Fireground Management, Leadership

Critical Decision Making: The Single Most Important Predictor of Success

Issue 08 and Volume 173.

BY MICHAEL J. BARAKEY Critical decision making challenges firefighters and officers, even when you have time to process the problem and consider alternatives for apparatus placement, line selection, ventilation strategies, and search priorities. But, what if you don’t have the time? The closest distance between two points is a straight line. But, what if the two points are known but inaccessible because of barriers or obstructions or a straight line cannot connect the two points (Figure 1)? Normally, decision making may seem as simple as just connecting two points with a straight line. Critical decision making is certainly not that easy; but with practice, experience, and repetition, decisions can appear simple. Point-to-point decision making allows the decision maker to identify and process problems; visualize the solution; and with tools, practice, and experience, choose the most direct line to connect the two. RELATED FIREFIGHTER TRAINING Recognition Primed Decision Making: Saving Precious…

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