These are the first responder situational awareness and decision making issues and opportunities related to checklists.

First, Do No Harm!

Primum non nocere is the Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” This is a commonly taught principle in healthcare. In fact, the Hippocratic Oath, taken by doctors, promises they will abstain from doing harm to their patients. The premise is it may be better to NOT do something or to do nothing at …

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Every EMS Call Starts with Scene Safety

“Scene Safe, BSI.” These words have been uttered by every first responder who has ever received medical training. In fact, any responder who has performed a practical exercise for certification knows the first two mandatory skills to be completed on the evaluation checklist are: (1) Ensure the scene is safe before entering, and (2) Don …

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Episode 180 | Accountability

  This episode explores how accountability can improve situational awareness. Length: 37 minutes click the YouTube icon to listen             _____________________________________________________ If you are interested in taking your understanding of situational awareness and high-risk decision making to a higher level, check out the Situational Awareness Matters Online Academy. CLICK HERE for details, …

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Are You Assuming Risk or Creating Risk?

I recently read an article where the author was taking exception to the risk management maxim: ‘We will risk a lot to save a lot and risk little to save little.’ There are several variations on this maxim, including: ‘Great risks will be taken to save savable lives; Moderate risks will be taken to save …

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Aggressive versus conservative

There is an ongoing debate in the fire service. Unless you are unplugged from social media and online journals, you’re surely aware of it. On one end of the argument are those who believe the fire service is tactically too aggressive and purport this may be contributing to casualties. On the other side of the …

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Actions of the first-in officer

During a recent Flawed Situational awareness program, I engaged the class in a discussion of what the actions of the first-in officer should be once the decision is made to be offensive/interior. The choices were: a.) Make entry with the crew; b.) Establish a fixed command position outside and send the crew in without the …

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Crawl, Walk, Run Theory of Skill Development

The inspiration for this article comes from Situational Awareness Matters member and Fire Chief, Todd Johnson, and the members of the Woodbury Fire Department. I was invited to observe a skills-based training evaluation that was more than a year in the making and involved over 100 practice exercises. The crews were dispatched to a structure …

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Time to Task Completion is Critical

Your highest level of situational awareness is formed when you are able to make accurate predictions about future events. In science we call this projection and it simply means you are able to predict, or project, the future events. This is accomplished through mental models you develop that are founded in your training and experience. …

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