Towards an integrated approach to emergency management: interdisciplinary challenges for research and practice
Keywords:Disaster, disaster perception, disaster vulnerability, social media, emergency management, integrated operations, information and communication technology, human-centred sensing, ad hoc networks, smart phones, virtual collaboration, Integrated Operation
This article presents an interdisciplinary vision for large-scale integrated emergency management that has been inspired by the transition from platform centric to integrated operations in the oil and gas fields, which uses remote emergency control centres collaborating virtually with local responders. The article discusses some of the most salient research challenges for integrated emergency management, including the role of mobile technology, human-centred sensing, citizen participation and social media, and the socio-cultural determinants of disaster management. The purpose of this article is to frame an integrated emergency management approach that adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, including human computer interaction, information systems, computer science, development studies and organization science employing different methodologies.Most importantly, we need to better understand the socio-cultural determinants of how people prepare to, respond and perceive disasters, in order to evaluate whether and what kind of information and communication technology (ICT) support is appropriate. There is need for more research as to why in some regions local people ignore official orders to evacuate, and rather follow the advice of local leaders, elders or religious leaders. In other instances, disasters are seen as ‘acts of God’ thus shaping disaster preparedness and response.
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