Situational Awareness – It’s More Complex Than “Pay Better Attention”

If you want to improve your situational awareness, just pay better attention! Really? Oh my goodness.  No, it is hardly that simple. I just read an article where the author was giving advice about how to improve situational awareness. He said that situational awareness can be improve by paying better attention. At the very most […]

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 […]

Episode 123 | Positive and Negative Clues and Cues

  In this episode we explore how responders use positive and negative clues and cues to develop and maintain situational awareness at emergency scenes. Length: 30 minutes http://traffic.libsyn.com/samatters/SAM20123207C20Positive202620Negative20Clues202620Cues.mp3 _____________________________________________________ If you are interested in taking your understanding of situational awareness and high-risk decision making to a higher level, check out the Situational Awareness Matters Online Academy. […]

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 […]

Chatty TSA Agents

It is possible that while you are attempting to pay attention to something, you can be drawn off your task by distractions or interruptions to your workload. A distraction is something that pulls your attention away by accident (like a reflex look in the direction of a loud noise). An interruption is something that pulls […]

Duty to Die Syndrome

I recently sent out a message across my social media networks (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) about bravado being a barrier to situational awareness. The message, in case you missed it, read: Bravado: The purposeful ignorance of critical signs of danger coupled with a sense of invincibility. A barrier to situational awareness.  First responders sometimes confuse […]

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 […]

Distractions and Interruptions…What’s the Difference?

As I talk with first responders in classes about the impact of distractions and interruptions on situational awareness, I find myself often being asked: “What’s the difference?” While there are distinctly different causes for distractions and interruptions, the outcome is often very similar…a reduction in situational awareness and the potential for a catastrophic outcome. [tweet […]

Situational Awareness of Your Weakest Link

It has often been said: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” [tweet this] This is true. Regardless of how fortified the individual links are, when the chain is stressed under a load, the breaking point will be the weakest link. The same can be said of situational awareness at an emergency scene. […]

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