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 […]

Ten Things to Develop Situational Readiness

This website is dedicated to improving situational awareness of first responders. The precursor to situational awareness is situational readiness. I define situational readiness as: Having the ability to anticipate what things need to be in place to be well-prepared for an emergency response; and then, taking the steps necessary to ensure those things are done […]

Defensive Decision Making

The decision to be defensive or to transition tactics from offensive to defensive at a structure fire requires strong situational awareness [tweet this]   and it may be one of the hardest decisions a commander can make. The difficulty with this decision is not rooted in tactical shortcomings. The problem more fundamental.

Complacency – a barrier to situational awareness

We develop and maintain situational awareness by being perceptive about what is happening around us. To be perceptive, we must pay attention to what is going on in our environment. We can employ all of our senses to help us pay attention – seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. However, if we let our guard […]

19 Ways Communications Barriers Can Impact Situational Awareness

If you are a student of near-miss and casualty reports then you know, without a doubt, that flawed communications is a major contributing factor when things go wrong and flawed communications is often a factor when the quality of situational awareness erodes. In fact, flawed communications was the second most frequently cited barrier to flawed […]

Seven ways frustration can impact situational awareness

Anyone who’s been frustrated knows it can consume a lot of your mental energy and thinking space. This can significantly impact your situational awareness. In fact, depending on the level of frustration, your brain can be hijacked by  all-consuming thoughts about what is causing the angst. While operating at an emergency scene, frustration may draw […]

Safeguards – It’s a fair question

I had the opportunity today to talk with a very progressive fire chief about situational awareness. I really enjoy my conversations with him because I always learn something. He was telling me that his department just hired 17 new paid-on-call members. He shared with me that during the hiring process he visits the home of […]

Episode 81 | Interview with Near-Miss Survivors Tim Kohlbeck and Chase Longmiller

              This episode is an interview with Captain Tim Kohlbeck and Lieutenant Chase Longmiller of the Sheboygan Fire Department. On January 30, 2010, Captain Kohlbeck and Lieutenant Longmiller were conducting a primary search when conditions changed rapidly and they were nearly killed.   Length: 51 minutes http://traffic.libsyn.com/samatters/SAM20081207C20Interview20with20near20miss20survivors20Tim20Kohlbeck202620Chase20Longmiller.mp3

Helmet Cams and Risky Behaviors

I recently fielded a question from a Situational Awareness Matters member on the use of helmet cameras and the impact it might have on situational awareness. Here is the question: Would you please be so kind as to point me in the direction of literature, articles, websites or advice on the impact of personal cameras […]

Don’t shoot the messenger

Situational awareness is developed by combining three component parts: perception, understanding and prediction. The first part, perception, is a process of gathering information – clues and cues – about what is happening in the environment around you. Some of those clues and cues are obvious. Others are subtle. Some happen right in front of you. […]

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