Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology

Articles

Emergency Incident Management: An Evolving Incident Control System Framework

Ian Dwyera1 and Christine Owena2 c1

a1 Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Australia.

a2 Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Australia. Christine.Owen@utas.edu.au

Abstract

This article reports on an investigation into the use of Incident Control Systems (e.g., AIIMS/ CIMS) by personnel involved in emergency incident management in fire and emergency services agencies in Australia and New Zealand. A questionnaire was distributed that aimed to assess how information flowed between emergency incident management personnel at different layers of the incident control system, and what enabled and constrained coordination between those personnel. Data were collected from personnel on the fire or incident ground; members of Incident Management Teams; as well as staff operating in regional and state centres of coordination. To date there have been 579 responses spread across 24 agencies. The findings reveal that while there is a high level of satisfaction with overall organisational arrangements and reporting relationships, there are some systemic tensions in, and dissatisfaction evident with, communication arrangements. The extent to which Incident Control Systems facilitate the organisational flexibility needed during dynamic and often unpredictable situations is also discussed. Where appropriate, comparisons are made with similar questionnaire data collected in 2003 by AFAC (Australasian Fire Authorities Council).

Keywords

  • incident control systems;
  • bushfire;
  • organisational response

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Christine Owen, Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 66, Hobart, TAS 7001.