Adaptability and Situational Awareness

As a member with advanced skills, whether as an Advanced Firefighter, a Logistics Officer or a Communications Centre Operator, you will face situations where you need to remain adaptable and flexible.

Being adaptable means having the ability and willingness to change behaviours when old behaviours are no longer effective. Being adaptable can include the following behaviour:

  • Altering plans to meet situation demands; you should not continue with a plan if the situation has changed or if you do not have the resources to do it. A plan is an aid for you to get a job done. If circumstances change you should alter your plan accordingly, adjusting timeframes and resources as required. Your objective however should remain the same
  • Looking for different ways of doing things if you are not achieving your required objective
  • Accepting constructive feedback and help. This can be an important way of learning. Self analysis and improvement is useful in helping us to perform better. Seeking help from colleagues, peers and team leaders and comments and feedback from people with the relevant experience can alert you to different ways of doing things and different approaches to problems
  • Being receptive to the ideas of others. Brainstorming and idea generation processes are a valuable process
  • Continually reassessing a situation. Continual reassessment means that you can pre-empt problems and set in place processes or measures that will keep the project on track

This introduces the idea of situational awareness (SA). Any person with the responsibility of making decisions has to base those decisions on what they know about the incident and the resources to deal with that situation. This might seem like a simple idea, but it is all too easy to become so focused on a task that you can forget the wider situation.

As an Advanced Firefighter, your Crew Leader will be relying on you to help them maintain a high level of situational awareness.