Managing Emergencies: Key Competencies for Incident Management Teams

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Fire Management
TitleManaging Emergencies: Key Competencies for Incident Management Teams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHayes, P, Omodei, M
JournalThe Australian and New Zealand Journal of Organisational Psychology
AbstractEach year Australian fire and land management agencies deploy Incident Management Teams (IMTs) to manage bushfires. An important question is: what are the key competencies required for IMT personnel? Recent research in high reliability organisations suggests that teamwork-related competencies are likely to be most important because incident management depends critically upon interdependent team members, often operating in dynamic, uncertain, time pressured, and high stakes environments. This study used semi-structured interviews with experienced IMT personnel (N = 15) to identify 12 key competencies important for bushfire IMT roles. Analysis of 30 bushfire incidents described by interviewees confirmed that three competencies (a) interpersonal and communication skills, (b) leadership, and (c) IMT procedural knowledge were central. Potential implications for organisational decision making in emergency contexts in general are outlined.
Refereed DesignationRefereed