Title: Obtaining information in emergency management: a case study from an Australian emergency operations centre

Authors: Steven Curnin; Christine Owen

Addresses: Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 66, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia ' Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 66, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia

Abstract: Stakeholders involved in emergency management multi-agency coordination require information to inform their situation awareness to plan and coordinate their response and mitigation strategies. This study investigates the perceived information requirements of senior strategic level emergency management personnel and how they obtain this information. The results are based on empirical data from two sources: an organisational survey and observational study during an emergency event. The findings indicate that the most influential cognitive artefacts used to obtain information are in person communication and use of specialised application software. However, challenges associated with using the latter can result in an increased use of in person communication which can limit the exchange of information throughout the system of actors. Understanding the strengths and limitations of how these stakeholders obtain information in this Australian emergency operations centre to inform their situation awareness is essential in facilitating multi-agency coordination in this environment.

Keywords: situation awareness; emergency management; emergency operations centres; multi-agency coordination; cognitive artefacts; Australia; information requirements; information exchange; senior management; strategic management; crisis management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2013.057614

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2013 Vol.2 No.2/3, pp.131 - 158

Received: 21 Mar 2013
Accepted: 10 Jul 2013

Published online: 14 Nov 2013 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article