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 […]

Defensive Decision Making

The decision to be defensive or to transition tactics from offensive to defensive at a structure fire requires strong situational awareness [tweet this]   and it may be one of the hardest decisions a commander can make. The difficulty with this decision is not rooted in tactical shortcomings. The problem more fundamental.

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 […]

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 […]

Room for improvement

I recently read an investigation report where a firefighter died and it made me sad. First, as we see so often in after action reviews, it appears as though the tragedy may have been preventable. The second thing that made me sad about this investigation report was the inaccurate and incomplete recommendations about situational awareness. […]

Episode 42: Interview with Raleigh Battalion Chief Stephen Page

          Raleigh Fire Battalion Chief (then Captain) Stephen Page, serving on the busy Ladder 4 in downtown Raleigh, responded to restaurant fire at 311 Glenwood Avenue. The ladder crew, followed by an engine crew with a hose line, entered the heavily smoke filled environment with the mission of search and fire attack. […]

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 […]

Three types of stress

In this article we discuss three types of stress: Acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress. First responders can, and often do, experience all three. Stress can impact firefighter situational awareness and, equally concerning, stress can have devastating long-term impacts.

Station Alerting Noise Can Impact Situational Awareness

Noise can erode situational awareness in many ways. Loud noises, soft noises, lots of noise, odd noises, familiar noises, annoying noises… all noise can present challenges. In this article, I want to explore some of the challenges first responders face in a noisy environment and I’d like to share my personal example of how noise […]

Understanding Stress – Part 4: Hyper Vigilance

Welcome to part four of the series on understanding stress. In the first three segments I talked about the various kinds of stress first responders can experience. For seasoned veterans, the information shared likely served as a good review. For newer members, it may have alerted you to the stressors that may challenge your situational […]

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