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Optimal allocation of emergency response services for managing disasters

Evangelos Mitsakis (Hellenic Institute of Transport, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Iraklis Stamos (Hellenic Institute of Transport, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Jose Maria Salanova Grau (Hellenic Institute of Transport, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Georgia Aifadopoulou (Hellenic Institute of Transport, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 29 July 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present and apply a methodology that optimally assigns emergency response services (ERS) stations in Peloponnesus, Greece that was severely hit by wildfires in 2007, in an effort to describe the actual emergency response in this disaster and identify disaster management possibilities that can arise from the optimal allocation of the existing fire stations.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology concerns the development of an objective function that aims to minimize maximum and average response times of ERS stations and the evaluation of developed scenarios. Simulated annealing is used for the minimization of the objective function, providing near-optimal solutions with low computation times for medium-scale networks.

Findings

The findings concern the comparison of average and maximum response times of ERS stations to hearths of fire, based on their actual and optimal allocation. They reveal an overall reduction in the average and maximum response time by 20 and 30 percent, respectively, for the entire region, while there is a reduction of 15 and 35 percent in the average and maximum response time for the locations affected by the 2007 wildfires.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology is formulated as a facility location problem with unitary demand and unlimited capacity in the stations, which means that the allocation does not take into account simultaneous events.

Originality/value

The paper fulfills an identified need to apply innovative research solutions to actual case studies in order to identify existing gaps and future disaster management possibilities.

Keywords

Citation

Mitsakis, E., Stamos, I., Maria Salanova Grau, J. and Aifadopoulou, G. (2014), "Optimal allocation of emergency response services for managing disasters", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 329-342. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-10-2013-0182

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited