Assumptions can be a situational awareness barrier

  We make assumptions every day. Some of them are accurate. Others are not. Assumptions occur when there is an absence of complete information. Such is the case at just about every emergency scene you respond to. Let’s explore how we make assumptions.

Aggressiveness and Situational Awareness

I was recently contacted by email from a Situational Awareness Matters member asking if aggressiveness and safety can co-exist at an emergency scene. My answer was “of course they can.” The two actions, being safe and being aggressive are not mutually exclusive. To think they are is to believe responders must sacrifice safety when they […]

Meta Awareness

  Developing and maintaining situational awareness at an emergency scene can be a very challenging task. Scenes are often stressful, complex, time-compressed, and complicated with rapidly-changing conditions. Responders have lots of information to process and many tasks to perform. And, sadly, situational awareness isn’t always the forefront on their minds. Under such conditions, meta awareness […]

Situational Awareness Begins With Knowing Your Equipment

I received an email from a firefighter who was frustrated, disappointed, and angry. He came to work for his shift and, as he always does, started his day by performing a safety check of his personal gear and his self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). When he opened the cabinet door on the apparatus he could hardly […]

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 […]

Explanations for Situational Awareness Insanity – Part 2

In this segment, we continue our discussion about the seemingly insane things that firefighters do at structure fires. I use the word insane not because the firefighters suffer from a mental affliction. Rather, I use the word insane because we keep doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results.  [tweet this] […]

Fatigue Impacts Situational Awareness

Research has shown that fatigue can impact situational awareness in disturbing ways. [tweet this] Some responders think if they take a “safety nap” it will help. In a small way, it may, as any rest is better than no rest. However, a nap does not resolve systemic fatigue. Rest is a critical component to brain function and […]

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 […]

Mobile Data Computers and Situational Awareness

I am seeing an increase in the use of mobile data computers as a tool used by incident commanders. Commanders are using computers to capture and manage information, aid in decision making and in some cases as a tool in the development of situational awareness . On the surface, it would appear that situational awareness […]

Mobile Data Computers and Situational Awareness

I am seeing an increase in the use of mobile data computers as a tool used by incident commanders. Commanders are using computers to capture and manage information, aid in decision making and in some cases as a tool in the development of situational awareness . On the surface, it would appear that situational awareness […]

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