By Dave Smith
Everyone speaks competence talk now. Unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and finally, unconscious competence are the generally accepted levels in learning; while in motor learning it is divided into cognitive, associative, and automatic.
I have heard many trainers, including me, say we need to learn our survival skills to the unconscious competence level or also the automatic level, that is make all them habitual. I still think the skills should be learned to an automatic level but an interesting article by Dr. Scott Geller who specialized in industrial safety has me thinking about the terms we should use.
In the Street Survival Seminar we teach to constantly attend to the outside world while on the job…we call it Condition Yellow. Dr. Geller argues eloquently that the only way to maintain that "safe" mindset is to think of safety as having to be constantly something we have in our consciousness ... conscious competence.
In other words it isn't enough to have safe habits; we need to constantly be aware of safety. Don't just habitually wear your body armor but remember why you wear it, the types of threats or risks it helps overcome and that in doing this act we are taking control of our own lives.
In a day when accidental deaths are so prevalent and threats such as terrorism and WMD are on everyone's mind we need to have great habits at every level, from call takers to dispatch to the first responder to the special unit that may finally attend to a crisis. Teach your people not only what to do, but to think about why they are doing…to remember the threat. I think this is a great way to get everyone involved in officer safety and help overcome the deadly effect routine has on our safety by eroding our good practices.
Read Dr. Geller's article Psychology of safety: What's on your mind? and then apply the ideas to your own safety. 5%ers don't let others control their destiny. They take charge of their own!!
|Back to previous page|