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Safeguards – It’s a fair question

I had the opportunity recently to talk with a very progressive fire chief about situational awareness. I really enjoy my conversations with him because I always learn something. He was telling me that his department just hired 17 new paid-on-call members. He shared with me that during the hiring process he visits the home of […]

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Episode 226 | New Carlisle FD LODD Review

  This episode is a review of the lessons learned from the August 5, 2014 structure fire incident that killed Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook. Length: 36 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

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Situational Awareness Matters

Multiple Awarenesses

The mission of this website and my personal passion for situational awareness is to help first responders see the bad things coming in time to change the outcome. Consistent with that mission, I try to help responders understand how various aspects of the job – from training, to human factors, to command competence and everything in

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Helmet Cams and Risky Behaviors

I recently fielded a question from a Situational Awareness Matters member on the use of helmet cameras and the impact it might have on situational awareness. Here is the question: Would you please be so kind as to point me in the direction of literature, articles, websites or advice on the impact of personal cameras

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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 a several year period. I conducted these surveys during my Firefighter Safety: Mistakes & Best Practices programs. Roughly 7,000 first responders have participated. There is nothing scientific about this survey or the results. It was merely

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First, Do No Harm!

Primum non nocere is the Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” This is a commonly taught principle in healthcare. In fact, the Hippocratic Oath, taken by doctors, promises they will abstain from doing harm to their patients. The premise is it may be better to NOT do something or to do nothing at

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Don’t shoot the messenger

Situational awareness is developed by combining three component parts: perception, understanding and prediction. The first part, perception, is a process of gathering information – clues and cues – about what is happening in the environment around you. Some of those clues and cues are obvious. Others are subtle. Some happen right in front of you.

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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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Situational Awareness Matters

Another False Alarm: A Tale of Complacency

Complacency is a big deal for first responders because it impacts your situational awareness on multiple levels. I would like to give every responder the benefit of the doubt that if or when they have found him or herself being complacent that it wasn’t happening on purpose. In other words, I hope every responder desires

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Aggressiveness and Situational Awareness

I was recently contacted by email from a Situational Awareness Matters member asking if aggressiveness and safety can co-exist at an emergency scene. My answer was “of course they can.” The two actions, being safe and being aggressive are not mutually exclusive. To think they are is to believe responders must sacrifice safety when they

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