Paresh Wankhade (Edge Hill Business School, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK)
DeMond Shondell Miller (Department of Sociology and Anthropology Program in Disasters, Crisis and Emergency Management Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, USA)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 3 May 2016



Wankhade, P. and Miller, D.S. (2016), "Editorial", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 5 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-04-2016-0008



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Emergency Services, Volume 5, Issue 1.

In this first issue of the fifth volume of International Journal of Emergency Services, we publish seven papers covering the themes of leadership, resilience, role of volunteers and staff perceptions in the emergency services covering the three main services namely the police, fire and rescue services and the ambulance services. Six of the seven articles included in this issue, provide empirical findings to the issues being examined and make an important contribution to the literature having significant implications for policy and practice.

The first article by Shannon Wagner, Romana Pasca and Jordan Crosina investigates the contribution of personality factors especially hostility, as they are related to traumatic stress and mental health symptoms in firefighters. The study involves a group of paid-professional firefighters in Northern British Columbia, Canada. Using multiple regression techniques, the study evaluated the relationship between neuroticism and lack of agreeableness with hostility, years of service and age with hostility used to predict traumatic stress and mental health symptoms. The authors report the occurrence of both neuroticism and lack of agreeableness to be significant predictors of hostility. Although not significant, trends that hostility also predicted traumatic stress and phobic anxiety were also evident in the study. The article makes an original contribution in investigating the impact of hostility on mental health of paid-professional firefighters and pointing out those interventions to screen for and subsequently reduce hostility in firefighters may be beneficial for overall mental health.

Denis Caro in the second article explores and examines the important but perennially complex issue of explores the transformational leadership challenges in emergency services systems in Canada. This qualitative research study used a grounded theory approach to examine the phenomenology of emergency services leadership from systems perspective. Using the theoretical Wu-Shi-Ren (WSR)-Li systems paradigm on a sample of over hundred emergency services leaders from 81 organisations in Canada, the study focused on the systemic challenges that transformational leaders face in emergency services system using semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires. The author underscores the competencies for transformational leadership and identifies 12 key leadership challenges in the context of the future evolution of emergency services systems. Using a grounded theory approach a new theory of transcendental transformational emergency leadership is posited. The article makes a strong case for the relevance of the WSR-Li systems paradigm and grounded theory approach in discerning transformational leadership challenges that are specific if not unique to emergency services systems.

In our third article, Richard Teeuw and Thomas Ronan explore fire risk and preparedness in respect to the water flow rates and building types in London city area. Under the UK Fire and Rescue Services Act (2004), there is a shared duty between fire authorities and water utility companies to secure the provision of water supplies for firefighting purposes. Water companies are obliged to provide a mains water supply and fire authorities are responsible for determining the location of hydrants, their testing, repair and maintenance. The variable nature of London’s domestic water supply has implications for the provision of adequate water for firefighting, particularly the development of policies and tactics for response and preparedness. Local fire hydrant flow rates were analysed, using measurements taken during 2013 and archive data held by the London Fire Brigade. This study indicates that fire vulnerability within London has previously been underestimated due to a focus on vulnerability assessments based primarily on socio-economic data. Fire hydrant water supplies were found to be inadequate to meet the likely demands of firefighting in significant parts of the study area, which increases the vulnerability of residents and businesses significantly. The study makes an important contribution in being one of the first studies of its kind to map London’s fire hydrant water pressures and linking it with socio-economic vulnerability maps, to produce a “Combined Vulnerability” map for assessing fire risk. Evidence gathered from this study to the evaluation and mapping of urban fire risk could be applied to assess problems with water supply and the firefighting water flow requirements of various building types and can thus assist with adaptations to urban fire resource allocation, tactics, planning and preparedness and offers scope for further research.

The issue of integrating unorganised volunteers in emergency response management is next examined by Marit Skar, Maria Sydnes, Maria and Are Kristoffer Sydnes. The study explores mechanisms and strategies for integrating unorganised volunteers in emergency response. Gathering rich evidence from a qualitative case study from Tromsø, Norway involving the police, ambulance service, fire and rescue service, and the Red Cross, the study provides insights in formal and informal mechanisms of integrating unorganised volunteers in emergency response. It also provides lessons from a case of volunteer management through the Red Cross. Findings documented a positive role and contribution by the respondents but also highlighted a clear need for better utilisation of unorganised volunteers in line with previous studies (Simpson and Hancock, 2009). The professional responders in this study identified a range of challenges related to integrating volunteers into organised emergency response. Citing the case of Red Cross in their case study, the authors conclude that a “hybrid” approach where by the Red Cross offers trained and organised volunteers who are part of the formal system for emergency response, can play a positive role in different settings for a better utilisation of the unorganised volunteers.

The examination of specific stressors and demands, perceived control, received support and stress management strategies of crisis managers is the subject of investigation of the fifth article authored by Mirjam Haus, Christine Adler, Maria Hagl, Markos Maragkos and Stefan Duschek. This study covering a sample of over crisis managers in five European countries analysed the findings using the qualitative text analysis method GABEK®. The study highlights stressors and stressful tasks associated with their leadership position namely the issue of communication with press and media, high responsibility for population and staff, and quick decisions making under time pressure while dealing with potential failures. The study makes an important contribution by examining influential stressors within the work environment of crisis managers. It also identifies starting points and requirements for stress management trainings and psychosocial support programmes which will be useful in a wide range of settings.

Our sixth article by Annelie Holgersson and Veronica Strandh explores the divergence in perceptions of terrorist attacks by analysing the evidence collected from the emergency services in eight Swedish counties, aiming to unravel differences among the emergency organisations and to discuss their potential implications for emergency preparedness. The study found significant differences between the police, rescue and ambulance services regarding perceptions of event likelihood, willingness to respond, estimated management capability and level of confidence with tasks to be performed on scene. Perceived likelihood of events appeared affected by institutional logic; events within their respective domain of responsibility were perceived as more likely making an important contribution to the literature. The study found that the responders clearly lack confidence in their knowledge of the other organisations’ tasks, which are performed in the case of an attack. The study has implications for further practice in a wider variety of settings.

The last article by Maximillano Korstanje and Babu George analyses the media constructions of fear in the outbreak of a recent epidemic disease-the “Dengue” in Argentina. Media sources, it is argued, are often to be blamed for risk amplification or risk miscalculations and the media coverage of hazards plays an important role in setting and reinforcing public perceptions. Analysing the media coverage of “Dengue” resurgence in Argentina, the authors argue that blaming-the-victim tactics in the media not only presented a biased argument on the reasons of disaster, but also alluded to reinforce the geographical boundaries between the elites and the rest of social strata. The panic not only reinvigorated the sentiment of belonging to avoid the fragmentation but also portrayed a biased image of some aboriginal ethnicities in Argentina.

As we enter the fifth year of publication of IJES, we are encouraged by the response received from the readers, the rising coverage of the journal and in particular the growing inter-disciplinary nature of the journal. Since publication of the last issue, the editorial team has been strengthened by the appointment of Professor DeMond Miller (Rowan University, USA) as the Associate Editor. Professor Miller’s background in disaster and emergency management studies, coupled with his experience working with communities as they recover from natural and human-induced disasters, will help advance the journal’s mission to foster interaction between the practitioner and academic communities with the scope of emergency services, in the planning, prevention and recovery stages of emergencies and disasters.

We are confident that IJES will continue to publish high quality research relevant to the emergency community and its contents will foster debates and inform policy and practice in a wide range of settings and will be relevant for an international audience raging from practitioners, policy makers, professionals, academics and general public. In 2016 we are continuously building our association with academics and practitioners alike, at major international conferences by sponsoring/hosting specialist panels on emergency services management. In April 2016, IJES sponsored panel (led by Professor Wankhade and supported by Peter Murphy, former IJES editor) is being organised at the International Research Society for Public Management annual conference which is hosted by the City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Similarly, led by Professor Wankhade, IJES for the fourth consecutive year is supporting a specialist panel on emergency services at the European Academy of Management Annual Conference 2016 hosted by Universitie Paris-Est Critil, from 1-4 June 2016 in Paris. In North America, IJES will participate in the 18th Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium, 6-9 June 2016 in Emmitsburg, Maryland. At the 41st Annual Mid-South Sociological Association, 12-15 October 2016, Professor Miller is organising a special academic session on “Responding to Flood Emergencies”.

We are immensely grateful to our authors, reviewers and readers in supporting IJES and helping us to publish high quality research. We value the comments and feedback from our readers and invite suggestions for future themes, topics and expressions of interest for special issues. We again renew our call for publishing with us or joining IJES as potential reviewers and/or on the editorial board.


Simpson, N.C. and Hancock, P.G. (2009), “Fifty years of operational research and emergency response”, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol. 60 No. S1, pp. 126-139

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