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These are articles on the SAMatters blog.

Standards Can Harm Decision Making Under Stress

I am a big advocate of departments having standardized procedures to guide operations as tools to help develop and maintain situational awareness. I don’t really care if you call them Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs). The important thing is you have a set of commonly understood Standards that guide performance. Standards …

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Task Saturation Impacts Situational Awareness

There’s no doubt that in dynamically changing, high-risk, high-consequence environments someone could be called upon to perform many varied tasks, some at the same time. When staffing levels are low, the likelihood of this situation increases significantly. The problem this creates is the brain does not perform well when task saturated, especially in stressful situations. …

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Selective Listening Can Be A Barrier To Situational Awareness

Because first responders frequently operate in environments where there are multiple auditory inputs (e.g., radio traffic, face-to-face communications, ambient sounds, etc.) they are often forced to prioritize what they listen to (or don’t listen to). This can cause issues with situational awareness.

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 fireground outcomes. I am honored to see many of the teachings being shared here on …

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Situational Awareness and Decision Making Tips for Training

I recently received an email from a SAMatters community member asking for tips to improve size-up, situational awareness and decision making while training in a flashover simulator. It was a great question (thank you Captain Scott Byers from the Tracy Fire Department)! I offered Scott a number of ideas and thought it would be good …

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Situational Awareness and Accountability

Not long ago,  I was provided with the opportunity to present a webinar for Firehouse. The webinar was sponsored by Scott Safety. The program addressed the situational awareness/accountability connection. Thank you to Firehouse and Scott Safety for the opportunity to discuss this important topic.    

Situational Readiness of the Personal Variety

This contribution comes to Situational Awareness Matters by way of a great LinkedIn connection I made recently with Tim Greene, CEO of EMS Options LLC. I found out about Tim and his mission while surfing his bio on LinkedIn. (Yes, I am among the few who actually read about the people I get connected with …

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Ten Explanations for Unsafe Actions and a Bad Outcome

I recently had a situational awareness conversation with a firefighter who shared the details of an incident that made him both proud and disappointed. His company officer decided to do an exterior attack at a residential dwelling fire because the conditions had deteriorated to the point where an interior attack would not be warranted. This …

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Tacit Knowledge

As you traverse through life, you are constantly gathering and assessing information. This is accomplished though sensory input (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling). The senses are always on, always capturing data. Sometimes you are aware of the data being captured and sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you’re able to readily recall stored data and sometimes …

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