Independent Actions Can Impact Team Situational Awareness

For some public safety agencies it is standard practice for the first arriving personnel (or crews of personnel) to deploy independently. Oftentimes these responders are highly trained, highly motivated and action oriented. What they are lacking is coordination of their efforts. The potential problem with this independent action is it may be unrealistic to think […]

Another False Alarm: A Tale of Complacency

Complacency is a big deal for first responders because it impacts your situational awareness on multiple levels. I would like to give every responder the benefit of the doubt that if or when they have found him or herself being complacent that it wasn’t happening on purpose. In other words, I hope every responder desires […]

Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity – Part 4

  This article continues the series focusing on the seemingly-insane things that some first responders do while operating in high-stress, high-consequence environments. Oftentimes, the individuals trying to make sense of these behaviors are quick to judge those on the sharp of the decision by saying things like: “They weren’t paying attention?” or “How could they […]

The Routine Call

During a recent situational awareness program a participant was discussing something that went wrong at a routine call. As the story went, the crew had been to this address numerous times for the same (or similar) problem. Each time, the issue was resolved quickly and without incident. The call was, by his words, routine.  So, […]

The Challenge of Disengagement

Why is it so hard to let go of a decision or an action once we have committed ourselves to it? As I think back on my life, it is easy for me to identify a number of times where my situational awareness eroded and it led to bad decisions. I can attribute a number […]

Weapons of Mass Distraction

The foundation for developing situational awareness is perception – using your senses to gather information about what is happening around you. In lay terms, we call it paying attention. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to develop strong situational awareness if you are not paying attention to what is happening around you. For better […]

Competing goals can impact situational awareness

  Arguably,to accomplish a mission, it would be very beneficial to have a shared set of goals that everyone understands and everyone is working together in a unified way to accomplish. Shared goals can contribute to shared situational awareness – a common understanding of what is happening and what the plan of action entails – […]

Divided Attention Test

In a recent Mental Management of Emergencies program, we were talking about multitasking. During the discussion I explained what happens when a person attempts to multitask the act of paying of attention – which is neurologically impossible by the way. This turned the discussion to a sobriety test administered by police officers called the Divided […]

Giving L.I.P. to R.I.T.

  I would like to share the results of a series of informal polls I have been conducting over the past several years. I have been conducting these surveys during my Firefighter Safety: Mistakes & Best Practices programs. Roughly 4,000 first responders have participated. There is nothing scientific about this survey or the results. It […]

Episode 13 – Training for Failure

  Available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio! (Click the icon below or search SAMatters Radio)       __________________________________________________________________ Episode 13: Training For Failure and Situational Awareness Lessons Length: 24 minutes In the feature segment we’ll talk about training for failure, how it happens and I’ll offer some advice for how to overcome it. I’ll […]

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