Planning and Improvisation in Emergency Management

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Book chapter from "Critical Issues in Disaster Science and Management: A Dialogue Between Researchers and Practitioners." This chapter includes both a theoretical and practical examination of planning and improvisation in emergency management.

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30 p.

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McEntire, David 2014.

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This chapter is part of the collection entitled: UNT Scholarly Works and was provided by UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 24 times . More information about this chapter can be viewed below.

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Book chapter from "Critical Issues in Disaster Science and Management: A Dialogue Between Researchers and Practitioners." This chapter includes both a theoretical and practical examination of planning and improvisation in emergency management.

Physical Description

30 p.

Notes

Abstract: This chapter includes both a theoretical and practical examination of planning and improvisation in emergency management. The first portion of the chapter explores the concept of planning from a theoretical perspective and includes a critical assessment of its relation to community disaster preparedness. This section also restates important principles of sound disaster planning and underscores the need for improvisation due to limitations in human cognition and the uncertain and dynamic nature of disasters. A new concept of “spontaneous planning” is introduced and is defined as “a semi-formal process of evaluating existing and unfolding problems as well as determining potential solutions and required emergency management actions.” A research agenda pertaining to this concept is identified at the conclusion of this initial discussion of pre-disaster planning and post-disaster improvisations. The second part of the chapter reiterates, from a real-world perspective, the value of planning and improvisation alike. Although planning – the zenith of analytical decision-making – is clearly regarded to be a vital and indispensable foundation of emergency management, this section underscores the fact that policy is generally based on, and is almost completely biased toward, planning. For this reason, it is asserted that there is also a need to teach emergency managers about the significance of improvisation. Examples are provided to illustrate why improvisations are necessary in and beneficial for disaster response operations. The final portion of this practical exposition reveals how factors such as education and training may increase the probability of successful improvisations in the future. The final section of the chapter seeks to assimilate the theoretical and practical findings presented previously. Agreement was reached in regards to the benefit of planning, the primacy of planning in policy, the necessity of improvisations, the requirement for improved response operations, and the false dichotomy between planning and improvisations. Divergent thoughts about rationality, intuition, and training are also mentioned in this integrative section. The chapter concludes with recommendations to further examine the nature of planning during response improvisations, the extent of rationality in emergency management, the value of intuition in decision-making, and the need to identify who should receive training about improvisation. The major lesson to be drawn from this chapter is that researchers and practitioners share many common views about planning and improvisation, and agree that more discussion is required

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  • Critical issues in disaster science and management: a dialogue between researchers and practitioners, 2014. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency

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  • 2014

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  • Aug. 8, 2018, 8:27 a.m.

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McEntire, David. Planning and Improvisation in Emergency Management, chapter, 2014; Washington, DC. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1225768/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.