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FIRE21 - Research 2021- Early observations

One part of the research in work package 2 in FIRE21 is mapping of the problem-solving network.

Norway is the first country to be mapped

To date, the mapping is nearly completed in Norway. The researchers have mapped about a hundred organizations involved in emergency response. Mapping has also begun in Sweden. In the new year, the work will be extended to include Denmark.

Important clusters – one observation

One interesting observation from the mapping is that there are some important voluntary organizations such as the Red Cross that often are an important part of the emergency response during incidents, but which are not individually mentioned. Instead, these organizations are clustered under the label “voluntary organizations” and their network relationships are not further specified.

Medical emergency service has several names

Another striking observation from the mapping is that emergency medical service is referred to under various terms and different names. There does not seem to be a standardized methodology for their inclusion for the problem-solving organization. Why this is the case will be an interesting area of continuing research.

Further, despite being one of the important and central actors in incidents, always on standby, the medical services appear to have a rather peripheral formal position in the network. This is remarkable, considering the risk of someone being injured in emergency incidents and the natural importance of medical service. The implications of these initial findings will be further investigated early 2022.

Technology is not incorporated

A third observation from the mapping is the absence of formalized methods to incorporate technology into practice. Technology is acknowledged in the formal documents, but there is a lack of guidelines concerning how to make use of it. For instance, nothing is said about drones or communication networks although it is clear that these are instrumental in successful incident response, e.g. these technical aids had a large impact in recent emergency response, such as in the Gjerdrum landslide in Norway 2021.

Further, there are no elaborated guidelines on how the command system ELS should work or be integrated in the problem-solving network. ELS was established by DSB in Norway already in 2011 and is mentioned in the formal documents, but there is a lack of details on how it should work or be implemented. Thus, one open question is to what degree ELS has been taken from the formal level into practice.

Next step is to interview

The mapping is a vital part of the research in FIRE21 but we are approaching the point where formal mapping will need to be supplemented by real life experience of problem-solving networks in the respective countries through interviews and workshops with stakeholders. The mapping will be used to develop plans for coming interviews and workshops. The next step in the research of FIRE21 is to study problem-solving networks that developed during a small number of incidents in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. This to identify practical networks developed as part of specific incident responses.

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