Mobile Data Computers and Situational Awareness

I am seeing an increase in the use of mobile data computers as a tool used by incident commanders. Commanders are using computers to capture and manage information, aid in decision making and in some cases as a tool in the development of situational awareness . On the surface, it would appear that situational awareness […]

Mobile Data Computers and Situational Awareness

I am seeing an increase in the use of mobile data computers as a tool used by incident commanders. Commanders are using computers to capture and manage information, aid in decision making and in some cases as a tool in the development of situational awareness . On the surface, it would appear that situational awareness […]

Big Data Could Spell Big Trouble

There is a lot being written these days about how “big data” can help emergency scene commanders improve situational awareness and, subsequently, make better decisions. While information (data) is critical to the formation of situational awareness, it is very easy for a commander to become overwhelmed with data. I say this often during my Mental […]

The Myth of Multitasking and Situational Awareness

Think you’re good at multitasking? If so, you are just fooling yourself. Or, perhaps more aptly stated, your brain is fooling you. Multitasking is simply a way for us to be tricked into doing a whole bunch of things, poorly, all at the same time. When it comes to managing attention, the human brain cannot […]

Situational Awareness Starts with the Size-Up

During my fireground situational awareness classes we talk about the process for making high-stress, high consequence decisions. The first step in this process is performing a rapid size up. When I ask participants how long they take to size up a single-family residential dwelling fire with no exposures, the answer I get ranges from 10 […]

Weapons of Mass Distraction

The foundation for developing situational awareness is perception – using your senses to gather information about what is happening around you. In lay terms, we call it paying attention. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to develop strong situational awareness if you are not paying attention to what is happening around you. For better […]

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, […]

Unexpected information can be a barrier to situational awareness

One of the foundations of situational awareness development is being able to make accurate predictions of future events. Making (accurate) predictions is a fairly complex neurological process that relies heavily on gathering information, comprehending the meaning of the information, tapping into your stored knowledge of past experiences, trusting your intuition and using your imagination to […]

Situational Intelligence – The new buzz word

I am just back from attending a fire conference where the vendors of information management software have coined a new buzzword to sell their wares – “situational intelligence.” A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a software vendor who claimed his software “created” situational awareness. I found this claim both annoying and […]

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