International Journal of Emergency Management (20 papers in press)
Improving emergency preparedness with a live collaboration exercise model for first responders
by David Sjöberg, Miguel Inzunza
Abstract: Collaboration is essential for successful emergency event management. Live exercises are one method to prepare for such emergencies. In this article, we present and evaluate an exercise model for multi-agency collaboration between first responders that focuses on learning collaboration. The model design emphasizes preparation, the learning climate, scenarios that support learning, and reflection. The model is underpinned by a practice perspective on learning and structured reflection. Data were collected from three collaboration exercises using questionnaires in conjunction with the exercise, and interviews at a later time after the exercise. The analysis showed that the participants developed a knowledge of collaboration and improved their ability to collaborate in real emergency events. The main contribution of the article is the validation of a small-scale exercise model that places learning of the subject matter in the foreground, which is shown to be a successful method for developing relevant knowledge. It is concluded that this live exercise model both complements the more commonly used large-scale collaboration exercise model and strengthens emergency preparedness.
Keywords: exercise; learning; collaboration; first responders; reflection; preparation; emergency preparedness; small scenarios; police; ambulance; emergency services; live simulation.
Resilience on the periphery: understanding the impacts of population displacement on infrastructure systems beyond the disaster zone
by Glenn Voelz
Abstract: This research examines how disaster-induced displacements in the United States impact communities on the periphery of disaster zones when demand pressures push infrastructure systems beyond their design capacity. As displacement events become more complex, disruptive, and prolonged, they threaten both 'hard' infrastructure systems (transportation, energy, water, and communications) as well as 'soft' infrastructure (healthcare systems, emergency response, public safety, and education). This research applies a comparative case study analysis, examining displacement during three disaster events: Hurricanes Katrina and Maria and the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Several factors appear to influence how community-level infrastructure systems respond to the demands of supporting evacuees: the nature of the triggering event, the dynamics of the displacement, levels of social vulnerability among the affected population, and the pre-disaster capacity of infrastructure systems.
Keywords: population displacement; infrastructure resilience; time compression; social vulnerability; disaster recovery and resettlement.
Professionalisation in safety: in the heart of emergency response
by Christian Foussard, Wim Van Wassenhove, Cédric Denis-Remis
Abstract: During a large-scale exercise designed to test the effectiveness of a Seveso type emergency plan of an industrial site, a specific observation method of the simulation was implemented. It is articulated around the combination of specialised observers (postgraduate students in industrial risk management) that focus on key people, essential tasks and paramount locations that drive the dynamics of the emergency response. Associated with an interpretation model called structure-relation-meaning, this method allows to produce three levels of organisational learning (single loop, double loop and triple loop). Resulting knowledge benefits the company, the administration, the students and the faculties. This paper presents the experimental setup and the analysis methodology, then the results obtained are discussed. The articles goal is to give useful information to safety professionals in companies who can integrate partly or entirely the observation method for emergency response simulation. It is also useful for faculties that teach emergency response simulation.
Keywords: organisational learning; loop learning; emergency response; resilience engineering; sensemaking; professionalisation in safety.
Content analysis of inter-organisational communication networks on social media during disasters
by Qingchun Li, Cheng Zhang, Ali Mostafavi
Abstract: This study conducted content analysis on social media posts to examine topics of interactive communications among organisational accounts during disasters. The objective of this paper is two-fold: (1) examine the extent to which the interactive communications among organisations on social media are related to disaster topics, and (2) uncover the evolution of topics in inter-organisational communications on social media during disasters. We used Twitter data during Hurricane Harvey to conduct content analysis. The results show that (1) 94.5% of interactive tweets among organisations during Harvey were related to Hurricane Harvey, (2) the evolution of tweet topics demonstrated a strong correlation with the triggering events and phases of disasters, and (3) the topics of organisations showed a strong correlation with functions and network positions of organisations, instead of organisation types. The study could help organisations to improve disaster-related communication using online social media for better disaster preparedness, emergency response, and post-disaster recovery.
Keywords: content analysis; social media; twitter data; organizational communication network; disaster response.
The process of integrating risk management: usefulness, standardisation and adaptation
by Mette Leonhardsen, Aud Solveig Nilsen, Odd Einar Olsen
Abstract: In this paper, we analyse how a municipality set out to integrate risk management throughout an organisation with more than 9000 employees in six divisions and over 100 sub-units. An objective was to ensure coherence in risk management related work conducted in various sub-units in the municipality. Being forerunners, those involved had to find their own way. We identify three focus areas of importance in the integration process: usefulness, standardisation and adaptation. We describe and discuss the activities within these focus areas, and their value to the integration process. We collected the data in this study over a six-year period. The period encompasses the development from intention, where only a few people were involved, to realisation in divisions and sub-units. The study is delimited to risk management related to safeguarding the population.
Keywords: risk management; integration; implementation; safety; standardisation; adaptation; usefulness; municipalities; public sector.
Working memory and team-working in an emergency: the impact of response information systems
by Md Rokonuzzaman, Md Ali, Md Sadique, Bimal Pramanik
Abstract: How does the human's limitation of limited working memory affect team-working in an emergency? This study aimed to explore the effects through the use of a response information system. A response information system (RIS) was developed and tested through standard software test matrices. A quasi-experimental study was then conducted to obtain empirical data. A total of 200 members of the fire and civil defence (FSCD) divided into two groups participated in the study. IBM AMOS based Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) approach was used to obtain the results. This research implies that, with the emerging complexity in urban living and high-impact disasters, it has become crucial for the emergency response and rescue authority to redesign the response services for better acquisition, dissemination, and use of response information.
Keywords: emergency; team performance; response information systems.
Quantitative performance evaluations for crisis response management: a scoping study
by Nicoletta Baroutsi
Abstract: Evaluation methods are vital tools to support learning and ensure quality in Crisis Response Management (CRM). They provide systematic feedback in situations where it is difficult to understand how separate factors affect the outcome of an event. In this article, the scoping study methodology is used to examine the range and nature of methods available for evaluating CRM performance. The methods are systematically charted into classes to highlight significant research gaps and examine current trends. The analysis reveals that evaluation methods are not available for all relevant circumstances, that there are no attempts to create empirical baselines, and that the link between effectiveness and a method rarely is brought up. The article also highlights how doctrinal knowledge may be used to increase interrater reliability, and issues that are complicating statistical validations in this field.
Keywords: performance evaluations; quantitative evaluations; C2; command & control; CRM; crisis response management; evaluation methods; crisis management; analysis; human performance; performance evaluations; quantitative evaluations; C2; command & control; CRM; crisis response management; evaluation methods; crisis management; analysis; human performance; literature review; scoping study. crisis exercises; training and evaluations.
The implications of climate change for emergency management: the example of Australia
by Jean S. Renouf
Abstract: This article investigates the implications of climate change for emergency services, based on an analysis of the documents published by Resilience NSW and using the NSW North Coast region of Australia as a case study. While emergency services have demonstrated definitive capacity to respond to different crises and disasters, shortcomings identified during the 2017 ex-tropical cyclone Debbie and the 2019/2020 bushfire season underscore their limited readiness in light of a rapidly changing climate. In this context, the research reveals a limited focus on climate change by NSW emergency services and argues that they will be faced with increasing uncertainty. It concludes that institutional changes are necessary to better prepare for the impacts to come. A shift in mindset, leading to seeing climate change as an immediate threat, and accompanied with a transformation of the emergency management sector into a better integrated, whole-of-community approach, are to be considered.
Keywords: emergency management; emergency services; climate change; resilience; Australia; crisis; disasters; bushfire; floods; cyclone; policies; readiness; uncertainty.
Has flood control in Tamil Nadu been ahead of time? A historical review
by Sudha Seshayyan, Maanasa Rajagopalan, Srinivas Govindarajulu
Abstract: With seasonal rains contributing to the damage, natural disasters particularly floods, have often caused disastrous effects on civilisation and human settlements. Our ancestors recognised the need for effective management of the waterways, and designed river-wide defensive systems and irrigation canals. Thanks to their advanced approach, several disasters had been averted in the past centuries. However, it is not surprising to note that the demands have outgrown and the defence mechanisms have become insufficient. In the context of early warning, newer scientific techniques have arisen to control flood damage and save human lives. While there is no doubt that flood control has progressed in its strategy over time, there is still some lacuna in surplus water management, which is an essential aspect in flood management, that needs to be considered by our authorities for effective outcomes.
Keywords: disaster mitigation; Flood control; Tamil Nadu; water management; scientific techniques.
The supportive role of non-governmental organisations in sustainable emergency management: the case of Poland
by Dominika Marciniak
Abstract: Non-governmental organisations in sustainable emergency management have many roles, depending on the stage of crisis development. In many emergency situations, non-governmental organisations appear first, and in some cases even before host governments. That is why it is so important to discuss the role of NGOs in the process of sustainable emergency management and to assess the effectiveness of joint actions of humanitarian aid providers. For this purpose, research was conducted among organisations of the crisis management network. It turns out that an important factor determining the effectiveness of jointly undertaken activities is the level of trust between organisations, the increase of which results in increasing the effectiveness of cooperation of NGOs with other entities of the crisis management network. Moreover, more than half of the respondents positively assessed the level of organisational effectiveness of joint activities with the participation of NGOs and volunteers.
Keywords: sustainable emergency management; non-governmental organisations; crisis management network; humanitarian logistics; volunteerism; disaster management; network approach; donors.
Leadership, boundary spanners and team learning in crisis management
by Erik Hedlund, Camilla Lönngren
Abstract: In early 2020, decision makers in Stockholm were concerned that intensive care units would fill up because of the massive spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, they decided that a group of doctors, a construction company and the Swedish Armed Forces would build a temporary hospital inside an exhibition hall. Using field study observations and in-depth interviews, this study investigates the role of boundary spanners and leadership in crisis management and team learning. Results show that two types of boundary spanner were prevalent: Leader and Expert. Together they are crucial for crisis management, for team learning, and for a project to succeed.
Keywords: boundary spanners; team learning; crisis management; Covid-19; collaboration; civil-military relations.
Institutional capacity of Nigerias emergency management system: nexus of resource availability and communication capacity
by Justine Uyimleshi
Abstract: This study aims to investigate Nigerias EMSs capacity considering its resource availability and communication ability to share information. Both qualitative and quantitative methods involving the use of questionnaire and interview with staff of NEMA, NSCDC, NPF, FRSC, FMOH and NH was adopted. Limited resources, lack of well-trained personnel, lack of communication equipment and networks for sharing of information and lack of technological facilities to support rapid response affects effective disaster management in Nigeria. Likewise, poor coordination, lack of cooperation and integration between different actors and mismanagement and unwise use of resources. There is a need to improve accountability to create a viable, effective and efficient EMS that conform to global standards. And the National Disaster management framework should be implemented effectively. Conclusion contended that more collaboration, cooperation and integration in the public-private-partnership is needed to improve resource utilisation and regular training programmes must be established to keep staff knowledge up-to-date.
Keywords: disaster management; emergency preparedness; institutional capability; resource availability; communication ability and response.
Cybersecurity challenges for field hospitals: impacts of emergency cyberthreats during emergency situations
by Nasir Baba Ahmed, Nicolas Daclin, Marc Olivaux, Gilles Dusserre
Abstract: The use of technology and IT assets in healthcare and emergency response personnel in field hospitals improves emergency care and service delivery. However, these benefits create increasing concerns about the security of infrastructure such as medical devices, health data etc., as healthcare is an attractive target owing to its rich source of valuable data and its weak defences. This paper evaluates how cyberthreat actors take advantage of a current emergency situation to exploit and attack the healthcare emergency response IT infrastructure. It also explores the opportunistic approach used by cyberthreat actors, and highlights the new vulnerabilities creative themes used to effectively deliver social engineering campaigns and physical attack scenarios successfully. Furthermore, it establishes the impacts of the cyber-attacks on the emergency response infrastructure and its stakeholders.
Keywords: emergency; cybersecurity; cyber-attack; health data; medical devices; field hospital.
Emergency evacuation and vulnerable people: a case study of a chemical exposure emergency scenario involving people with disabilities
by Sofia Karma, Evangelos Koufakos, Milt Statheropoulos, C. L. Paul Thomas
Abstract: Emergency evacuation of critical infrastructures, e.g. airports and high density crowd buildings, like shopping centres or entertainment venues, is considered a critical issue in terms of evacuees safety; bottlenecks may lead to crowd jamming, causing evacuation delays and possibly putting in danger the evacuees. Vulnerable people, such as people with disabilities are more likely to be injured or killed in an emergency, triggered by a natural or man-made disaster; they are rarely consulted on provisions for their safety and most of them are not prepared for emergencies. This case-study involves the evacuation of people with disabilities at an airport terminal due to a chemical exposure event, under a broader emergency evacuation exercise, targeting at: (a) proposing a Critical Indicators list for the inclusion of people with disabilities in evacuation exercises of public buildings (b) recording the lessons learned (c) reflecting on suggestions regarding preparedness, evacuation, triage etc. in such events.
Keywords: vulnerable people; disability; mobility impairment; chemical exposure; disaster; emergency; evacuation; evacuation plan; accessibility; emergency management.
Detecting the risk of COVID-19 spread in near real-time using social media
by Mohammed Ahsan Raza Noori, Bharti Sharma, Ritika Mehra
Abstract: COVID-19 is a contagious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Given the lack of adequate facilities and vaccines in the early months of pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended a set of preventive measures, such as social distancing, intensive testing, lockdown, face masks, etc., to limit the spread of virus. To ensure public health safety, proper implementation and monitoring of preventive measures is important. However, failing to do so thereby increases the risk of COVID-19 spread, which leads to high mortality and overwhelms the healthcare systems. In this paper, we propose a near real-time system for detecting the risk of COVID-19 spread using Twitter social media platform. The proposed system is developed using open source Apache Spark framework for performing many tasks, including text mining, machine learning, and near real time processing of data stream from Twitter. We used five base machine learning classifiers: Support Vector Machine (SVM), Logistic Regression (LR), Multilayer Perceptron (MLP), Decision Tree (DT), and Naive Bayes (NB). In addition, to improve the overall accuracy and performance, we combined the base classifiers to form a single Ensemble Majority Voting Classifier (EMVC). Experimental results show that 92.07% accuracy of SVM is optimal relative to other base classifiers whereas 94.76% accuracy of EMVC is overall highest compared with individual base classifiers. Finally, the system is built using EMVC and tested in near real-time for detecting the tweets related to the risk of COVID-19 spread in three cities: London, Mumbai, and New York in the month of June 2020. Our analysis reveals that many risk-related factors were still spiralling in these cities such as not wearing of masks, and no or less social distancing by the people, whereas less testing and decisions related to lockdown by the governing bodies are the major issues that need to be handled to contain the spread of COVID-19 further during this ongoing pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; risk detection; social media; Twitter; machine learning; ensemble learning; near real-time system; apache spark.
Impact of coordination on post-earthquake last mile relief distribution operations in India
by Reda M. Lebcir, Priyanka Roy
Abstract: The operations to deliver relief to disaster-affected populations are complex, requiring careful planning, execution, and coordination especially during the Last Mile Relief Distribution (LMRD) phase. This paper investigates the impact of coordination on LMRD performance in the context of India, one of the most affected countries in the world by natural disasters. The research was carried out in two phases. First, qualitative interviews were conducted with Indian government, national, and international non-governmental organisations involved in disaster relief operations in the country. Second, an agent-based simulation model representing Indian LMRD operations was developed and used to evaluate the impact of three coordination scenarios on the total level of inventory in distribution centres (TLIDC) and the logistics chain responsiveness during the 45 days period following an earthquake. Findings indicate that better coordination can reduce TLIDC by up to 16% and improves responsiveness by up to 13%. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords: emergency logistics; last mile relief distribution; agent-based simulation; coordination; India; earthquake; natural disaster; relief chain.
A sight youll never forget. Why firefighters experience certain incidents as critical, and the impact of such incidents on individual firefighters and fire crews
by Karin Dangermond, Ricardo Weewer, Joachim Duyndam, Anja Machielse
Abstract: Firefighters encounter critical incidents as part of their work. Little research has been conducted into the impact of critical incidents on firefighters wellbeing and performance. The goal of this study is to gain in-depth understanding of firefighters experiences with critical incidents and their impact on both individual firefighters and their crews.
Data were collected by means of 20 participant observations and 72 interviews with Dutch firefighters from 37 different fire stations. Whether an incident is experienced as critical depends on the type of incident, the personal situation and the circumstances of the incident. Directly or indirectly, experiencing a critical incident impacts firefighters during and after the incident, both professionally and personally. Experiencing critical incidents affects the dynamics within a crew. Knowledge about their impact is necessary to tailor help and aftercare more effectively to firefighters needs.
Keywords: firefighters; critical incidents; impact; fire service culture.
How effective is digital marketing for government organisations in times of crisis? The case of Kuwait's Fire Force during COVID-19.
by Yousef Mohammed
Abstract: Digital marketing is increasingly used by government organisations during crises to improve information dissemination as well as foster citizen and general public participation. The aim of this paper is to explore the adoption of digital marketing by Kuwait Fire Force. Qualitative data was used with officials in the organisation to understand the strategic approach and effectiveness. Secondary data has been collected from social media platforms of the organisation to determine participation of citizens, the impact of the digital marketing strategies, the sentiments of the information and the reach of this information through the platforms. This paper argues that commercial digital marketing strategies can be applied in crisis management through use of social media channels. Using a proxy of Twitter for measuring engagement through social media, the results show that, to a certain extent, the digital marketing strategies are effective. However, care should be taken to ensure that all platforms are well-integrated and have similar messages, and that the tone of these messages is clearly defined in the digital marketing strategy. Recommendations have been provided to improve the impact of these strategies.
Keywords: Kuwait; marketing; digital; government; crisis; pandemic.
Crisis management and forced collaboration: a case study during the coronavirus pandemic
by Camilla Lönngren, Erik Hedlund
Abstract: This article investigates one crisis management effort during the COVID-19 pandemics first wave in Stockholm, Sweden. Decision-makers in Stockholm were afraid that intensive care unit beds would run out due to the massive spread of the virus and therefore decided to build a temporary hospital in an exhibition hall outside Stockholm. Using field study observations and interviews, this article uses grounded theory method to describe what happened between two actors, a hospital and a regional administrative body, during this process. These two actors, in this article called the Operational and the Administrative organisations, are two separate but dependent actors who had to collaborate during this crisis. The crisis management process can be seen as forced collaboration. By investigating the different phases of the crisis management, we found that there were conflicting situational assessments, conflicting actions, power play and stereotyping, which contributed to making collaboration and crisis management difficult.
Keywords: crisis management; COVID-19; collaboration; grounded theory; Sweden.
Drought risk management in Madhya Pradesh, India: a policy perspective
by Ashish Sharma
Abstract: Madhya Pradesh, the central State of India, is susceptible to drought risks owing to its unique geophysical characteristics and vulnerable eco-system. The State predominantly depends on agriculture from the employment and occupational engagements perspective. Government intervention is essential to reduce agricultural and other economic losses and support livelihoods. This paper, therefore firstly examines the vulnerability profile of the State towards drought. Secondly, it evaluates the State governments intervention through policies, particularly pre and post-disaster budgetary policy towards drought risk management. The examination focuses on the short-term (relief) and the long-term (mitigation) budgetary allocations to important State run programs and trends to reduce the exposure, vulnerability, and damage caused by droughts. Further, the existing disaster management policies effectiveness, shortcomings, and challenges are also analysed. These findings are useful for the State government to re-design the policies and improve disaster management frameworks shortcomings.
Keywords: droughts; drought risks; drought risk management; mitigation; budgetary allocations; risk management framework.