Confronting a Boss With Flawed Situational Awareness

  I recently read a post on social media where a firefighter said at an incident scene that he doesn’t worry about his situational awareness. That’s what he has an officer for. Further, he didn’t worry about having situational awareness about the larger incident scene, that’s what he has an incident commander for. I could […]

Appoint a DA to improve your SA

In the business world it is not uncommon for executives to appoint someone on the senior staff to serve as the Devil’s Advocate (DA) when considering a major strategic decision. The role of the DA is to look at the strategy from a critical perspective and to raise objections about flaws in the strategy before […]

Another False Alarm: A Tale of Complacency

Complacency is a big deal for first responders because it impacts your situational awareness on multiple levels. I would like to give every responder the benefit of the doubt that if or when they have found him or herself being complacent that it wasn’t happening on purpose. In other words, I hope every responder desires […]

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] […]

The Five Step Assertive Statement Process

You’re a firefighter assigned to a roof job. It’s a flat metal roof and there’s a lot of water on it. (Set aside for a moment all your judgement about why you’re on the roof in the first place). Your situational awareness is strong and you’re getting a gut feeling that’s causing you concern for […]

Resistance to Change

Imagine for a moment that you’re part of a 4-person first-due crew responding on to an apartment fire. On the way to the call the dispatcher announces over the radio that a caller is reporting the fire to be on the first floor of a three-story apartment building. Your company officer tells you that on […]

The Downside of Experience

Firefighting is a dangerous vocation. Nearly every aspect of the job contains some element of risk. Training and experience help us manage the risk and, hopefully, make better decisions. The goal is to gain as much experience as possible to improve skills. But there is a downside to experience as well.    

Explaining resistance to change

Imagine for a moment that you’re part of a 4-person first-due crew responding on to an apartment fire. On the way to the call the dispatcher announces over the radio that a caller is reporting the fire to be on the first floor of a three-story apartment building. Your company officer tells you that on […]

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.

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