Changes In Response Patterns Of Fire Departments In Civil Disturbances

Waxman, Jerry J.
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Disaster Research Center
As Allen Barton has noted, ''a collective stress occurs when many members of a social system fail to receive expected conditions of life from the system."' Common examples of extreme collective stress situations are those usually associated with floods, earthquakes, bombing attacks, riots, revolutions, and mass purges. Underlying these situations and providing the parameters within which these activities occur is the community context. Work done at the Research Center (DRC) has isolated two basic community contexts: consensus and dissensus. In consensus-type extreme situations or crises, "there is general overall agreement about goals and about what should be done. Consensus crisis situations are typically exemplified in most communities during and after major disasters. Most of the research at DRC has been concerned with just such situations. However, dissensus-type extreme crises have not been neglected. These latter crises are marked by differences about goals and how these goals should be realized. Dissensus crisis situations are typically exemplified in most communities during riots or civil disorders. One major value from the DRC viewpoint in studying these latter situations is the knowledge gained in the comparison of organizational activities in the two contexts. In this report a dissensus situation, urban civil disturbance, is studied in the light of the activities and operations of one organizational component: fire departments. It is hoped that the material presented may be useful in a comparison with the activities and operations of fire departments in natural disasters.
Fire Departments , Civil Disturbances , Fluctuating Stress , Peak Stress , Fire Prevention