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 […]

Radio Discipline

A frequent contributing factor in firefighter casualty incidents is too much radio traffic. This can have a significant impact on first responder situational awareness because it becomes near impossible to take in, process, comprehend and remember the volumes of information being transmitted over the radio when communication is not disciplined. This article explores some of […]

Radio Show

Available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio! (Click the icon below or search SAMatters Radio)       __________________________________________________________________ Episode 157 This episode is part seven of a nine-part serious on dangerous mindsets that first responders can develop and I offer some advice for dealing with each. This week we talk about the super hero mindset. […]

Episode 15: Radio Communications Can Impact Situational Awareness

  Available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio! (Click the icon below or search SAMatters Radio)       __________________________________________________________________ Episode 15: Radio Communications Can Impact Situational Awareness Length: 18 minutes http://traffic.libsyn.com/samatters/SAM_015__Radio_Traffic_Can_Impact_Situational_Awareness.mp3  

The impact of over sharing on situational awareness

Have you ever been around someone who takes twenty minutes to tell a five-minute story? What does that do to you? I know what it does to me. It lowers my vigilance (i.e., the amount of attention I am channeling to them), it can cause me to become frustrated, bored, tune them out and find […]

Situational Awareness Survey

Recently I conducted an informal survey on my social media networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), asking: In your opinion, what is the #1 barrier to situational awareness. As expected with social media, the responses were varied and some were intended to be humorous. I would like to share a few of the responses.

Tracking of personnel

Accountability: A critically important component to emergency scene safety when personnel operate in a hazardous environment. From the perspective of situational awareness, accountability plays several roles. The obvious role is personnel accountability facilitates the rapid deployment of rescue teams if something goes awry. Command knows the crew sizes and where they are operating at and […]

Communications Overload Impacts Situational Awareness

In reading casualty reports you will often see issues related to communications as a contributing factor. Miscommunications, lack of communications or too much radio traffic (to include overloaded radio channels) are often cited. It is the last of these issues I want to address. There is an inherent cognitive consequence from too much communications that […]

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 […]

Nine considerations when evaluating incident command software

As you attend conferences that have vendor display areas, pay attention to how many incident management software vendors claim to have programs that can “develop situational awareness” in first responders. This claim is often founded on the belief that as the software is able to capture, assemble and display layers and layers of data that, […]

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