Towards a systems-oriented framework for analysing and evaluating emergency response

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information can be provided by studying and evaluating past emergencies and the
response in connection to them. This information would then be useful in efforts directed
at preventing, mitigating and/or preparing for future emergencies. However, the analysis
and evaluation of emergency response operations is not an easy task, especially when the
operation involves several cooperating actors (e.g. the fire and rescue services, the
police, the emergency medical services, etc.). Here, we identify and discuss four aspects
of this challenge: (1) issues related to the values governing the evaluation, (2) issues
related to the complexity of the systems involved, (3) issues related to the validity of the
information on which the analysis and evaluation is based and (4) issues related to the
limiting conditions under which the emergency response system operated. An outline of
a framework for such an analysis and evaluation, influenced by systems theory, accident
investigation theories and programme evaluation theories dealing with the above
aspects, is introduced, discussed and exemplified using empirical results from a case
study.We conclude that the proposed framework may provide a better understanding of
how an emergency response system functioned during a specific operation, and help to
identify the potential events and/or circumstances that could significantly affect the
performance of the emergency response system, either negatively or positively. The
insights gained from using the framework may allow the actors involved in the response
operation to gain a better understanding of how the emergency response system
functioned as a whole, as well as how the actors performed as individual components
of the system. Furthermore, the information can also be useful for actors preparing for
future emergencies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Building Technologies
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Civil Engineering


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