School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Environmental Sciences| Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Associate Professor Chris Bearman, Dr Danielle Every, Associate Professor Tania Signal
Masters by Research
Mark Thomason

Research Details

Thesis Name

Developing understanding of consequence in decision making process for emergency managers

Thesis Abstract

The world has seen more devastating, frequent and larger bushfires over recent years. These very large-scale fire events have become known as 'Mega Fires' (Source). The challenge of effectively managing these disasters is becoming ever more important as loss of life, assets and environment increases. In normal fire season events (which could still be quite large), decision-making by the Incident Controller is driven by organisational procedures, operational training and experience. However, during mega-fire events, decisions required by the Incident Controller are often beyond the scope of team training and experience, and often see a departure from normal organisational procedure. Inquiries following mega fires have resulted in Incident Controllers being harshly criticised for decisions that were made during these unprecedented events. The research will engage with highly experienced Incident Controllers to identify key issues in managing mega fires and the decision-making strategies that are used.

Why my research is important/Impacts

It is considered that normal decision models do not keep pace when disasters are unfolding. This study will seek to develop a set of guides and checklists to assist Incident Controllers during mega fires to assist them in decision making and to provide case studies that can enhance training of Incident Controllers.