Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science (DSc) in Emergency Management


Emergency Management & Public Administration

Committee Chair

Jeff Ryan, Professor of Emergency Management


One of the key aspects in the learning process, whether it is at an individual or organizational level, is the ability to recognize where errors occur. This is especially important in the field of public safety where small errors can present a serious threat to the safety of first responders and victims of disasters. Up to this point, there has been no systematic study to identify the most common errors that occur during emergency operations center (EOC) activations at the local level of government. Following the introduction, one chapter explores the history of emergency management and the difficulties local jurisdictions have encountered in their attempt to manage large-scale emergencies or disasters.

Another chapter is devoted to explaining the use of content analysis to review after action reports (AARs) from communities with a population between 300,000 and 499,000. The statistical analysis of the AARs analyzed indicated that issues associated with communication, organization, situational awareness, resource deficiencies, as well as training, did have an impact in a majority of emergency operations centers (EOCs) during an activation. In addition, commonalities among challenges was also noted. Based upon the findings of this study, the outcomes can be used to help enhance current and future training programs so that preventable errors can be reduced or preferably eliminated.

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