Fireground command decision making: Understanding the barriers challenging commander situation awareness

by Gasaway, Richard B., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2008, 284 pages; 3310697


Issues with situation awareness (SA) have been implicated in numerous firefighter near-miss and line-of-duty death reports. As the person responsible for sizing up the fire situation and making decisions that impact firefighter safety, the commander must be able to effectively manage the barriers that can impact his or her SA. The purpose of this study was to advance the understanding of barriers that impact commander SA by exploring 3 areas: which barriers created the greatest challenges to commander SA; how commanders overcome their most challenging SA barriers; and finally, what best practices commanders use to reduce the impact of challenging SA barriers. This study identified 116 potential SA barriers, parsed into 12 categories that included attention management barriers, human factor barriers, data/information management barriers, physical/mental stress barriers, communications barriers, workload management barriers, mental model barriers, command location barriers, staffing-related barriers, mission/goal barriers, team/crew performance barriers, and command support barriers. The study also provided 61 suggestions for reducing the impact of commanders' most challenging SA barriers. Finally, the study produced 10 recommendations to help fireground commanders develop and maintain their SA.

AdviserMarc Muchnick
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBehavioral psychology; Management; Occupational psychology; Cognitive psychology
Publication Number3310697

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