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Flawed Situational Awareness at Structure Fires

Situational Awareness Matters!

How significant (or stated another way… “How big a deal”) is flawed situational awareness as a contributing factor to firefighter near-miss events at structure fires?

A. Not that big a deal
B. Pretty big deal
C. Really big deal

(If you have attended one of my situational awareness programs you probably already know the answer to this question.)

The answer is D.

“Wait a minute” (you’re may be thinking). “There was no ‘D’ choice.”

That’s because flawed situational awareness, as a contributing factor at structure fire events, is more than a really big deal. It’s THE BIGGEST deal!

Flawed situational awareness has been the leading contributing factor for structure fire near-miss events every year since the National Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System has been tracking the data.

CLICK HERE to see an 18-page list of structure fire near-miss reports where flawed situational awareness was identified as a contributing factor.

Situational Awareness Matters!I would also encourage you to visit the National Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System website and read some of the reports on this list.

Remember… in nearly every case, the firefighters did not realize their situational awareness was flawed until the near-miss event occurred – after the fact.

In other words… they didn’t see it coming.

While flawed situational awareness is the leading contributing factor in structure fire near-miss events (and structure fire line-of-duty death events as well, by the way), sadly, most responders know so little about situational awareness – what it is, how they develop it, how they lose it, and how they can regain it once it is lost.

That is the entire focus of this website and the entire Situational Awareness Matters Mission: Helping First Responders See the Bad Things Coming… In Time to Change the Outcome.

Situational Awareness Matters!Please consider using (and sharing) the hundreds of FREE articles on this website to help improve your understanding of situational awareness. There are also FREE downloads and more than 200 FREE audio clips on the SAMattersTV YouTube channel (with more added weekly).

Consider becoming a member (membership is FREE) by clicking on the red SAMatters Membership box in the upper right hand corner of the home page, or by clicking HERE to take you directly to the sign up page. You will receive a monthly newsletter that highlights one of the monthly articles and podcasts. The newsletter also contains exclusive content for the members and offers special discounts on educational materials.

Finally, contact me if there is anything I can do to help improve your safety… answer a question… offer some advice… or if your department or association might be interested in hosting a live situational awareness event or booking a LIVE Virtual training event for your entire department!  Please CLICK HERE to contact me or go directly to our page highlighting our LIVE virtual training events!


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 details, enrollment options and pricing.


Share your comments on this article in the “Leave a Reply” box below. If you want to send me incident pictures, videos or have an idea you’d like me to research and write about, contact me. I really enjoy getting feedback and supportive messages from fellow first responders. It gives me the energy to work harder for you.




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