Firefighter Situational Awareness

These articles related to firefighter situational awareness.

Situational Awareness: Think Past, Present & Future

Flawed situational awareness (SA) is one of the leading contributing factors to first responder near-miss and casualty events. In fact, it is nearly impossible to find a line-of-duty death investigation report that does not implicate flawed SA, or one of the barriers that flaw SA, as contributing to the tragedy. As often as flawed SA …

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Understaffing Impacts Situational Awareness

Understaffing can have a big impact on first responder safety. We all know that. But it can also have a huge impact on first responder situational awareness… more than I ever imagined. I have experienced understaffing issues many times throughout my career but I never gave much thought to how my situational awareness was being …

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The Overconfident Incompetent

There are four levels of progression a person goes through in the development of competence. The pathway begins with a complete unawareness of how little a person knows and progresses to a complete unawareness of how much a person knows. There is a dangerous cognitive phenomenon that can occur along this continuum known as the …

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Tired Brains (fatigue) and Situational Awareness

I get asked often about the role of fatigue in situational awareness. Sometimes the question is based on general curiosity. Sometimes the inquiry is a result of someone seeking support for (or against) an extended work schedule. I sure don’t want to get caught in the middle of that debate but the question is a …

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Preview of the AskRail® App (Episode 290)

In this episode, we interview Retired Fire Chief Charles Warner as he explains the features and benefits of the free AskRail® mobile app. Length: 36 minutes Click the YouTube icon to watch the full VIDEO     __________________________________________________ If you are interested in taking your understanding of situational awareness and high-risk decision making to a higher …

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Situational Awareness Matters!

19 Ways Communications Barriers Can Impact Situational Awareness

If you are a student of near-miss and casualty reports then you know, without a doubt, that flawed communications are a major contributing factor when things go wrong and flawed communications are often a factor when the quality of situational awareness erodes. In fact, flawed communication was the second most frequently cited barrier to flawed …

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Situational Awareness Matters!

The Two Headed Incident Commander

A subscriber to the Situational Awareness Matters newsletter recently sent me a photograph of an emergency incident scene that caused me to reflect on a very important situational awareness lesson. This lesson, unfortunately, is often overlooked and is often implicated as a contributing factor to near-miss and casualty events. Let’s spend a little time examining …

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Teaching Decision Making to Firefighters

In a recent class, I engaged in a discussion with an officer who took exception with my recommendation that firefighters should be taught how to use situational awareness to make good decisions. His contention was that the fire service is a paramilitary organization and firefighters should not be decision-makers. Further contention was firefighters should obediently …

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Situational Awareness: Catastrophically Important to First Responder Safety

This video serves as an example of the importance of situational awareness. Please do not judge this department, the responders, or the commander. Rather, seek to learn and understand WHY… the things they were doing at the moment in time that things went bad… made sense to them. Those attending the Mental Management of Emergencies …

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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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