Putting plans on track in unforeseen situations

Bruna Diirr, Marcos Borges, David Mendonça


The dynamically evolving environment of the post-disaster scene—where unpredictable scenarios and uncertain data are commonplace—can bring about considerable complexity into response tasks. The multiplicity and interdependence of approaches to undertaking these tasks may yield many decision alternatives, further complicating the response effort. Additionally, because emergencies are evolving, expectations regarding the post-disaster scene may not match those that are actually encountered. Plans compiled before the disaster may therefore be judged as inadequate, requiring personnel to adjust or even redefine them during the response activities. This paper outlines and illustrates one approach—drawing upon the paradigm of improvisation—for providing management-level response personnel with information and tools to support on-the-fly adaptation of emergency response plans. A case study illustrates the approach application.

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