Situational Awareness MattersSituational Awareness Matters is dedicated to improving first responder decision making and situational awareness in high-stress, high-consequence environments.

This mission is accomplished by providing situational awareness training with a singular purpose: To help you see the bad things coming… in time to avoid bad outcomes.

Whether you got here from a redirect from my existing website (www.RichGasaway.com) or you found this site through a web search or a link from another website, welcome. I’m glad you’re here.

Situational Awareness MattersThis is SAMatters. The “SA” is the acronym for Situational Awareness and in the context of the title “Matters” means it’s important!

To say that situational awareness is important for first responders is a ridiculous understatement. Flawed situational awareness is the leading contributing factor identified in first responder near-miss events and is an often cited contributing factor in fatality investigation reports.

I’d like to add the word catastrophically before the word important. It helps underscore the vital importance of situational awareness for first responder safety.

Why mark this page and visit often?

I have dedicated the past nine years of my life to the study of the art and science of high risk, high consequence decision making and to learn as much as I possibly could about situational awareness for the benefit of first responders, pilots, medical providers, soldiers, nuclear energy technicians and industrial workers.

Situational Awareness MattersThe desire to improve first responder situational awareness and decision making has consumed me. I am both an active researcher and a first-responder practitioner on this subject. In addition to my direct first responder experience of 30+ years, I also completed doctoral degree while researching the neuroscience of first responder decision making and situational awareness.

At one time in my career I thought I knew it all about situational awareness and how to make good decisions until I went back to school and studied the neuroanatomy and cognitive psychology behind it… and there is A LOT more behind it than I ever imagined. And every day, I’m learning something new that I want to share everything I know with the community of my first responder brothers and sisters.

This site will be my forum to share what I have learned. I hope you will come along with me on this journey, sign-up for my newsletter and become a member of the community. Participate in the discussion so we can learn from each other while keeping our #1 goal in mind… doing everything we can to keep first responders safe.

My Mission: Help first responders see the bad things coming… in time to change the outcome.

My slogan: Safety starts with SA!

Thanks for visiting.

Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD
Founding Editor, Situational Awareness Matters!


Thank you Lord for the many gifts
you have given me, for my family,
for my health and for my happiness.

Lord, please watch over all first responders
as they do your will. Please give them strong
situational awareness and return
them safely to their families.

Finally, Lord, please give me the strength,
the wisdom and the courage to teach first
responders about situational awareness so
I may help them see the bad things coming…
in time to change the outcome.

~ Amen


17 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. Lieutenant Curt Jacobs

    After attending one of your trainings, I really look forward to the insight you can provide into “Situational Awareness”.

  2. Captain Chad Williams

    The class on Situation Awareness is one of the best that I have ever attended. It really makes you think about what you have missed on calls. It is a true eye opener.

    1. Chad,

      Thank you very much for the kind words and support of my program. I am trying with all my heart and soul to make a difference. Your feedback will motivate me to try even harder. ~ Rich

  3. Captain Mitch Cameron

    Situational Awareness is a great class. We truely need to use Muscle memory in order to never forget this class. Thank you very much for leaving your Family and taking time to teach us. You truely are making a difference! Be safe!

    1. Mitch,

      Thank you for the feedback. I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you also for mentioning my family. While I love to travel and share what I have learned with firefighters I am always mindful that I have left behind those who love me most in this world. I really appreciate your kind words. ~ Rich

  4. Talking more about SA and decision making in complex and dangerous situations will only help us get better. I look forward to good conversations and lots to think about. ~Billy

    1. Billy, Thanks for the note. I am hopeful the discussions and idea sharing will improve situational awareness which, in turn, will make responders safer. I look forward to reading your contributions. Please share the site with those on your circle of influence. ~ Rich

  5. This is GREAT!

    As a student and teacher of martial arts for 40+ years, and a volunteer FF, I’m absolutely convinced that this is absolutely on target.


  6. Rich,
    It is so good to see you are doing well and continuing to help those of us in the fire service and other emergency services by sharing your knowledge and experience. Before I attended your lecture at FDIC in 2010, I had never heard of you or your programs. I came across your lecture as I was looking through the catalog. I thought that it looked like an interesting class to attend, so glad that I did. The information that you shared and the way you presented it was in such a way that I had not thought of it before.

    It is also refreshing to see someone, like yourself, that has earned such prestigious titles when asked how they want to be addressed to say “I prefer Rich” shows that you are truly out to help others and not looking to impress anybody or just draw attention to yourself. It also tells me that you are approachable to answer any questions that anyone brings to you. I am looking forward to your future posts and studies. If ever you are around the Baton Rouge area, please look us up and feel free to stop for a visit if you can.

    James Newman
    District Chief 604-A
    St. George Fire Protection District
    Baton Rouge, La. 70817

    1. Chief Newman,

      Thank you for the kind comments. I am on a mission to help improve firefighter situational awareness and decision making. Acting pompous or stuck up would be no way to endear myself to the brothers and sisters I love and respect. I am here to help. Please continue to let me know how I can. Thank you also for the opportunity to visit with you if I am in your area. I have no trips plan that way soon, but I will definitely keep the invitation in mind. When our paths do cross again, be sure to say hello! ~ Rich

  7. Rich,

    I saw you speak in Chicago and then again in Atlanta. I bought your book and man are my eyes open. I am really jazzed to see you have a website to turn to so we can get the latest and greatest. Thank you for all you do to keep us safe out here.

    1. Lea,

      Thank you very much for the kind comments. I really appreciate it. Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter as well. I sometimes fell as though I’m pushing a heavy rock up a steep hill. Receiving feedback like your gives me the energy to keep on pushing!


  8. Thanks for for leaving your family and coming to Horry County to give us one of the best classes I’ve taken in my career. I look foward to using the information I gained today. Again I thank YOU!!!!

    1. Ken,

      Thank you for attending my program and for the kind comments. I appreciate both VERY much. Feedback like yours inspires me to work even harder to spread the situational awareness message!


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