It is not surprising that things can go wrong during emergency and disaster response operations. The challenge and opportunity presented here is ensuring that responders can perceive problems – both inherent to an incident and unfolding during a response – as quickly as possible, adapt to those problems, and still get response resources and capabilities where they are needed with minimal effect or compromises on performance.
According to Johnson et al.: Improved Situational Awareness in Emergency Management “In this setting, the challenge of situational awareness has changed from a lack of sufficient information to information overload – the situation when the amount of information available exceeds human cognitive limits. While large volumes of data can potentially be beneficial, they require analysis and interpretation to transition from raw data to actionable knowledge. In the increasingly complex, dynamic, and multi-disciplinary environment that emergency management has become, it is critical to find solutions that can provide the support needed to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of decision makers while enhancing the safety of responders and victims.
Monolithic systems encompassing all public safety operations cannot adapt to modern event/disaster management requirements. Technical operations using a unified and adaptive emergency response approach can empower operations by presenting relevant information from various responding agencies and sources in a clear and concise manner. Enable the fusion and dissemination of available relevant information, presented by responding agencies and sources in interoperable contexts, both before and during incident response. Information dissemination throughout the response process will also be greatly advanced by advanced layered visualization which will greatly facilitate the maintenance of user defined operational pictures (UDOP).
Overall, flexibility and adaptability will significantly mitigate the risks of both response-termination failures and capability reduction failures during an incident response, substantially improving the course of action efforts and overall response objectives.
Johnson, David; Zagorecki, Adam; Gelman, Joshua M.; and Comfort, Louise K. (2011) "Improved Situational Awareness in Emergency Management through Automated Data Analysis and Modeling," Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Vol. 8: Iss. 1, Article 40. DOI: 10.2202/1547-7355.1873 Available at: http://www.bepress.com/jhsem/vol8/iss1/40 Improved Situational Awareness in Emergency Management through Automated Data Analysis and Modeling,"