Disaster Analysis: Police And Fire Departments

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Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION Background of This Report The Disaster Research Center (DRC) at the University of Delaware in the fall of 1985 initiated work under Contract EMW-85C-1981 on a five year project focusing upon community and organizational response to natural and technological disasters. During the First Phase of the project where the work extended over a year, the DRC undertook a comparative study of the responses of local emergency management agencies (LEMAs) during the emergency time period of disasters. The Final Report on the First Phase of the work (Wenger, Quarantelli and Dynes, 1987) reported on both the extensiveness and effectiveness of the disaster response by LEMAs in six communities. An empirically grounded eightfold typology of local emergency management arrangements was developed, and the effectiveness of the various types was studied in relation to such variables as disaster experience, disaster planning and federal assistance. In general, we found a strong positive relationship between prior disaster experience and both the extensiveness and effectiveness of LEMA response. A similar pattern was discerned for prior disaster planning. In addition, we found that various forms of federal assistance can have positive, salutary effects upon local community response. The Second Phase of the research has shifted the focus of study from LEMAs to local police and fire departments. As was the case in the work in Phase One, there are actually two distinct although related project activities, i.e., the field work on the organizations being studied and the work on the computerization of the DRC library and data base. In this Final Report we discuss the major empirical findins we have generated with regard to the response of local police and fire departments to disasters; another Final Report summarizes our work on the DRC library and data base ( see Quarantelli, 1989).
Disaster Analysis, Police Departments, Fire Departments, Community Response, Organizational Response, Natural Disasters, Technological Disaster