Posts Categorised: Crisis Management

Can major post-event inquiries and reviews contribute to lessons management?


“Significant disaster and emergency management events are invariably followed by formal post-event inquiries and reviews. Such reviews identify lessons to improve future capacities and set the agenda for policy and management reform for emergency management organisations. As a result, there is a substantial body of reflections and recommendations gathered across all hazard types and jurisdictions by formal, structured inquiry processes that contribute to lessons management for the emergency sector. However, whether there is any coherence or core lessons emerging for the Australian sector from the totality of post-event inquiries is unknown. The work reported here identifies the recommendations from these inquiries. A meta-analysis of 1336 recommendations made in 55 Australian major post-event reviews and inquiries since 2009 revealed common themes.”

Source: Cole, L., Dovers, S., Gough, M., & Eburn, M. (2018).  Australian Journal of Emergency Management and available from this link (open access).

Rescue, Response, and Resilience: A Critical Incident Review of the Orlando Public Safety Response to the Attack on the Pulse Nightclub

Clouds and pine trees/Flickr

“On June 12, 2016, what began as an active shooter incident when a lone gunman entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and began shooting innocent clubgoers transitioned into a barricaded suspect with hostages incident and ended as the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. One hundred two innocent people had been shot: 53 injured and 49 killed. The decisions made and actions taken by the men and women of the Orlando Police Department (OPD) and Orlando’s other law enforcement agencies embody the bravery, strength, and professionalism of our nation’s law enforcement and public safety first responders as well as the strength of the Orlando community.”

Source: Police Foundation and available from this link (open access).

Fifteen years of social media in emergencies: A retrospective review and future directions for crisis informatics

Manly dawn/Flickr

“Social media has been established in many larger emergencies and crises. This process has not started just a few years ago, but already 15 years ago in 2001 after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In the following years, especially in the last 10, sometimes summarized under the term crisis informatics, a variety of studies focusing on the use of ICT and social media before, during or after nearly every crisis and emergency has arisen.”

Source: Reuter, C., & Kaufhold, M. A. (2018). Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management and available from this link (subscription journal).

Leading, Not Managing, in Crisis


“Imagine you were the person at BP headquarters in 2010 who got the first call: A drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico had exploded and sunk, killing 11 workers—and allowing oil to leak into the ocean at a rate of 43 barrels a minute. What would you do? Which colleagues would you convene, and which of the myriad problems would you address first? Would you put out a press statement or a tweet or send a spokesperson to the scene? Would your focus be on managing the situation—or actually leading the company through it?” The author reviews a number of books on crisis leadership including one held by AIPM Library.

Source: McGinn, D. (2017). Harvard Business Review and available from this link (personal registration required).

It’s meaning making, stupid! Success of public leadership during flash crises



“Boin (2013) and others propose that public crisis leadership consists of several core tasks, among which crisis decision-making and meaning making stand out in “flash crises.” We however argue that successful leadership during a sudden crisis implies being visible and appealing to the public in need of hearing that the shattered world will be healed. When being visible and using the right rhetoric, public leaders are by and large automatically considered proficient crisis decision makers, that is “the right leader in the right place at the right time.”

Source: Helsloot, I., & Groenendaal, J. (2017). Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management and available from this link (subscription journal).

Whole of Government: the Solution to Managing Crises?

Kangaroo Paw/PaperMonkey

“The frequency and severity of natural disasters has placed a clear emphasis on the role of governments in responding to these crises. During the past decade, disaster events have had a significant impact on the relevant communities as well as raising questions regarding the role of government and the bureaucratic coordination of planning and response processes. These events have placed a renewed focus on the ability of governments to plan, prepare, and respond in an effective way to crises. They have also tended to indicate that there remain serious challenges to government coordination and that crises create a unique series of challenges for the public sector.”

Source: Carayannopoulos, G. (2017). Australian Journal of Public Administration, 76(2), and available from this link (subscription journal).

How do people make high stakes decisions?

Spit to Manly Walk/Flickr

“What goes into making high stake decisions? How do we react when we are confronted with a split second decision in the face of danger? And how does being under pressure shape the choices we make? Qantas pilot Richard de Crespigny had to make instinctive decisions based on years of experience, when one of the engines of QF32 exploded four minutes after take-off from Singapore. His quick thinking and expertise saved the lives of 469 people on board. How does time play into decision-making? Some people weigh up all the risks and go about it with reason, while others are impulsive and follow their hearts. John Taske was part of the infamous Everest Expedition when eight people lost their lives in 1996. John made a life-saving decision to turn back when only 198 metres from the summit.”

Source: SBS Insight 1 November 2016 45 mins and available from this link (open access).


Lessons from Kunduz: Prevent Disaster by Paying Attention to the Little Picture

'Manly Wharf'“In October 2015, an American AC-130 gunship rained devastating fire on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 42. Last month, the Pentagon released a report detailing the chain of events that led to the catastrophic mistake. Immediately, debate began as to whether punishments meted out to 16 service members, including potentially career-ending suspensions, reprimands, and removals from command, were insufficient when compared with taking a route of criminal inquiry, or if, such tragedy has to be accepted as an inevitable consequence of the fog of war.”

Source: Spear, S. (2016). MIT Sloan Management Review blog comment and available from this link (open access).

Categories: Crisis Management

Skills for Multiagency Responses to International Crises

Collins Beach, Manly

“A scoping study of Australian government agency training needs in the latter half of 2013 indicated that stakeholder agencies continue to have difficulty in identifying and developing individual skills to enable people to operate effectively in a high-pressure crisis environment that requires an integrated civil-military-police response. Agencies highlighted the need to develop a ‘whole-of-government’ set of skills for civil-military-police interaction that would complement agency specific skills.”

Source: Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) and available from this link.