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Identification of local information items needed during search and rescue following an earthquake

Gursans Guven (Civil Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Esin Ergen (Civil Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 8 November 2011




This paper aims to identify the local information items that are needed by search and rescue (S&R) teams for an effective disaster response following an earthquake. Currently, it is a challenging and time‐consuming task to collect most of this information from a disaster environment. It was envisioned that the local information identified can be stored on distributed databases that are placed in the buildings and will be used to improve S&R operations.


The information items are obtained through a literature review and via interviews conducted with experts from disaster response organizations. The data collected were triangulated to generate a data model, which was then validated internally and externally by expert feedback.


A data model including a detailed list of information items required during S&R operations was generated, along with justification of the information needs. The findings show that not only information related to buildings, but also other information related to the residents and the contents of the buildings are needed, such as residents' health information, and hazardous materials and their specific locations.

Practical implications

The data model presented can be used by researchers to further develop systems that can be used during an earthquake.


Previous studies have only provided a list of some important local information groups to be stored; however, they do not include in‐depth studies on the information needs of S&R teams following an earthquake. In this paper, information needs were fully explored and elaborated, and a data model was developed covering information items required for effective earthquake S&R.



Guven, G. and Ergen, E. (2011), "Identification of local information items needed during search and rescue following an earthquake", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 458-472.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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