Designing preparedness – Emergency preparedness in a community context

University dissertation from Fire Safety Engineering and Systems Safety, Lund University

Abstract: There has been an increased focus in society on preparedness for emergency response in recent years. Today there is legislation that requires all Swedish authorities at the local, regional and national levels to prepare for emergency management and response. Since the task is rather new, most authorities are just beginning to address it. How the preparedness process should be designed and integrated into daily work has often not yet been decided. This licentiate thesis presents research on how Swedish authorities, at a local and regional level, are working to design their preparedness processes. The research questions are as follows: How does the preparedness process function? What are the challenges and obstacles faced by the organisations during the preparedness process? Studies examining the preparedness processes were carried out in five Swedish authorities at the local and regional level. Five challenges and obstacles were identified: - People not directly involved in the preparedness work do not read the plans created. - People not directly involved in the preparedness work are not familiar with the planning. - There is often no planned process (e.g. exercises and reflections) for transferring the results of the preparedness work. - Opportunities to gain a broader view of potential emergencies by the use of one scenario with its possible variations in the course of events are commonly overlooked. - Emergency managers have difficulties getting others in the organisation interested and committed to preparedness issues, including management. Every organisation has to develop its own process for working with preparedness for emergency response to further improve preparedness planning and avoid the five identified obstacles. To facilitate this effort, every organisation should consider who needs to be involved (both inside and outside the organisation) and what knowledge and competences these persons need to deal with future emergencies.

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