Evaluating Emergency Response Network Emergence: The Case of the Kilmore East Fire

Presentation at Research Forum of the 2012 Bushfire CRC and AFAC Annual Conference

Preparing for fire-related emergencies and their consequences are dynamic and challenging, particularly to achieve the goals of preventing losses in the context of efficiently allocating and coordinating resources. In this study, we analyse the emergence of social networks over time of personnel involved in managing the Kilmore Fire during the 2009 Bushfires in Victoria. Wesuggest that social network analysis is a useful paradigm for exploring interpersonal network structures. We aim to investigate actors' role changes over the emergence of the coordination response network involved in managing the fire. Using the Kilmore East data to discern coordination (and cooperation / interaction) among several people involved from different agencies in response process over time, we evaluate the networks and demonstrate how the actors' network structural changes at four points of time duration and for the entire period. The results show that analysing the static network (the entire period) cannot reflect how the network evolved and how different organizations changed their role over the course of the emergency event. This study contributes to emergency management literature by evaluating dynamic changes of organizational roles and positions as inter-organizational response networks evolve during the incident. This study is a first step forward in investigating the emerging structure of inter-personal response dynamics during emerging disasters and its effect on improving coordination output

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