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Mental Management of Emergencies

Mental Management of Emergencies
Improving first responder situational awareness and decision making under stress

Created and presented by:
Dr. Richard B. Gasaway, EFO, CFO
Fire Chief (ret.)

Format: 3 DVDS
Length: 4.5 hours

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Program Description: When I joined the fire service in 1979 I was having a lot of fun learning how to be a firefighter. I wasn’t worried a whole lot about my safety because I had training officers and company officers who would keep me safe. Then… just two years into my tenure, I was elected to be a company officer. This scared me to death because I knew I wasn’t ready.

The thought of being the person in a position to make decisions that could hurt or kill other firefighters caused me to be overcome with fear. I never wanted to look the family member of a fellow firefighter in the eyes and tell them their loved one isn’t here any more because of a bad decision I made.

So I dug in and started learning everything I could about how to make good decisions under stress. I read hundreds of case studies and near-miss reports. I watched countless numbers of videos where incidents went wrong – trying to learn everything I could about how to make good f emergency scene decisions.

Then, in 2004 I went back to school for my PhD and my research topic was, of course, fireground decision making. I had many unanswered questions from my review of those many casualty incidents over the years. Namely, I wanted to understand how well-trained and highly experienced commanders could not see the bad things coming. It was like they were blind to the all the things happening right in front of their eyes. This scared me because I thought if highly experienced, big city incident commanders could be blind to critical clues… maybe I could be too. Wow! I didn’t want to think about that.

In my doctoral program I had to study a lot of brain science to understand decision making under stress. As learned about how we think under stress I had a very sobering realization. For 22 years I had commanded incidents and no firefighter had ever been seriously hurt or killed under my command. I thought I was GOOD. But now I realize I wasn’t good… I was LUCKY!

Most of the brain science research I studied was conducted for the benefit of aerospace, aviation, medicine, nuclear power, and the military – not public safety! In nearly all respects, the first responder community has been “out of the loop” when it comes to understanding how brain science research applies to our profession. Until now!

This DVD series is designed to get you “into the loop” and reveals secrets hospitals, airlines, NASA and the Department of Defense know about how to improve decision making. The program explores and discusses how experts make decisions in high stress, ever-changing environments.

But don’t worry. I don’t try to impress you with a lot of brain science terms. The lessons are too important. This program was created by a first responder (me) and for first responders (you). I promise it’s easy to follow and easy to understand… just as it should be!

Invest a few dollars per member to ensure every responder undrestands the decision making process. Don’t make LUCKY decisions. Make SMART decisions! Lives depend upon it.

This program will help you see the bad things coming… in time to change the outcome.

The companion program for this series is Fifty Ways to Kill a First Responder. In that program I address over fifty barriers that destroy situational awareness.

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