|Title||Identifying lessons from exercising and training for emergency management decision-making|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Brooks, B, Curnin, S, Bearman, C, Owen, C|
|Publisher||Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC|
Decision-making is a skill that permeates every emergency event and every level of emergency and disaster management. The decision environment is often complex and uncertain, with challenging physiological contexts such as fatigue, and major consequence for poor decisions. This makes for a fertile ground for decision scholars, and significant opportunities to support the continual improvement of the management system. Emergency management organisations maintain, assess, and improve the quality of decisions in a number of ways. These include exercising teams in simulated emergency events and training focused on improving skills and knowledge.
We report on a series of training and exercising related studies that specifically examined this area. Study One included observation and surveying participants following multiple exercises in a range of end-user organisations. Study Two included detailed analysis of the set of decisions made by a commander during a Search and Rescue deployment to evaluate the core skills utilised. Study Three involved a training intervention – a one day decision- making course where participants were provided with both knowledge and tools to assist them in their decision-making.
Our results identify several consistent themes in terms of where participants perceive their organisations to be performing well, and several lessons are identified that can lead to improvements in decision-making.
Finally, we describe how the BNHCRC Research project ‘Practical Decision- Tools for Improved Decision-making in Complex Situations’ is building and testing cognitive decision tools based on these results.