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

Seven Situational Awareness Thieves

Recently I had a video clip shared with me of a residential dwelling fire. The video captures a flashover event. It was reported to me that firefighters were operating inside the structure when it occurred. As I watched the video progress, it was apparent interior conditions were getting worse, the color of the smoke was …

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The Downside of Experience

There are numerous vocations and daily activities that could be considered extremely dangerous, such as firefighting, oil refineries, construction workers, police officers and so many more, but life itself can be dangerous if we are not aware of our surroundings. Some such things or places that would seem very mundane could result in tragedy if we …

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Twelve Ways to Situational Awareness

Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas everyone! With Thanksgiving day in the past, it is officially the Christmas season! I know everyone’s feeling particularly festive this time of year and I have caught the Christmas spirit in a very situational awareness sort of way. Surely you’ve heard of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” -You know – …

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Situational Awareness Matters

Nine Dangerous Mindsets: Part 8 – The Slacker

Welcome to part eight of the Nine Dangerous Mindsets series. In this installment I’m going to take on one of the most challenging and perhaps one of the most frustrating mindsets – the Slacker. This mindset is dangerous to situational awareness because a Slacker does so little to ensure his or her personal readiness for …

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Giving L.I.P. to R.I.T.

  I would like to share the results of a series of informal polls I have been conducting over the past several years. I have been conducting these surveys during my Firefighter Safety: Mistakes & Best Practices programs. Roughly 4,000 first responders have participated. There is nothing scientific about this survey or the results. It …

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Situational Awareness Matters!

How Could They Be So Stupid?

Recently I was having a conversation with a fire commander who shared the following experience. He stopped by one of the stations for a visit and came upon a group of firefighters huddled around a computer screen watching videos. Relax. This is not a lecture on watching inappropriate videos on fire department computers. In fact, …

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Episode 208 | Team Situational Awareness

In this episode we discuss the importance of team situational awareness and how it can improve or impact safety.  Length: 29 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 …

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Episode 203 | Normalization of Deviance

When we are operating under conditions of stress and consequence, coupled with changing conditions and time compression, we can feel a sense of urgency and this can cause us to want to take a shortcut from safety best practices.  Length: 29 minutes       click the YouTube icon to listen       __________________________________________________ …

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Come down off the high perch of judgment

At the start of the Flawed Situational Awareness program I share a story about my early years as a company officer and subsequently as a command-level officer. Even in those days (more than 30 years ago), I held a deep desire to learn from failure and catastrophe. I read every near-miss and casualty report I …

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  For the most part, I am fortunate. The first responders who attend my situational awareness classes are humble, courteous and professional. They come to the programs eager to learn, open-minded and ask really smart questions. Clearly, their focus is on improving their safety. But… every once in a while, I get “that guy.”