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Mapping information flow during critical incidents


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Owen, C ORCID: 0000-0002-1985-7886, Hickey, G and Douglas, JM 2008 , Mapping information flow during critical incidents.

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Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


The report was commissioned by senior personnel in the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), who wanted to learn how enhancements in information flows might continue to be improved.

The report contains a review of the international literature to identify lessons that can be learned for Victoria. It contains findings of 40 interviews with personnel who were directly involved in the previous fire season in working in either the control agency or emergency partner organisations. Emergency management partner organisations are those agencies with key roles to play, either in providing support to the control agencies or in the provision of services to communities for which those emergency partner agencies are responsible.

The report reviews major domestic and international incidents and concludes that breakdowns of information flow typically occur at the boundaries of differing agencies or groups. The consequences of these breakdowns increase in severity with increasing dependency and interdependency between agencies/interests.
The interviews revealed that personnel involved in a fire-related emergency event had a good knowledge of their own role and the immediate context of their own responsibility within the emergency management framework and of the information needs of those with whom they directly inter-related. However, respondents indicated a limited understanding of the need and purpose of information flow two steps beyond their own position. From the research reported and discussed, 33 strategies are identified to improve information flow between agencies responsible for controlling fire-related emergency events and emergency management partner organisations. The report is of significance to both the state of Victoria and nationally. We believe that addressing the strategies for improving information flow will result in considerable enhancements to information flow between the DSE as the control agency and emergency management partner organisations.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Authors/Creators:Owen, C and Hickey, G and Douglas, JM
Keywords: emergency incidents, incident management
Publisher: Dept of Sustainability and Environment
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