Disaster Response in Distinct System and Cultural Surroundings

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Uros SVETE, Faculty of Social Sciences, Slovenia
Marjan MALESIC, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Faculty of Social Sciences, Slovenia
Disaster response in distinct system and cultural surroundings

The US Incident Command System (ICS) has been developed to create temporary structures in order to better coordinate multi-organizational response to disasters and major incidents (Jensen and Thompson, 2016). ICS encompasses various functional fields such as leadership/command and control structure, operation, planning, logistics, administration and finances. Practitioners in USA mostly see the ICS as an effective tool to manage disaster related activities, whereas some scholars (Kendra and Wachtendorf, 2016) warn that ICS means imposition of external solutions to the community under stress, gives too much emphasis on centralization and hierarchical control, neglects the informal structures that are part of disaster response and underscores improvisation.

Regardless conceptual and theoretical diversity (McEntire, 2004; Etkin, 2014), authorities at different levels try to find systemic solutions, how the society should be organised to cope with disasters. The authors of the paper will explore disaster response systems in USA, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Slovenia. They will point out their crucial characteristics and compare them in order to identify key similarities and differences in achieving their objectives. That will be followed by the reflections on how general structural/administrative, political, cultural and economic circumstances influence the nature of ‘incident command system’ in the above listed countries and why multi-and interdisciplinary research on disasters is so crucial.


Etkin, D., 2014. Disaster theory: An interdisciplinary approach to concepts and causes. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Jensen, J. and Thompson, S., 2016. The incident command system: a literature review. Disasters, 40(1), pp.158-182.

McEntire, D. A., 2004. The status of emergency management theory: Issues, barriers, and recommendations for improved scholarship. University of North Texas. Department of Public Administration. Emergency Administration and Planning.

Kendra J., Wachtendorf T., 2016 American Dunkirk. The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.