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


Curnin, S and Brooks, B and Owen, C, A case study of disaster decision‐making in the presence of anomalies and absence of recognition, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 28, (2) pp. 110-121. ISSN 0966-0879 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/1468-5973.12290


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:decision-making, disaster, emergency management
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public administration
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Curnin, S (Associate Professor Steven Curnin)
UTAS Author:Brooks, B (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
UTAS Author:Owen, C (Dr Christine Owen)
ID Code:138666
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-04-20
Last Modified:2021-02-11
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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