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 […]

Fifteen Situational Awareness Barriers

The mission of Situational Awareness Matters is to help you see the bad things coming… in time to change bad outcomes. SA is a complex neurological process and I go to painstaking efforts to ensure that what I teach here, on the podcast and in classrooms is “first responder friendly.” I don’t ever want a […]

Seven situational awareness thieves

Recently I had a video clip shared with me of a residential dwelling fire. The video captures a flashover event. It was reported to me that firefighters were operating inside the structure when it occurred. As I watched the video progress, it was apparent interior conditions were getting worse, the color of the smoke was […]

Explaining Tunnel Vision

When it comes to developing and maintaining situational awareness, tunnel vision is a big deal. Effective situational awareness is developed from having a broad perception of the environment in which you are operating. As your focus narrows, you start to miss things. Those “missed things” are like lost puzzle pieces, leaving holes in your understanding […]

Understanding Stress – Part 5: Tunnel Vision

Welcome to Part 5 of my discussion on stress. In the last segment I talked about the positive and negative impacts of hyper vigilance and its impact on first responder situational awareness. While stress-released hormones increase arousal of the senses, the brain struggles to process all the information coming in. If you try to process […]

Understanding Stress – Part 1: The physical, chemical and emotional impact

I get a lot of inquiries about stress during my programs. I think this is, in part, because of how pervasive stress is in the lives of first responders and the role that stress plays in firefighter situational awareness and decision making. So I thought I’d write an article about stress. Well, as it turns […]