Will Denial Make the Problem Better or Worse?

I received the following feedback to a recent Situational Awareness Newsletter. I thought I’d share it and use it as an introduction to this article. Here’s what he had to say: __________ I forwarded your newsletter to every one of my email contacts. The newsletter was especially appropriate  for some of the people on my mailing list […]

Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity – Part 5

This is going to be, admittedly, an uncomfortable read for some. But, nonetheless it is a conversation we need to have. I need to discuss the “F” word. No, not THAT “F” word. The “F” word that is more dreaded than the F-bomb – Fear. Many first responders enjoy discussing fear as much as they […]

The Irrational Obsession With Loss

There is a growing body of research revealing that many human’s have an irrational obsession with loss. Or, perhaps more accurately, an irrational obsession with AVOIDING loss. This phenomenon is something I have seen played out in my evaluation of many casualty incidents. Ironically, the human trait to avoid loss is the same trait that […]

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 […]

Twelve Ways to Situational Awareness

Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas everyone! With Thanksgiving a day in the past, it is officially the Christmas season! I know everyone’s feeling particularly festive this time of year and I have caught the Christmas spirit in a very situational awareness sort of way. Surely you’ve heard of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” -You know […]

Fear can be a barrier to situational awareness

Everyone has fears and fear can certainly impact a person’s situational awareness. Some people are better at controlling their fears while others are controlled by their fears. Some people mask their fears well while others wear their fear on their sleeves. Some people live in denial of their fears and others face their fears and […]

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 […]

The Normalization of Deviance

It’s an odd term… normalization of deviance. But the term, and the premise behind the term, provides a valuable explanation as to some of the behaviors we observe in the first responder world. Defining the terms Normalization: To make normal; to make an established standard. Deviance: Departing from the norm; performing in a non-standardized way.

Team Situational Awareness

This is going to be an uncomfortable conversation as we talk about assessing your team to identify your weak links – the members who are not adequately trained, prepared or fit to perform the duties of a firefighter. During my SA programs we talk about the need to complete a situational awareness “size-up” of the […]

Mission Myopia: A situational awareness barrier

The primary mission of all first responders is to save lives and property. In some agencies when a new member is inducted into the organization they take an oath of office that includes pledging their commitment to this mission. The mission is an important – even noble – calling. But what happens when a responder […]

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