Human Behavior

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

A Mental Health Mayday. The Laverne Friesen Story – Part 2 (Episode 302)

Today’s episode is Part 2 of my 2-part interview with Laverne Friesen, a first responder who is confronting the stigma of mental illness head-on as he shares his first-hand account of how work-related stress was leading him down a dark path toward suicide.  He shares intimate details of what that experience was like, how it …

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Where Does Intuition Come From?

  It is amazing how many articles and videos I have watched lately in which they are talking about decision making based on “gut feel.” It is also disheartening how many first responders I have interviewed who have admitted to me that they have dismissed their gut feelings and proceeded to do things that resulted …

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A Mental Health Mayday. The Laverne Friesen Story – Part 1 (Episode 301)

Today’s episode is Part 1 of my 2-part interview with Laverne Friesen, a first responder who is confronting the stigma of mental illness head-on as he shares his first-hand account of how work-related stress was leading him down a dark path toward suicide.  He shares intimate details of what that experience was like, how it …

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Heavy Content Fires – The Ryan Pennington Interview (Episode 300)

In this episode, I interview the foremost fire service expert on fighting “heavy content” fires (aka, hoarded environments).  The interview is packed with great ideas for first responders, and some tips for family members who are dealing with a family member afflicted with a hoarding disorder. Length: 57 minutes Click the YouTube icon to watch …

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What You Don’t See Can Save You

I dedicate a lot of time during my situational awareness programs ensuring that first responders understand how clues and cues serve as the foundation for developing and maintaining good situational awareness. We also spend considerable time making the connection of how strong situational awareness becomes the foundation for good decision making. For the most part, …

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The Normalization of Deviance

It’s an odd term… normalization of deviance. But the term and the premise behind the term provides a valuable explanation as to some of the behaviors we observe in the first responder world. Defining the terms Normalization: To make normal; to make an established standard. Deviance: Departing from the norm; performing in a non-standardized way. …

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Overconfidence – A Dangerous Minefield (Episode 296)

In this episode, we review the Overconfidence chapter of my new book, How Smart Workers Use Situational Awareness to Improve Safety. Length: 28 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 level, check …

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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. As I was writing this article I recalled various times during my thirty years …

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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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