Author Archives: Rich Gasaway

About Rich Gasaway

Richard B. Gasaway served 33 years on the front lines as a firefighter, EMT-Paramedic and fire chief. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree while studying how individuals, teams and organizations develop and maintain situational awareness and make decisions in high stress, high consequence, time compressed environments. Dr. Gasaway is widely considered to be one of the nation's leading authorities on first responder situational awareness and decision making. His material has been featured and referenced in more than 400 book chapters, research projects, journal articles, podcasts, webinars and videos. His research and passion to improve workplace safety through improved situational awareness is unrivaled. Dr. Gasaway's leadership and safety programs have been presented to more than 42,000 first responders, emergency managers, medical providers, military personnel, aviation employees, industrial workers and business leaders throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

How Flawed Expectations Can Impact Situational Awareness

The development of situational awareness happens on a three-tiered continuum. It begins with perceiving your environment. Then, what is perceived must be understood (and this is not as simple as it may appear). Finally, understanding is used to predict the … Continue reading

Posted in Attention Management, cognitive bias, Decision Making, expectations, firefighter situational awareness, human factors, Leadership, Predicting, Risk Assessment, Safety, Tacit knowledge, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 32: Tips for improving situational awareness

        __________________________________________________________________   This episode discusses 12 tips for developing and maintaining situational awareness and reviews a firefighter near miss from a flashover and mayday. Length: 22 minutes http://traffic.libsyn.com/samatters/SAM_32__12_Ways_to_Situational_Awareness.mp3

Posted in Accountability, Checklists, Communications, Complacency, Culture, Decision Making, firefighter situational awareness, human factors, Incompetence, Mayday and RIT, PAR, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Teamwork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twelve Ways to Situational Awareness

Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas everyone! I know everyone’s feeling particularly festive this time of year and I have caught the Christmas spirit in a very situational awareness sort of way. Surely you’ve heard of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Complacency, Culture, Decision Making, Gasaway Consulting Group, human factors, Incompetence, Information overload, Safety, Situational awareness, Situational Readiness, size-up, Staffing, Stress, Teamwork, Training, Workload Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Episode 31: Out of air! Close call survivor story.

        __________________________________________________________________   On Wednesday, February 18, 2009, Elyria Fire Captain Joe Pronesti responded to a fire alarm activation call on a college campus. The first arriving engine reported heavy smoke coming from multiple buildings. In search of … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Close Call Survivor, Communications, Complacency, Crew Resource Management, Culture, Decision Making, Ego and Self-Esteem, Emotions, Equipment, Fatigue, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, human factors, Mental Models, Personnel location, Risk Assessment, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Staffing, Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines, Teamwork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anchoring Bias as a Barrier to Situational Awareness

There are over 100 cognitive biases that can impact situational awareness, and subsequently, decision making. Many of these biases are discussed during the Mental Management of Emergencies and Flawed Situational Awareness programs because it is important for responders to understand … Continue reading

Posted in anchoring, Attention Management, Auditory exclusion, cognitive bias, Distractions and Interruptions, Ego and Self-Esteem, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, human factors, Meta Awareness, Neuroscience, Repetition, Safety, Tacit knowledge | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 30: Brooklyn Park FD Carbon Monoxide Close Call Story

        __________________________________________________________________   On Saturday, September 13, 2014, the Brooklyn Park Fire Department was dispatched to a medical call that had the potential to be catastrophic for the members of their department, their EMS transport provider and their … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Close Call Survivor, Communications, Complacency, Crew Resource Management, Culture, Distractions and Interruptions, Equipment, firefighter situational awareness, Intuition, Personal protective equipment, Risk Assessment, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines, Tacit knowledge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Situational Awareness is a Complex Topic

The topic of situational awareness is growing in popularity in the fire service and this is a good thing. For decades the casualty reports have revealed that flawed situational awareness leads to poor decision making and has contributed to tragic … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Attention Management, Communications, Complacency, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, Safety, Staffing, Teamwork, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 29: Interview with Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer

        __________________________________________________________________ On July 5, 2013, the Spokane Fire Department responded to a reported commercial building fire at the Mayfair Professional Building, located at 5901 North Mayfair. Within two minutes of the alarm, the first arriving company found … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, building construction, Close Call Survivor, Communications, Crew Resource Management, Decision Making, firefighter situational awareness, Risk Assessment, Safety, Situational awareness, size-up, Staffing, Teamwork, Time distortion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chatty TSA agents

It is possible that while you are attempting to pay attention to something, you can be drawn off your task by distractions or interruptions to your workload. A distraction is something that pulls your attention away by accident (like a … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Attention Management, Auditory exclusion, Decision Making, Distractions and Interruptions, human factors, Information overload, Multitasking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 28: Interview with technology guru Darrell O’Donnell

        __________________________________________________________________ On this episode, I interview technology guru Darrell O’Donnell. Darrell runs a successful technology coaching and consulting firm where he works to bridge the gap between technology experts and first responders. Darrell has a special passion … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Close Call Survivor, Communications, Computers, Crew Resource Management, Culture, Decision Making, Ego and Self-Esteem, Emotions, Fear, firefighter situational awareness, Human Behavior, Information overload, Leadership, Neuroscience, Safety, Situational awareness, Standard Operating Procedures/Guidelines, Teamwork, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment