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Thank you Stowe Fire Department

Situational Awareness and Decision Making program in Stowe
Stowe Fire Dept.

In 2011 I had the opportunity to deliver a Mental Management of Emergencies class for the Stowe Fire Department. The program focused on how to improve first responder situational awareness and decision making processes under stress. I have been afforded the wonderful opportunity to share this message with many fire departments over the years.

This visit, however, was especially notable for several reasons. It was very obvious to me how proud the members are of their department and how serious they take their safety. Their hospitality was exceptional. Chief Mark Sgantas and his wife, Judy, made me feel like family. I got a tour of the town and region, an amazing home cooked meal and a wonderful evening of fellowship in the chief’s home. Quite impressive. But that’s not where the story ends.

During the class, I talked about the recipe for catastrophe. It’s a powerful message and one that I have written about here on the website. If you want to learn more about it, see the series called “A recipe from Hell’s Kitchen.” CLICK HERE for a link to Part 1 of the series. The lessons of the recipe remind us how we can drift into failure. After class was done, Chief Sgantas and I had a long conversation about the recipe and how it even applies to his full-time career in medicine. Clearly, he understood and internalized the message.

This week I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Twitter message from a member of the Stowe Fire Department that read “Hung with pride” with this photo attached.

All I can say is WOW!… and thank you. Your commitment to safety and to ensure the message remains a constant reminder to your members inspires me to want to work even harder.


The mission of Situational Awareness Matters is simple: Help first responders see the bad things coming… in time to change the outcome.

Safety begins with SA! 


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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2 thoughts on “Thank you Stowe Fire Department”

  1. Rich,

    Thank you for posting this story. It’s refreshing to see that there are chief officers and departments in America that are interested in true levels of professionalism and that they do listen in classes.


    1. Rick,

      Thanks for posting your feedback. I have a list of fire departments that REALLY “get it” when it comes to the importance of situational awareness. Loveland and Stowe are certainly in that list! Thanks for sharing.


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