Syllabus academic year 2011/2012
(Created 2011-09-01.)
Credits: 6. Grading scale: TH. Cycle: A (Second Cycle). Main field: Technology. Language of instruction: The course will be given in English. Optional for: RH4. Course coordinator: Senior lecturer Henrik Tehler,, Fire Safety Engineering. Prerequisites: Minimum 120 study points. The course might be cancelled if the number of applicants is less than 12. The number of participants is limited to 40 Selection criteria: Credits remaining for the degree. Assessment: The examination is based upon an assessment of a written individual report in which the students present their risk reduction and preparedness measures in a given case, as well as their reflections around issues raised by the course management regarding the process. Further information: The course involves 3-4 full days per week plus homework. Group assignments require active participation. Each group member must be able to account for the content of the assignment. If a group member fails to fulfill this, she/he can be reassigned to another group or get a fail result. Home page:


Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

Skills and abilities
For a passing grade the student must

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must

Disaster response managers need to continuously analyse and adapt to ever changing situations in environments where people are in distress, there is a constant lack of time and information and where available resources are related to different formal organizations. Harnessing such complexity is one of the cornerstones of a successful disaster operation.

Traditionally, disaster response management has to large extent been influenced by a traditional command and control perspective which has emphasized the role of a central authority and clear command structures. However, in recent years alternative perspectives on management in complex situations have emerged. Such perspectives acknowledge the importance of informal networks, trust and argues that in fact disaster operations seldom work according to defined roles and responsibilities or standard operating procedures.

Disaster response management explores the multi-organizational management context from both an academic/theoretical and a practical perspective. Moreover, the course deals with important aspects of decision-making, group dynamics and leadership. The course aims to improve the students' ability to analyze different aspects of disaster response management and how to cope with several of the challenges associated with response operations. Disaster response management is based on three interrelated themes:

These three themes are explored through a combination of class room lectures, case studies, exercises and simulations.

Methods: The course is based on interdisciplinary teaching and problem-oriented learning and seeks to draw on students' own experience as a resource. Both lectures and group work are important components. Students are expected to actively participate in the learning process and prepare for the sessions by studying distributed and recommended reading materials.

der Heide E., R., (2000) Disaster response – Principles of Preparation and Response,
Online edition designed by the centre of excellence in disaster management and
humanitarian assistance; Available from: Chapter 1: The problem; Chapter 3: The “paper plan syndrome”; Chapter 9: Communication with the public; Chapter 10: The media: friend and foe.
National Incident Management System. Department of Homeland Security, 2004.
Available from: Chapter 1: Introduction and overview; Chapter 2: Command and management.
Brehmer, B. Understanding the Functions of C2 is the Key to Progress, The
International C2 Journal, 1(1), 2007, pp. 211-232.
Buck, Dick A.; Trainor, Joseph E.; and Aguirre, Benigno E. A Critical
Evaluation of the Incident Command System and NIMS, Journal of Homeland
Security and Emergency Management, 3(1), 2006.
Harrald, J. and Jefferson, T. Shared situational awareness in emergency
mitigation and response, Proceedings of the 40th Hawaii International Conference on
System Sciences - 2007.
McEntire, D. The Status of Emergency Management Theory: Issues, Barriers,
and Recommendations for Improved Scholarship. Paper presented at FEMA Higher
Education Conference, Emmitsburg, MD, 2004.
Weick, K.E. The Collapse of Sensemaking in Organizations: The Mann Gulch
Disaster, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 4, 1993, pp. 628-652.