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Richard B. Gasaway

Situational Awareness Matters

Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, CSP, is a trusted authority on human factors, situational awareness and the decision-making processes used in high-stress, high-consequence work environments. Gasaway served 33 years on the front lines as a firefighter, EMT-paramedic, company officer, training officer, fire chief and emergency incident commander. His doctoral research included the study of cognitive neuroscience to understand how human factors flaw situational awareness and impact high-risk decision-making. Gasaway is the founder and CEO for Situational Awareness Matters, a teaching and consulting organization located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He can be reached at

Physically demanding work performed over extended periods of time can lead to mental fatigue, impacting situational awareness
Preplan your escape routes, and consider your options to flee, hide or fight back
Under rapidly changing conditions, errors in decision-making can lead to flawed tactics and tragic outcomes
First responders not only face “D-Drivers” but also cognitively blinded drivers distracted by the flashing lights
Crews can become so accustomed to the routines of patient care that tasks become automatic, with reduced communications and overall scene awareness