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These are articles on the SAMatters blog.

Situational Awareness Matters

The Perfect Storm

In one of my recent Mental Management of Emergencies classes a participant was describing an incident that resulted in several first responder casualties. As he shared the details, he described the unfolding of events as “The Perfect Storm.” This article will discuss the origins of that phrase and share why we should consider changing our …

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Safeguards – It’s a fair question

I had the opportunity recently to talk with a very progressive fire chief about situational awareness. I really enjoy my conversations with him because I always learn something. He was telling me that his department just hired 17 new paid-on-call members. He shared with me that during the hiring process he visits the home of …

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Overstaffing

It’s not something talked about often in situational awareness circles – over staffing. Far more often the focus is on issues of under staffing which, coincidentally, can be a significant barrier to situational awareness and can have a catastrophic impact on safety. There can be, on occasion, scenarios where an incident scene ends up having …

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Noise Impacts Situational Awareness

Some time ago I had the honor of visiting and receiving a tour of the Hong Kong Fire Department training center. Many of the props used there are similar to what I have seen in the United States. However, there was one very noticeable difference in the maze they use to train firefighters. Noise! They …

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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, …

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Stress: The Nemesis of Situational Awareness

Thank you for coming along for the ride as I discussed the impact stress has on  situational awareness and decision making. This series reads like the chronicles of a virtual chamber of horrors. First responders, emergency responders or people working in dangerous, highly stressful situations, focus a lot of attention on tactical training and skill …

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Understanding stress – Part 8: Time Distortion

Welcome to part 8 on the series dedicated to stress. In the previous segment I talked about the vulnerability of your brain to become overloaded under stress which can impact your situational awareness. In this article I’m going to talk about how your perception of time can become distorted as a result of stress.

Information Overload!

Understanding Stress – Part 7: Information Overload

Welcome to Part 7 of my series on stress and its impact on situational awareness. I appreciate all the very nice comments I have received by email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep them coming. Your messages inspire and motivate me more than you can ever imagine. Thank you so much! In the previous segment I …

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Understanding Stress – Part 6: Auditory Exclusion

Welcome to Part 6 of the Understanding Stress series. In the last segment I shared with you some of the ill-effects stress can have on vision and I made brief reference to a term that may be new to many readers – auditory exclusion. This is an important consequence of stress that can have tremendous …

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Understanding Stress – Part 5: Tunnel Vision

Welcome to Part 5 of my discussion on stress. In the last segment I talked about the positive and negative impacts of hyper vigilance and its impact on situational awareness. While stress-released hormones increase arousal of the senses, the brain struggles to process all the information coming in. If you try to process the meaning …

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