Human Factors

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

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.

Interview with Captain Alex Charoni on Near-miss reporting evaluations (Episode 280)

  In this episode, South King County Fire & Rescue Captain Alex Charoni discusses his passion for determining the root cause of near-miss events and the approach his department is taking to improve firefighter safety. Length: 72 minutes Click the YouTube icon to watch the full VIDEO     __________________________________________________ If you are interested in taking …

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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.    

Sensory Conflict

The process by which situational awareness is formed begins with using your five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling) to gather information from your environment. That may arguably be the easiest part of the situational awareness developmental process so long as you are “paying attention” to your environment. Once the senses gather information, it …

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First responder fatigue

Sleep and Situational Awareness

The work schedule, along with the physical and mental demands placed on first responders and people working in high risk environments, can quickly cause brain fatigue. Most responders know that fatigue can have an impact on critical thinking and mental acuity. This, in turn, can have a significant impact on situational awareness. Situational awareness is …

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Time Distortion: A Barrier to Situational Awareness (Episode 269)

This episode discusses the connection between time distortion and situational awareness. Length: 20 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 out the Situational Awareness Matters Online Academy. CLICK HERE for …

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Relationship Bias – A Barrier to Situational Awareness

During a recent Flawed Situational Awareness program I conducted an exercise to show just how stubborn our brains can be. Without going into too much detail here, the exercise is designed to demonstrate the consequences of relationship biases. The results of the exercise are quite predictable and consistent. Whether we like it or not, our …

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Pre Arrival Lens and Situational Awareness

The pre-arrival lens is a neurological phenomenon that can both help and hinder situational awareness. The “lens” is your mental view of the incident you are responding to, developed prior to your arrival,  and based on the triangulation of three primary data sources – dispatch information (shared via radio), past experience and imagination. This article …

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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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