Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Good is Your SA?

Making Sound and Timely Decisions 

To make sound and timely decisions, fire leaders assess the situation, seek out relevant information, weigh options, make judgments, and initiate action as required to create a positive outcome within inevitable time constraints. 

The cornerstone of good decision making is good situation awareness. Leaders can increase their decision space by attaining and maintaining good situation awareness. Decision space is simply the amount of time that a decision maker has for considering options before reaching a required decision point. 

Leaders can optimize their decision space by using time efficiently. Seeking advance information in new situations or utilizing standard operating procedures for routine tasks are examples of techniques that make good use of available time. 

In the wildland fire environment, decisions have serious consequences and often can have life-or-death implications for others. With so much on the line, we have a responsibility to understand the decision-making process—the components, the flow, the effect of time— and to develop the skills and confidence that enables us to make the best decision possible with the information and time available. 

Situation Awareness Cycle

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge: Digging a Little Deeper

  • Observation: As you watch the video below. Stop the video before the scene changes are revealed. Replay the video to the same point notifying your audience to watch for set changes. Stop before the reveal and have your audience identify things that changed. How many of the items did the participants identify? Show the scene change reveal and compare to the audience's answers.

  • Discuss how this phenomenon can affect your safety on the fireline and ways of mitigating gaps in situation awareness.

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