Crisis communication and multimodal decision making on the fireground

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Abstract

A crisis situation calls for multiple decisions to be made and communicated rapidly. Despite its lack of visibility and explanation there is an art to communication and decision making in dynamic high pressured situations, which I term Multimodal Decision Making.Multimodal Decision Making provides an holistic approach to understanding decision making in time pressured, uncertain conditions where incident commanders find themselves having to distinguish between what is read at face-value and what is intuitively understood to be happening. I interviewed Inspectors from within a large Australian fire fighting organisation and found their visual perception and somatic awareness to be integral to their understanding of what was happening and their subsequent communication of decisions.Through the analysis of a fireground incident I will demonstrate the vital importance of visual perception and somatic awareness when contradictory and incomplete information has to be processed and communicated quickly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
Volume23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

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