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emergency management

It’s Only A Vehicle Fire!

I’d like to thank one of the loyal Situational Awareness Matters readers (whose name and department I am holding in confidence) for sending me a picture and a story about a van fire, no, a ‘routine van fire‘ his department had recently. On the arrival of the engine, the officer reported a working fire and […]

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Three types of stress

In this article, we discuss three types of stress: Acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. First responders can, and often do, experience all three. Stress can impact firefighter situational awareness and, equally concerning, stress can have devastating long-term impacts. As I was writing this article I recalled various times during my thirty years

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Situational Awareness: Catastrophically Important to First Responder Safety

This video serves as an example of the importance of situational awareness. Please do not judge this department, the responders, or the commander. Rather, seek to learn and understand WHY… the things they were doing at the moment in time that things went bad… made sense to them. Those attending the Mental Management of Emergencies

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Situational Awareness on the Roadway

There are an untold number of incidents in which responders have been struck by vehicles while working on roadway incidents. The roadway is one of the more dangerous work environments for emergency responders to operate in because conditions can go from being totally benign to total chaos in just a matter of seconds.  

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Pre Arrival Lens and Situational Awareness

The pre-arrival lens is a neurological phenomenon that can both help and hinder situational awareness. The “lens” is your mental view of the incident you are responding to, developed prior to your arrival,  and based on the triangulation of three primary data sources – dispatch information (shared via radio), past experience and imagination. This article

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It’s not something talked about often in situational awareness circles – over staffing. Far more often the focus is on issues of under staffing which, coincidentally, can be a significant barrier to situational awareness and can have a catastrophic impact on safety. There can be, on occasion, scenarios where an incident scene ends up having

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Mission Myopia: A situational awareness barrier

The primary mission in all emergency situations is to save lives and property. In some agencies when a new member is inducted into the organization they take an oath of office that includes pledging their commitment to this mission. The mission is an important – even noble – calling. But what happens when a responder

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I Woke Up Today With Nothing To Do!

If you have visited SAMatters before, you know the mission of the site is to help first responders improve situational awareness by “Helping you see the bad things coming in time to change the outcome.” Something happened today that I didn’t see coming and I’d like to share the story with you. Thank you for

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Expectations and situational awareness

The ability to develop and maintain situational awareness is a far more complex process than most people realize. I’ve had many responders say to me that as long as they are “paying attention” or “keeping their head on a swivel” or “looking up, down and all around”, they will have strong situational awareness. I truly

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