College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Experienced firefighters more analytical under stress than novices, according to ISU study

Research conducted at Iowa State found that experienced firefighters take longer to make decisions than novice firefighters when under stress. But even though it may take them longer, the study found they are more likely to make good decisions when facing a crisis.

Dozens of virtual reality trials with real firefighters of varying experience levels responding to fire simulations showed the seasoned firefighters took a more analytical approach to decision-making.

“The experienced firefighters put a heavier emphasis on enhancing their situational awareness and creating a menial map for themselves,” said Nir Keren, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

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