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An assessment of the opportunities to improve strategic decision-making in emergency and disaster management

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 23:09 authored by Benjamin BrooksBenjamin Brooks, Steven CurninSteven Curnin, Bearman, C, Christine OwenChristine Owen, Rainbird, S

The management of major emergencies is strongly influenced by the decisions made during the event. Decisions guide the distribution and subsequent deployment of assets, the removal of people from harm’s way, how objectives are established and a myriad of other actions. Decision-making is therefore an important skill for emergency managers that permeates every emergency event and every level of disaster management. The vast majority of decisions made during an incident are effective enough in both process and outcome, but the drive for continual improvement and the need to manage more extreme events requires decision-making to become sophisticated and to achieve even higher levels of reliability.

So how well are emergency management organisations integrating acknowledged developments in the understanding of decisionmaking? Where are the opportunities for continual improvement? What are some of the challenges that the expert decision-maker is required to balance across an event?

This paper examines key concepts that have progressed the understanding of decision-making. A review of preliminary interactions with end-users of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (CRC) research project ‘Practical decision tools for improved decision-making in complex situations’ considers how Australian and New Zealand are using this knowledge to make decisions. Opportunities for improvement and the approaches being taken to evaluate cognitive decision tools for end-users are identified.


Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC


Publication title

Australian Journal of Emergency Management










Australian Maritime College


Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

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Copyright The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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  • Open

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Other law, politics and community services not elsewhere classified

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