Radio Traffic Can Improve or Destroy Situational Awareness

When it comes to first responder radio traffic I am reminded of the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You may recall that in the story Goldilocks samples three bowls of porridge. One is too hot. One is too cold. And the third is just right. This lesson applies directly to first responder situational […]

Situational Awareness Starts with the Size-Up

During my fireground situational awareness classes we talk about the process for making high-stress, high consequence decisions. The first step in this process is performing a rapid size up. When I ask participants how long they take to size up a single-family residential dwelling fire with no exposures, the answer I get ranges from 10 […]

Five best practices for managing the mental workload

The research I have conducted on the neuroscience of situational awareness and high-risk decision making has been fascinating and extremely enlightening to me. Over the past 9 years, it has been very rewarding to take the lessons of research and apply them for the benefit of first responders. For those who have attended one of […]

Episode 60: Explaining the Dynamic Decision Making Process

              On this episode we discuss how to make decisions in dynamically changing environments and the importance of using situational awareness as the foundation for making good decisions under stress. It is the decisions that first responders make, while operating in high stress, high consequence, time compressed environments (using situational […]

Episode 59: Understanding Time Distortion

              This episode explores Tachypsychia, a neurological condition that results in the distortion of time. While there can be several causes, we’re going to focus on emergency scene stress as the trigger. Length: 40 minutes http://traffic.libsyn.com/samatters/SAM20059207C20Time20Distortion.mp3

Situational Intelligence – The new buzz word

I am just back from attending a fire conference where the vendors of information management software have coined a new buzzword to sell their wares – “situational intelligence.” A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a software vendor who claimed his software “created” situational awareness. I found this claim both annoying and […]

The Two Headed Incident Commander

A subscriber to the Situational Awareness Matters newsletter recently sent me a photograph of an emergency incident scene that caused me to reflect on a very important situational awareness lesson. This lesson, unfortunately, is often overlooked and is often implicated as a contributing factor to near-miss and casualty events. Let’s spend a little time examining […]

Staffing for the Mayday/Rapid Intervention

I recently received an inquiry from an SAMatters member asking my thoughts on front loading command personnel in the event of a Mayday. Specifically, the reader wanted to know if I thought it was a good idea. I could answer the question in one word: Yes. However, I like to help my readers build deep […]

When The Puzzle Pieces Don’t Fit

The med unit is responding to a report of a person down in a hotel room. While in route, dispatch notifies them that CPR is in progress. As they arrive a police officer meets them outside and tells them there now two victims and CPR is in progress on both. The officer further advises the […]

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