Crichton, M. and Flin, R., University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Analysis of performance during emergencies illustrates that non-technical, i.e. social and cognitive, skills are as important as technical expertise. Response to emergency situations by complex, large-scale organisations, such as nuclear power plants, demands co-ordination of actions, communication within, between and across teams, and a high level of decision making, often under pressure. Moreover, the on-site emergency response organisation also comprises command and control activities at each level in the command chain. A novel method, Tactical Decision Games, has been developed for training key non-technical skills (decision making, situation awareness, communication, teamwork and leadership, and stress management) required for effective emergency management. Tactical Decision Games (TDGs), a low fidelity scenario-based simulation, have been directed towards individual and within-team use, but more recently, have been expanded to exercise all three main levels of the command chain, i.e. strategic, tactical, and operational. The aim of this paper is to describe the methodology involved in designing a command chain TDG, and to discuss potential improvements in non-technical skills performance as a result of the development, introduction and use of TDGs. The adaptability and general application of TDGs in training emergency response teams in a range of operational settings will also be presented.