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FIRE21 - An introduction

As an introduction to the project FIRE21, here is a summary of problems, problem-solving and problem-solving networks.

FIRE21 aims to improve problem-solving

In FIRE21, the Fire and Rescue Services are seen as both governed by, and dependent on, formal and informal networks. A fundamental assumption in the research project is that efficient emergency management is dependent on efficient problem-solving in these networks. As a consequence, the formal and informal networks are here seen as potential problem-solving networks that can facilitate efficient problem-solving for the Fire and Rescue Services, and thereby contribute to better handling of emergencies and disasters. As such, FIRE21 aims to improve problem-solving for the Fire and Rescue Services in the Nordic countries through understanding the underlying problem-solving networks, today and in the light of the future landscape.

Problem-solving in emergencies is challenging 

Solving problems is as obvious as it is challenging during an emergency or disaster. Some of the problems are easy to understand and solve, others are more difficult or cannot even be understood or solved. Some problems occur immediately, while others appear along the way. As a theoretical concept, problem-solving is part of many fields and studied in many different ways. It has played, and still plays, an important role in various fields like mathematics, psychology and computer science. Theories and ideas that develop in such diverse fields are not always in sync and quite often in conflict with each other.

Reducing the difference between current and desired state

FIRE21 will continuously update its knowledge on problems, problem-solving and problem-solving networks in the Fire and Rescue Services. Currently, problem-solving is understood as a method for reducing or eliminating the difference between a current, undesired, state and a desired, goal, state. In the case of the Fire and Rescue Services, this can be about handling a wildfire (current state) by extinguishing it and meeting the societal needs associated with the event (goal state).

Problem-solving as an iterative process

Problem-solving can also be seen as an iterative process, where, after a problem has been detected, it is represented, or defined, for the individual and for others. The problem representation can thereafter be used to generate solution alternatives and develop an action plan, which is then evaluated against the goals. Last, the chosen solution is implemented and evaluated in reality.

There is often high uncertainty and time pressure

The context of emergencies and disasters is associated with certain conditions that affect the ability to solve problems. For example, there is often a high degree of uncertainty and time pressure, and high values are at stake. Further conditions might be derived from FIRE21's exploration of the future risk landscape. These contextual conditions will inevitably play a role in the problem-solving networks in the Fire and Rescue Services.

Various problems lead to various problem-solving networks

The problem-solving networks in the Fire and Rescue Services are associated with solving various problems during emergencies and disasters, and, various problem-solving networks can be identified, based on what perspective is taken. For example, some problems are solved through formal problem-solving networks whereas others are solved through informal problem-solving networks.

Do you want to know more about how the research is structured? Please read about the work packages in FIRE21.

Back to the start page for FIRE21.

Lotta Vylund

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Lotta Vylund

Forskare

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Kerstin Eriksson

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