LOSS of Situational Awareness

LOSS of Situational Awareness

A message primarily to: All EMS members

LOSS of Situational Awareness

Know how to recognize and recover from it

In our business, not only do we each need to execute the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop skillfully, but the whole team needs to do this harmoniously.  This applies when driving, doing a scene size-up, treating a patient, and performing many other EMS activities.

There are experts who use the phrase “situational awareness” to refer to the Observe and Orient phases of the OODA loop.  Situational awareness is challenging because of all the factors that can interfere with it, like workload, stress, complexity, preconceptions, and more.  So we must be vigilant to avoid the loss of situational awareness in our operations.

Do you know how to recognize the loss of individual or team situational awareness?  Do you know how to regain it?  The following graphic from the National EMS Safety Council provides some valuable guidance:


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Division Chief Kevin Lipscomb, NRP
Regulation & Support Services
Va Beach EMS Department

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