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USAR decision-making: the role of hazard specific expertise and risk assessment


Brooks, B and Curnin, SW and Brooks, O, USAR decision-making: the role of hazard specific expertise and risk assessment, Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 38, (1) pp. 36-41. ISSN 1324-1540 (2023) [Professional, Refereed Article]

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The accepted detrimental effects of climate change and the anticipated increased frequency of cascading disasters means there is a pressing requirement to equip search and rescue teams with the capability to perform effective and complex risk assessments. This paper investigates risk-based decision-making expertise in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It compares the actual decisions made by an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) commander, with the decisions that a cohort of people working within search and rescue made, when provided with the same decision context using 3 vignettes. Variations in the results are explored in terms of the complexity of the risk decision and the type of expertise required. The findings indicate that as the risk becomes more complex, the percentage of answers that were the same as the USAR commander (that we deem as ‘correct’ as they did not result in any adverse outcomes for the USAR team) decreased. Training entities need to provide decision makers with the necessary human capabilities so they can perform the complex risk assessments required to make decisions in low probability yet high-consequence disasters.

Item Details

Item Type:Professional, Refereed Article
Keywords:Decision-making, Urban Search & Rescue, USAR, Expertise, Risk Assessment
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Disaster and emergency management
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Natural hazards
Objective Field:Natural hazards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Brooks, B (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
UTAS Author:Curnin, SW (Associate Professor Steven Curnin)
UTAS Author:Brooks, O (Mr Oliver Brooks)
ID Code:155176
Year Published:2023
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2023-01-31
Last Modified:2023-02-01

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