Anchoring Bias as a Barrier to Situational Awareness

There are over 100 cognitive biases that can impact situational awareness, and subsequently, decision making. Many of these biases are discussed during the Mental Management of Emergencies and Flawed Situational Awareness programs because it is important for responders to understand that we may possess a bias without knowing it and without knowing the impact of […]

19 Ways Communications Barriers Can Impact Situational Awareness

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 the quality of situational awareness erodes. In fact, flawed communications was the second most frequently cited barrier to flawed […]

Come down off the high perch of judgment

At the start of the Flawed Situational Awareness program I share a story about my early years as a company officer and subsequently as a command-level officer. Even in those days (more than 30 years ago), I held a deep desire to learn from failure and catastrophe. I read every near-miss and casualty report I […]

Relationship Bias – A barrier to situational awareness

During a recent Flawed Situational Awareness program I conducted an exercise to show just how stubborn our brains can be. Without going into too much detail here, the exercise is designed to demonstrate the consequences of relationship biases. The results of the exercise are quite predictable and consistent. Whether we like it or not, our […]

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 […]

Situational Awareness Survey

Recently 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.

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 […]

19 Ways Communications Barriers Can Impact Situational Awareness

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 the quality of situational awareness erodes. In fact, flawed communications was the second most frequently cited barrier to flawed […]

Confirmation Bias Impacts Situational Awareness

The foundation of situational awareness is capturing clues and cues in your environment – what some would call “paying attention” – and then making sense of those clues and cues – what some would call “understanding” – and then making projections of future events – what some would call “prediction.” One of the challenges in the […]

Nine Dangerous Mindsets – Part 1: The Starter

One of the human factors influencing situational awareness is the mindset of the first responder. Mindset is based on beliefs, biases and self-perception. Mindset may also be influenced by organizational culture and peer pressure. In this series I am going to explore nine potentially dangerous mindsets and share how they can impact emergency scene safety.

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