Week 3: Station 1, Flash Point 2 – Shared Mental Model

Station 1 – Situational Awareness/Barriers

Good teamwork is facilitated by something called a “shared mental model.” The complexity and criticality of work on the fire ground requires this concept of a shared mental model to enhance the safety and efficiency of the fire fighting operation. But if this is your first time hearing this term, you may only have a vague understanding of the concept, or perhaps none at all.

A good shared mental model is a team performance improvement method that requires team members to share an understanding of the situation at hand, the task to be performed, the teamwork and equipment involved, and the goal. There are several key components:

  • The shared mental model must accurately reflect reality. This means that important and new information must quickly be disseminated amongst the team.
  • The plan of action should be based on the shared mental model.
  • Teamwork is critical to achieving the goal—in this case, protecting life and property from fire.

There is clear evidence from multiple fields that when humans work in teams, they form these shared mental models—either accidentally, or on purpose. One of the goals of this Flash Point is to make you aware that it is happening, so that you can use this tool to your advantage.

Case Study References for this week’s Flash Point on Shared Mental Models:


If you do Just One Thing

Over-communicate as situations change on the incident. “If you see something important, say something important.”

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