Fr-OR-S85-5 - The Potential Of Online And Mobile Communications In Emergency Management: A Human Factors Perspective

Human factors and ergonomics
Oral Presentation
Part of:
Friday May 19   12:30 PM to 12:45 PM (15 minutes)
Technology, work-design and human-machine-systems
Human factors and ergonomics
The Potential of Online and Mobile Communications in Emergency Management: A Human Factors Perspective
D. Ross 1,*, S. Curristan 1, M. Cooke 1
1School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Content: Purpose
This paper reports the Human Factors (HF) identified from the SOTERIA FP-7 project, which addresses the use of online and mobile communication in emergencies. Information is a precious resource for emergency services.  Until recently the emergency services have primarily relied upon traditional forms of communication (phone, radio, etc.). However, emerging communication technologies can support the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information across emergency management systems, resulting in an enhanced situation awareness. Identifying HF issues can support the successful implementation of new communication technologies in emergency management systems.
An ethnographic approach was undertaken with members of the European emergency services. This approach employed several methods including interview, observation, and document review.
Several HF issues were identified at the individual level, team level, intra-organisational level, and inter-organisational level. Emergency services personnel acknowledge that they are not capitalising on new communication capabilities; but it is also evident that they are extremely cautious about communications and how they utilise information. By addressing the HF issues identified here, steps can be taken to realise the potential of online and mobile communications in emergency management.
The findings discussed may need to be calibrated to specific emergency management organisations.
Practical/Research Implications
The findings of this research highlight the critical role for HF in emergency management, specifically concerning communication and information management. Importantly, it emphasises the potential for change in complex socio-technical systems.
This research extends previous studies of HF in emergency management by examining communications in the broader context of emergency management. 

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