Fire-ground decision making: Understanding how stress affects brain function at incidents

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The decision-making process on the fire ground must account for stress. Focus on the most relevant information and try to detect unusual situations that may affect the outcome of your actions.

The traditional and longstanding belief is that a good decision is best made by following a rational, analytical and non-emotional process. Thankfully, such a process has long been defined and taught. These are the steps for good decision making:

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Identify decision-making criteria.
  3. Allocate weights and measures to the various criteria.
  4. Develop some alternatives to consider.
  5. Evaluate the various alternatives.
  6. Select the best or highest ranked alternative.
  7. Evaluate the decision’s effectiveness.

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