Human Factors

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

Episode 16: The impact of fatigue on situational awareness

Episode 16: The impact of fatigue on situational awareness Back in episode 7 I answered a listener question about the impact of fatigue on situational awareness. I promised in that episode that I would dedicate more time to this topic in an upcoming episode. So I want to explore the issue of fatigue some more. …

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Episode 15: Radio Communications Can Impact Situational Awareness

Episode 15: Radio Communications Can Impact Situational Awareness On this episode…. We’ll discuss how radio communications can impact situational awareness. I’ll share a near-miss incident where a firefighter fell through an open crawl space hatch in a floor due to lack of communications from a fellow firefighters. Finally, I will answer one of the most …

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Episode 13 – Training for Failure

  In the feature segment, we’ll talk about training for failure, how it happens and I’ll offer some advice on how to overcome it. I’ll also include some discussion questions you can have among your members about training and whether there may be opportunities for improvement. And we’ll share a near-miss report where a crew …

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Mission Myopia: A situational awareness barrier

Every emergency scene operation should begin with determining the mission (sometimes called strategy) and setting task-level goals (sometimes called tactics). Strategy and tactics establish what is to be done and how it is to be done. For example, at a structure fire, arriving responders are trained to conduct search and rescue operations and to extinguish …

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Tacit knowledge and situational awareness

While conducting research on how decisions are made during high consequence events I came across a term I’d never heard before – “tacit knowledge.” Once I learned what it was it quickly became evident that I possessed it… and I didn’t know it. In fact, every first responder who has developed expert-level knowledge and skills …

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Station Alerting Noise Can Impact Situational Awareness

Noise can erode situational awareness in many ways. Loud noises, soft noises, lots of noise, odd noises, familiar noises, annoying noises… all noise can present challenges. In this article, I want to explore some of the challenges first responders face in a noisy environment and I’d like to share my personal example of how noise …

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Trained to Fail

There are probably few things I say in a classroom that raises the ire of instructors more than “You’re training your members to fail.” I understand why they wouldn’t want to hear that. No instructor wants a member to fail. Even more so, no instructor wants to be implicated for being the one responsible for …

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Thank you Stowe Fire Department

In 2011 I had the opportunity to deliver a Mental Management of Emergencies class for the Stowe Fire Department. The program focused on how to improve first responder situational awareness and decision making processes under stress. I have been afforded the wonderful opportunity to share this message with many fire departments over the years. This …

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