Human behavior significantly determines the scale of impact of hazardous situations. If crisis situations are highly dynamic, they can only be managed successfully if both personnel and organization are well prepared. The purpose of this paper is to capture the specific demands disaster management staff are facing, from a psychological perspective.
General psychological statements based on action theory and organizational theory serve as the starting point for analyzing aspects of cooperation, especially in inter‐professional communication and coordination. The analysis is based on data which were collected in structured expert interviews and observations within the domain of German emergency organizations and public‐transportation companies.
The findings suggest shortcomings on different levels: individual (restricted routines, unprepared for “out of focus” events); organizational (regulations, training) and political (lack of public preparedness for disaster in underground traffic systems; and restrictions on large‐scale training).
Interviewees have not experienced “real” major disasters, so their answers are not derived from hands‐on experience. Also, generalization to other traffic systems or companies may show different patterns.
Training emergency response staff in public transport systems should include psychological aspects of crisis management in addition to emergency management, e.g. building a shared mental model, and requirements of inter‐professional communication.
Psychological demands of crisis situations in public transport have not yet been a focus of research or training.
Hofinger, G., Zinke, R. and Strohschneider, S. (2011), "Role‐specific psychological requirements in preparing public transportation staff for disaster response", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 398-412. https://doi.org/10.1108/09653561111161725
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