This coure is part of the Information Technology supporting Seismic Emergency Management (ITEM-Seis) moduleand is taught by prof. O. Mejri and myself. In the following you will find only my part of the course (5 credits).
Analysis of cognitive and organisational aspects.
This course will address the issue of how technological and scientific aspects, gained in the two related courses (ICT and Seismic Risk), can be merged in such a way to address the basic needs of the victims and mitigate the negative impacts of a seismic crisis on the affected community, on the economy and on society at large. The main objective is to provide the organisational framework needed to accommodate ICT tools fit to the needs of civil protection and other agencies with responsibilities in crisis management. Further how specific features of seismic events need to be considered in such a framework will be detailed. Another objective is to highlight the human component of crisis management, both from the point of view of interveners (firemen, doctors, civil protection officials) and from a sociological perspective.
Crisis management is a particularly complex activity, to be carried out under the stress provoked by a natural extreme, in the midst of a chaotic situation, characterised by high levels of demands on decision makers and on interveners and lack of relevant information. Despite the advancement in technology, crisis management remains a very challenging activity, requiring the ability to combine knowledge, ability to use at best existing tools and technologies, organisational capabilities. A remarkable literature has been developed in recent years regarding the behaviour of complex organisations under stress and several examples of successes and failures in managing crises are available and will be presented during classes.
In particular a seismic crisis can be divided in two main phases:
- First the search and rescue activity, with the activation of all means and resources needed on the one hand to save the lives of those trapped under the debris, on the other to respond the immediate needs of those left homeless
- Second the organisation of temporary camps, the move towards more comfortable temporary shelters, the return to normalcy of basic services and work activities.
Both require a huge organisational machine, making the best of existing technologies, competences, knowledge and lessons learnt in past events.
Fundamental topics that will be discussed are:
- Problems and constraints in multi-institutional processes
- Theory of decision making
- Case studies analysis for enlightening problems of process coordination
- Efficient use of resources
- Inclusion of scenario modelling into organisational procedures
Students will acquire several operational tools in this course on:
- How to analyse and understand the challenges of a complex crisis;
- How organisations work under stress and what are some solutions and key lessons that have been learnt from the past that they can apply in their project;
- In the project of the Module ICT for seismic crisis management they will combine ICT with the knowledge acquired in organisational aspects and will apply it to a real case where an earthquake actually occurred.