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first responder training

The Overconfident Incompetent

There are four levels of progression a person goes through in the development of competence. The pathway begins with a complete unawareness of how little a person knows and progresses to a complete unawareness of how much a person knows. There is a dangerous cognitive phenomenon that can occur along this continuum known as the […]

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Team Situational Awareness

This is going to be an uncomfortable conversation as we talk about assessing your team to identify your weak links – the members who are not adequately trained, prepared or fit to perform the duties of a firefighter. During my SA programs, we talk about the need to complete a situational awareness “size-up” of the

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Teaching Decision Making to Firefighters

In a recent class, I engaged in a discussion with an officer who took exception with my recommendation that firefighters should be taught how to use situational awareness to make good decisions. His contention was that the fire service is a paramilitary organization and firefighters should not be decision-makers. Further contention was firefighters should obediently

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Tacit Knowledge

As you traverse through life, you are constantly gathering and assessing information. This is accomplished though sensory input (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling). The senses are always on, always capturing data. Sometimes you are aware of the data being captured and sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you’re able to readily recall stored data and sometimes

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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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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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Every EMS Call Starts with Scene Safety

“Scene Safe, BSI.” These words have been uttered by every first responder who has ever received medical training. In fact, any responder who has performed a practical exercise for certification knows the first two mandatory skills to be completed on the evaluation checklist are: (1) Ensure the scene is safe before entering; and (2) Don

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Aggressive versus conservative

There is an ongoing debate in the fire service. Unless you are unplugged from social media and online journals, you’re surely aware of it. On one end of the argument are those who believe the fire service is tactically too aggressive and purport this may be contributing to casualties. On the other side of the

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A situational awareness paradigm shift

Paradigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitute a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them . Recent research conducted by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have revealed a flaw in a long standing paradigm about fire attack. As this blog does not

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