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A case study of disaster decision‐making in the presence of anomalies and absence of recognition

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 13:51 authored by Steven CurninSteven Curnin, Benjamin BrooksBenjamin Brooks, Christine OwenChristine Owen
This paper provides an insight into the complexities of decision‐making during an unprecedented disaster. We used the critical decision method to explore a series of decision points that were made for a low probability yet high consequence decision that was made by the commander of the Australian Urban Search and Rescue team deployed to Fukushima in 2011. The findings identified that in a situation with no similarities to previous experiences, the commander used a process of anomaly detection to trigger a situational assessment, following this with mental simulation and consultation of his actions. In this unparalleled case study, hazard‐specific expertise also supported the decision‐making process. The paper offers practitioners and academia an example of high consequence decision‐making in a unique situation as well as the opportunity to reflect on the models of decision‐making previously identified as useful in these operational environments.


Publication title

Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management








School of Social Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

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Copyright 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in human society

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