Paresh Wankhade (Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 12 October 2015


Wankhade, P. (2015), "Editorial", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 4 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-08-2015-0019



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Emergency Services, Volume 4, Issue 2.

The dominant themes of “interoperability” and “inter-service collaboration” run through the eight papers published in this second issue of the current volume. Six of the contributions relate to the three main blue light services, namely the ambulance, fire and rescue and the police services. These papers are complimented by a contribution exploring the pre-hospital “command and control” dimension during a mass gathering event and a conceptual paper reviewing the risk assessment networks while protecting urban workers. Each of the papers provide a critical perspective on the issues being examined highlighting some of the challenges contained in dealing with those issues.

Crossing cultural boundaries is the subject matter of the first paper by Sarah Charman and covers the important but controversial issue of service cultures in two of the emergency blue light services namely the ambulance services and the police services. The notion of organisational cultures in the context of emergency services has been increasingly debated in the recent years with repeated calls for a cultural change. The focus of this paper however is on the potential for co-operation and collectivism underpinned by the shared cultural characteristics across both organisations as a result of their very close working relationship when dealing with the public. The paper analyses those shared occupational and cultural characteristics and in doing so, provides the potential for identifying the critical success factors of a strengthened working relationship and the subsequent capacity for enhanced multi-agency working. It is finally argued by the author that culture, most especially within the policing literature, is almost universally condemned but should be viewed as a more positive instrument which can be utilised as a tool for coping, for learning and as a tool of rule adaptation in these organisations.

Tobias Andersson Granberg and Åsa Weinholt in their paper explore collaboration, applying the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to the new first response initiatives in the Swedish fire and rescue service. Reaching the scene of emergency within the quickest possible timeframe is often resource dependent with local governments struggling with budget constraints that limits the possibility to provide equal protection against accidents to all citizens. In Sweden it has been proposed that actors outside the traditional emergency services such as the security officers, home care nurses or chimney sweepers, can serve as additional resources or first responders in every day accidents in order to reduce response time and compensate for limited resources.

The purpose of this study is to analyse costs and benefits from new collaborations in daily emergency response and to demonstrate how CBA can be used for evaluating effects from these kinds of collaborations. Using the two cases of security officers and home care nurses as first responders to FRS calls and in medical emergencies, the paper identifies important effects and changes in consumer and producer surplus while presenting interesting findings on the two cases. Arguing about the emerging nature of the evidence, the authors make a call for further research on the role of the first responders who traditionally work outside the emergency response services.

Our third paper from Emily Evans outlines findings from research into Integrated Offender Management (IOM) system and how this is expected to be affected by the “Transforming Rehabilitation” (TR) changes to the Probation Service in England and Wales currently being introduced by the Ministry of Justice. Launched in 2009, the IOM consists of local partnerships between probation, police and other statutory and voluntary services aiming to manage particularly prolific, locally selected offenders with the aim of reducing their re-offending and overall levels of crime. The paper presents empirical findings from the IOM programme in one English county targeting persistent acquisitive offenders. This paper outlines the key ways in which the TR changes to the probation service are expected to impact upon the operation of IOM and in particular the multi-agency working with the police which underpins it. The paper applies the realistic evaluation notion of generative mechanisms to explore how and why IOM operates, and shows the range of ways in which the TR changes will negatively affect the current functioning of IOM. The evidence cited in the paper has implications for other criminal justice systems and offers scope for further research.

The issue of interprofessional collaboration within a Finnish emergency and infection ward setting from the viewpoint of three central professional groups: physicians, nurses and secretaries is next examined by Kaija Collin, Sanna Herranen, Ulla Valleala and Susanna Paloniemi. As tasks in health care are becoming more and more intricate, demand for even better collaboration among professionals has arisen to improve the quality of health care in particular, the patient safety and patient-based holistic care. Using a qualitative ethnographic approach, the paper presents findings from the observation and interviews with the relevant staff. Notwithstanding the importance of ward rounds as an essential part of collaboration in implementing the emergency-natured operational aim of the ward, the study found evidence that the ward rounds are complicated by diverging professional views and expectations, variable work practices and interactional inequality and were found to be physician- and medicine-centred, and mostly not interprofessional. The differences found in this study in the perceptions and actions of professionals regarding the implementation of ward rounds might arise from the distinct cultures and different understandings of work processes and separate natures of the different professional groups, the subject matter of investigation in our first paper. While conscious of the rather small size of the data, the findings can have implications for studying and developing emergency-care contexts.

The next paper from Erik Prytz, Jonas Rybing, Eric Carlström, Eric, Amir Khorram-Manesh and Carl-Oscar Jonson also examines the issue of the workload and shared workload awareness in a staff performing command and control (C2) work during a mass gathering event in 2014 – the Göteborgsvarvet half-marathon, in which over 48,000 runners and more than 200,000 spectators attended. C2-systems in the pre-hospital domain are part of a larger emergency medical service (EMS) system and failure in the EMS C2-system to efficiently manage emergency resources, can lead to delay of care, with potential negative patient outcome as the end result. The study used a mixed methods approach to identify the underlying events that lead to different workload levels during the different time periods of the planned event thereby providing a context for interpretation. The authors acknowledge the methodological limitation of data loss during periods of extreme workload but argue that the study evidence shows that EMS C2-work can be studied live without relying on anecdotal data and the current approaches relying only on post-task measurements of workload or shared awareness can fail to capture the fluctuations that take place over time and may be inaccurate. In our view, the paper makes an important contribution to the field of knowledge.

Amidst reports indicating a growing crisis in maintaining adequate numbers of volunteers in rural fire departments across the USA, Australia and many other countries, our sixth paper from Stephen Perrott and Brandon Blenkarn explores the similarities and differences in motivational-type and sensation-seeking tendencies in male and female firefighters and aims to determine how a growing focus on extrinsically focused reasons to volunteer relates to traditional, intrinsically focused rationales. The study data was collected from volunteer recruits (men and women) in the Halifax Regional Municipality, a medium size eastern Canadian city, with a composite fire service comprised of more than 1,100 career and volunteer members. The control group was provided by the undergraduates (men and women) drawn from the Mount St. Vincent University, a small liberal arts institution in the same city.

Using the 30-item Volunteer Functions Inventory and a slightly modified 37-item version of Zuckerman’s 40-item SSS-V to measure motivation and sensations seeking, respectively, the study showed that female volunteers exhibited a distinct pattern of motivations for volunteering and though similar to their male counterparts in thrill and adventure seeking, female volunteers were lower in impulsive sensation seeking. The paper contributes to a nascent area of inquiry about how intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can co-exist in this group having implications for future research in different settings.

The paper from Owen Kulemeka reviews the quality and use of new technology, in the form of smartphone applications (apps) when dealing with emergencies. In particular it is about informing ordinary people who are not fire management professionals about how to prepare for, respond to and recover from wild land fires. This is a task that has traditionally been undertaken using print publications, web sites, the news media, videos, audio recordings or face-to face meetings. The use of apps that are freely available to the public is the basis for the paper. The author examines ten current apps available across four countries and identifies the advantages and limitations of such technology including problems of access, design, data and coverage. This is a relatively new and fast developing area with obvious interest for practitioners as well as academics, not least because the next generation of designs will soon be available. As we publish this issue, we are very sad to report the sudden and untimely death of Dr Kulemeka, earlier this year, and would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family.

As urban regions increase their dependency on information and knowledge for their economic vitality and growth, they are experiencing a huge influx of knowledge workers into urban regions. The final paper in this issue from Namkyung Oh and Julia Beckett provides a conceptual review of the risk communication network in protecting the urban knowledge workers (UKWs). The features of mobility, spatio-temporality and preferred autonomy of UKWs might pose challenges to community-based emergency management models which are prepared and maintained based on the location of established, place-bound long-term residents and businesses. This study defines the special nomadic features of UKWs and explores why those features may pose challenges to community-based emergency management model. In addition, this study discusses what factors should be considered in developing strategies for protecting UKWs in an urban setting. The paper argues that the current Urban Emergency Management Context approaches should be based on the localised strategies taking into account, the target populations, role of the brokers and their needs of UKWs in the community.

As we approach the fifth volume of IJES, we look forward with pride and satisfaction that IJES is playing an important role in and promoting the scholarship in the nascent field of emergency services management. IJES will continue to publish original practitioner content to help bridge the theory-practice gap in the field and connect to the wide practitioner community. Over the last eight issues, we have endeavoured to publish high-quality papers from around the globe which are relevant to our international audience. We sincerely hope that the content published by IJES has shaped the debates informing both the theory and practice in the field. The editors have recently published two edited volumes on the Leadership Perspectives in the Police Services (ISBN 978-3-319-16568-4) and the Ambulance Services (ISBN 978-3-319-18641-2).

We have also successfully built partnership with the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) and IJES will be supporting the track on “Emergency services management: the case for bridging the theory-practice divide” at the IRSPM 2016 Conference being held in Hong Kong and organised and hosted by the City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 13-15 April 2016. The special panel will be led by the IJES Editor-in-Chief Professor Paresh Wankhade and supported by IJES former co-editor Peter Murphy. We have continued our association with the European Academy of Management (EURAM) and IJES again supported the track on “Emergency management, crisis, recovery and organisational resilience” at the EURAM 2015 Conference held at Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland in June 2015. We propose to sponsor the panel again at the EURAM 2016 Conference in Paris in June 2016. Detailed calls for papers for the IRSPM 2016 and EURAM 2016 panels will be announced on the IJES web site in due course.

We again thank our authors, reviewers and readers in supporting this new journal and helping us to publish high-quality papers. We also invite new readers and scholars in the field to connect with IJES in our journey to establish IJES as a credible research journal. We invite comments from our readers including suggestions for future special issues/themes and welcome feedback from our readers. We renew our call in inviting expression of interest for publishing with us or joining us as a potential reviewer or being part of the IJES editorial team and/or joining the IJES Editorial Advisory Board.

Paresh Wankhade