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 […]

Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity – Part 3

This 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 […]

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

If you have attended one of my new Mental Management of Emergencies programs you have learned how stress is a game-changer when it comes to firefighter situational awareness and decision making quality. Most basic training programs focus on developing cognitive knowledge and physical skills. Far less address the impact of stress on situational awareness and […]

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 […]

Sensory Conflict

The process by which situational awareness is formed begins with using your five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling) to gather information from your environment. That may arguably be the easiest part of the situational awareness developmental process so long as you are “paying attention” to your environment. Once the senses gather information, it […]

Episode 72: The dispatcher’s role in forming first responder 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 […]

Unexpected information can be a barrier to situational awareness

One of the foundations of situational awareness development is being able to make accurate predictions of future events. Making (accurate) predictions is a fairly complex neurological process that relies heavily on gathering information, comprehending the meaning of the information, tapping into your stored knowledge of past experiences, trusting your intuition and using your imagination to […]

Frustration – A barrier to situational awareness

Have you ever found yourself so frustrated at an individual or a situation that you become fixated on that issue? When this happens, oftentimes, we become hyper focused on the individual or the situation and can lose awareness of the bigger picture. When this occurs, critical clues and cues, essential to the formation of situational […]

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 […]

Fifteen Situational Awareness Barriers

The mission of Situational Awareness Matters is to help you see the bad things coming… in time to change bad outcomes. SA is a complex neurological process and I go to painstaking efforts to ensure that what I teach here, on the podcast and in classrooms is “first responder friendly.” I don’t ever want a […]

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