Assumptions can be a situational awareness barrier

  We make assumptions every day. Some of them are accurate. Others are not. Assumptions occur when there is an absence of complete information. Such is the case at just about every emergency scene you respond to. Let’s explore how we make assumptions.

3 Size-up Mistakes

I recently read an article that was talking the process for sizing up a situation before making a decision. For clarification purposes, this was an article in a business journal, not a public safety journal. This got me thinking about size-up mistakes made on the fireground. The author noted that the best decisions are made […]

The communications specialist role in forming situational awareness

Some of the least appreciated members of the emergency response team are the communications specialists (in some venues, termed dispatchers). How do I know this? First, I served as a communications specialist (my job title was dispatcher) early in my career and I was routinely subjected to criticism and ridicule from responders because the information […]

What you don’t see can save you

I dedicate a lot of time during my situational awareness programs ensuring that first responders understand how clues and cues serve as the foundation for developing and maintaining good situational awareness. We also spend considerable time making the connection of how strong situational awareness becomes the foundation for good decision making. For the most part, […]

Pre Arrival Lens and Situational Awareness

The 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 […]

A situational awareness paradigm shift

Paradigm: 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 […]

Multiple Awarenesses

The 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 […]

Culture And Situational Awareness

Each member of the fire department is guided by a unique system of values, beliefs, assumptions and norms. Every member also brings their own unique habits and routines. What happens when you combine the values, beliefs, assumptions, norms, habits and routines of many unique individuals within an organization? You create culture. Organizational culture can be […]

Using the simulation environment to improve situational awareness

Many first responder training programs use simulation in the development of decision making competencies. Simulation exercises help develop skills in setting strategy and tactics, in applying policies and procedures and in developing critical thinking skills. But how can simulations be used in the development of situational awareness skills? The answer lies, in part, in understanding […]

Explaining Tunnel Vision

When it comes to developing and maintaining situational awareness, tunnel vision is a big deal. Effective situational awareness is developed from having a broad perception of the environment in which you are operating. As your focus narrows, you start to miss things. Those “missed things” are like lost puzzle pieces, leaving holes in your understanding […]

Page 1 of 212