Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the study of expertise in the context of firefighting and emergency responding. The distinction is made between descriptive and experimental approaches, and the need to develop and validate a theoretical perspective that explains expertise in situations that are high dynamic, uncertain, and where the consequences of errors can be significant. Gaps in current knowledge are identified, including the mechanisms by which expertise is acquired and maintained, how it can be measured accurately and reliably, and how and when the capacity for expertise degrades over time and in absence of exposure to emergency conditions. The outcomes of existing research initiatives are discussed, with an emphasis on accurate and precise mental models that are acquired through active interaction within the operational environment. The role of cues and cue utilization are also considered as triggers to activate mental models. Future research directions that will ensure the development of a comprehensive understanding of the nature expertise in firefighting and emergency responding are proposed.
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