Tuesday, June 07, 2016

From those who know: Insights on Dealing with High Stress Scenarios

I'd make a horrendous firefighter, what with my fear of heights and ladders and such. But I find their skills and mindset to be absolutely fascinating and often quite informative to every day life. One of my earliest clients for my business was a fighfighter and he'd nearly always sign off with stay safe. Stay safe? I sit in front of a computer all day. What did I need to be safe from? Carpal tunnel syndrome? Catching a virus on the web? But in his word, safety was, well, everything. His encouragement reminded me to not not take my own safety, or those around me for granted. So yeah, stay safe, turns out to be fantastic advice.

Today's life lesson comes from the good folks at When Things Go Wrong (WTGW), a group that has an excellent Firefighting YouTube channel. Here's one of their videos on packaging a down firefighter. The question is this: what's the first thing you do when you arrive at an incapacitated firefighter?

Check their airway? Look for a spinal injury? Survey the scene? Give chest compressions?

The answer: turn off the firefighter's personal alarm device. This seems a bit counter-intuitive, as turning off the alarm doesn't directly help the victim. However, the practice makes sense once explained: turning off the alarm not only relieves some anxiety on the scene, but also confirms to you that you don't have multiple firefighter's down at the same time.

This notion of turning off the alarm first, and then dealing with the problem at hand, is the bit of wisdom I'll take with me from this video. Whether it's an actual alarm (like a server alarm, or house alarm) or a metaphorical one, addressing it first has huge benefits.

Bonus tip: the folks over at WTGW don't just provide a single recipe for dealing with a down firefighter. Instead, they offer an alternative and contigent plan. The idea, as explained in the videos, is that you should be ready with multiple solutions, rather than a single solution that can fail you.

Here, give the videos a watch. A stay safe out there!

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