Decision Making Support in Emergency Response

Decision Making Support in Emergency Response

Viviane Barbosa Diniz (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Marcos R.S. Borges (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), José Orlando Gomes (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and José H. Canós (Technical University of Valencia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-843-7.ch021
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An emergency event can be chronologically divided into three phases: prevention, response, and investigation. Preventive actions attempt to anticipate all emergency situations and describe procedures intended to avoid undesirable outcomes. Unfortunately, not all circumstances can be predicted and some cannot be avoided. When undesirable situations occur, an emergency response action has to be set off. The response phase is very complex because decisions have to be made in a very short time and sometimes without the desirable information. An investigation usually follows any incident in order to find out the causes of the emergency, assess the effectiveness of the response, and generate recommendations for future preventive and response actions (Ochoa, Neyem, Pino, & Borges, 2006). Concerning the emergency response phase, actions are usually carried out by several teams which should work in a manner as cooperative and articulated as possible to eliminate or reduce the impact of the disaster. These teams usually follow established procedures to deal with emergencies contained in emergency plans. In most events, actions are coordinated centrally but decisions are made at both central and local levels. Information plays an important role in these decisions. According to Dykstra (2003), when things go wrong in emergency management, the reasons are generally related to breakdowns in information, communication, and/or coordination.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Personal Knowledge: The knowledge possessed by an individual as a result of previous experience and learning.

Formal Knowledge: Information made explicit and associated with a semantic meaning.

Contextual Knowledge: Knowledge captured during an incident that provides information about the development of the event.

Decision Making Framework: A knowledge framework developed to understand?how personal, formal, and contextual knowledge combine to provide information for decision-maker actions.

Emergency Response: A set of coordinated actions to handle unexpected and undesirable events during an emergency.

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