Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Do you recall the last time you were operating on afire ground and heard a PASS alarm blaring away, penetrating your brain? They can be pretty annoying. In fact the noise was so intrusive you did – nothing! That’s correct nothing. Why? Because we have heard so many of these PASS alarms screaming during training events and on actual scenes they’ve actually lost their purpose effectiveness. We are no longer alarmed, as they have become part of the cacophony of noise that makes up our fire grounds today. In the end these alarms are becoming more and more ineffective and the real problem is they were meant to warn us of an issue and we are often times ignoring it…”will someone cut that PASS Alarm off”.
One of the great risks to an organization is complacency. When things are going well, it’s easy to think of everything as routine and that we have got it all figured out. Emergency scenes are very seductive because success affirms, in many of our minds, that what we are doing is right. But thoughts like these should set off alarms in our minds because, the truth is, advancement does not equal arrival, and we can only coast in one direction…downhill. Complacency is a daily battle most individuals never identify. This gap is critical in performance, safety and end outcomes… whether they are positive or negative. Let’s get hard core and truly break it down, it may be the difference between life and death!
So what is complacency? Complacency is a state of satisfaction combined with an unawareness of potential danger. Outstanding officers and organizations know that complacency doesn’t work. They understand the need to beat back complacency again and again and again so that they will not end up with the reality of the difference…negative outcomes. To do that, they talk about continuous improvement and process enhancement. I am sure you have heard someone say that we need to raise the bar. The main focus and goal is we MUST remain vigilant and open to that 1 percent possibility.
No matter how we say it bottom line remains the same: We must Stay Alarmed!