The impact of over sharing on situational awareness

Have you ever been around someone who takes twenty minutes to tell a five-minute story? What does that do to you? I know what it does to me. It lowers my vigilance (i.e., the amount of attention I am channeling to them), it can cause me to become frustrated, bored, tune them out and find […]

360° Size Up

 It’s really quite a simple premise. To capture clues and cues requires seeing or hearing them. At a structure fire, the visual clues and cues occupy a finite environment- the building and the space around the building. I am nothing short of astounded by the number of firefighters telling me they don’t complete a 360° size up […]

Expect the Unexpected and Improve Your Situational Awareness

The advice “expect the unexpected” can lead to a great deal of criticism. [tweet this] 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 […]

A Recipe From Hell’s Kitchen – Part 4

In  this segment of the Recipe From Hell’s Kitchen series, I share the fourth step of the recipe – complacency – and more specifically letting your safety guard down and how it can result in failure to learn, implement and practice nationally accepted best practices. As complacency sets in, an organization can lose its inertia and its […]

A Recipe From Hell’s Kitchen – Part 2

In this segment of the Recipe From Hell’s Kitchen series, I share the second step of the recipe – consequence. [tweet this] Rather, the lack of consequence and the impact this may have on firefighter situational awareness. One of the outcomes you might expect when there is incompetent behavior is an injury – a consequence. […]

A Recipe From Hell’s Kitchen – Part 1

I am blessed. My work allows me to uncover many lessons from human behavior and cognitive neuroscience research that benefit the situational awareness of first responders. My 30+ years in fire and EMS positions me well to understand how those lessons can improve our safety. It has truly become my passion and my calling. [This […]

Two Key Ways to Improve Learning and Recall

Is there a role for humor while training first responders on critical, life-saving, skills?[tweet this] The flight attendant begins dolling out the obligatory, in fact, federally mandated, pre-flight safety instructions. If you’re a frequent flyer, your situational awareness is probably pretty low. You know the routine and it’s boring. If you’re an infrequent flyer, the […]

We Must Stop The Insanity: Part 2

Welcome to the second article in the four-part We Must Stop The Insanity situational awareness series. In Part 1, posted October 27, I talked about flawed size-ups. In this segment, I’m going to discuss why firefighters fail to be defensive when the fire conditions indicate offensive operations are inappropriate.

We Must Stop The Insanity: Part 1

The training practices used in many communities are setting up emergency response personnel for failure and flawed situational awareness. The sad part is most don’t even realize they’re doing it. When casualties occur, so do investigations. The investigations result in recommendations for how to prevent future casualty events. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and […]

Penalties and Discipline Will Not Improve Safety

I read with great interest (and concern) an article recently published about how the San Francisco Fire Department is being fined $21,000 by state investigators for violations to safety laws that led to the deaths of two firefighters on June 2. My concern for this action is not an attempt, in any way, to diminish […]

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