprehend those clues and cues into meaning and to predict future events. Let’s explore the three dimensions of your situational awareness.

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19 Ways Communications Barriers Can Impact Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness Matters!If you are a student of near-miss and casualty reports then you know, without a doubt, that flawed communications is a major contributing factor when things go wrong and flawed communications is often a factor when situational awareness is lost.

In fact, flawed communications was the second most frequently cited barrier to flawed situational awareness in my research, second only to staffing issues.

But how does communications get so messed up at emergency scenes? Let’s explore some of the barriers to effective communications.

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Posted in Attention Management, Auditory exclusion, Communications, Crew Resource Management, Culture, Decision Making, Distractions and Interruptions, Emotions, Equipment, firefighter situational awareness, human factors, Information overload, Safety, Situational awareness, Stress, Teamwork, Tunneled Senses | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity-Part 3

InsaneThis series is focused on the seemingly insane things that first responders do while operating in high-stress, high consequence environments. Oftentimes, those trying to make sense of these behaviors are quick to judge the participants, saying things like: “How could they be so stupid?” or “What were they thinking?” or perhaps the worst one of all “I would never do something so dumb!”

Could it be the responders didn’t understand they were in a bad spot? Lessons in neuroscience would affirm this not only can happen, but it does happen and more often than we would wish. Let’s explore the challenge of comprehension.

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Posted in Attention Management, Auditory exclusion, Communications, Confabulation, Crew Resource Management, Decision Making, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, human factors, Information overload, Neuroscience, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Stress, Tacit knowledge, Task saturation, Workload Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity – Part 2

InsanityIn this segment, we continue our discussion about the seemingly insane things that firefighters do at structure fires. I use the word insane not because the firefighters suffer from a mental affliction. Rather, I use the word insane because we keep doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results.

This meets Einstein’s definition of insanity and is the foundation for the use of this term in this context. Here we explore peer pressure as a contributor to the insanity.

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Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity – Part 1

EinsteinAlbert Einstein is credited with saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.” If you have spent time reading a large number of firefighter fatality reports, you might start to see the real-life manifestation of Einstein’s definition of insanity. In fact, I would go as far as to say we’ve got to the point where we are discovering very few new ways to kill firefighters. Rather, we’re taking all the ways we already know how to do it and we’re perfecting it by doing it over and over… and over… and over… again. This is Einstein’s insanity personified. Here we will examine some potential explanation for this insanity.

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Expect the Unexpected and Improve your Situational Awareness

The advice “expect the unexpected” can lead to a great deal of criticism. For example, if one can expect something to happen, then it is (technically) no longer unexpected… and so on. Setting all the hair-splitting aside, to expect the unexpected is to anticipate the possibilities of events occurring in advance of them actually occurring.  For example…

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