Decision Making in Emergency Responders - Iowa League of Cities
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Decision Making in Emergency Responders - Iowa League of Cities

Decision Making inEmergencyRespondersShawn Bayouth, City of Ames Fire DepartmentHandouts and presentation are available online

Decision Making in EmergencyRespondersShawn Bayouth, Ph.D. Candidate,Iowa State UniversityNir Keren, Ph.D. Professor, IowaState UniversityPartially funded by the National Science Foundation

RCA Sony ToshibaWarrantyCostQuality

Health and SafetyFirefighter deaths

Worcester, MA

According to NFPA records, this is the firstloss of six firefighters in a structure firewhere neither building collapse nor anexplosion was a contributing factor to thefatalities.- As reported by U.S. Fire Administration

Naturalistic Decision Making(NDM)Ill-structured problemsUncertain dynamic environmentsShifting, ill-defined, or competinggoalsAction/feedback loopsTime stressHigh stakesMultiple playersOrganizational goals and norms

Recognition Primed DM (RPD)Implement course of action

Firefighter Study

Problem Statement

Experiment Overview


Time pressurecauses one to:AccelerateprocessingProcess only asubset ofinformationShift decisionstrategiesSvensen & Maule (1993) found that there have been “comparatively few studiesin the area of judgment and decision making under time pressure”

Aspects of decision making, such the “difficulty of the tradeoffhave received relatively little research attention in the decisionmaking literature” (Beattie & Barlas, 2001)Keokuk, Iowa

ExperienceCan affect information processingNo prior experience can lead to sub-optimal decisions

DM Simulation PlatformsLink to video

Implementing FF scenarioManipulating tradeoff levels throughImplementation of cues in VREThree levels of time pressure

MethodologyWhy use a VRE?Hazard-free environmentMimics ‘real life’ stimuliRepeatabilityFully immersiveAppropriate situational awareness/presenceEcologically validated

Ecological Validity-Evoking Controlled StressFalling pointHeart rate behavior of a naïve participantFalling pointHeart rate behavior of a participant with extensive experience in the C6

StressAutonomic NSParasympatheticSympatheticChallenge-related:Subject perceives theycan cope with thesituationIncreasedcardiovascular outputHigher HRInsignificant changein BPThreat-related :Subject perceives theycannot cope with thesituationDecreasedcardiovascular outputLower HRHigher BP(Kassam et at., 2009)

Data Collection and AnalysisDecision process tracing methodologySearch indices [e.g., SI = (a – d) / (a + d)](Billings and Scherer’s, 1988)Number of itemsCue recognitionTime elapsedDecision strategyChoicePhysiological responsesQuestionnaire(HR & BP)NASA Task Load Index (currently examining)Comparisons across:ExperienceLevel of time pressureLevel of tradeoffs

Experienced Incident Commander #1Maze Car Outdoor IndoorHigh time pressurescenarioModerate-low timepressure scenario0:08:12 0:09:30 0:10:48 0:12:06 0:13:24 0:14:41 0:15:59 0:17:17 0:18:35 0:19:52 0:21:10 0:22:28 0:23:46 0:25:03 0:26:21

Experienced Incident Commander #2Maze Car Outdoor Indoor0:05:20 0:06:29 0:07:38 0:08:47 0:09:56 0:11:05 0:12:14 0:13:24 0:14:33 0:15:42 0:16:51 0:18:00 0:19:09

Pre-Backdraft ScenarioPre-backdraft movie

Results - Pre-Backdraft ScenarioExperienced firefighters reviewed moreinformation (p = 0.2587, M = 6.61)NMeanExperienced 31 7.8095Novice 31 5.2381Experienced firefighters took more time tomake a decision (p = 0.0371, M = 203.35)NMeanExperienced 31 218.13Novice 31 178.29

Results - Pre-Backdraft Scenario46.15% of experienced firefightersultimately chose their first optionreviewed26.09% of novice firefightersultimately chose their first optionreviewed

Results – Pre-Flashover Scenario52% of all participants (N = 62)utilized RPD18% of veterans under high timepressure and 11% of veteransunder low time pressuremisidentified scenario

Pre-Flashover ScenarioPre-flashover movie

20-Year VeteranExperienced Incident Commander

What questions can I answer?Shawn Bayouth, Ph.D. Candidate,Iowa State University – sbayouth@iastate.eduNir Keren, Ph.D. Professor, Iowa StateUniversity -

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