Coordinated Emergency Management: The Challenge of the Chronic Thechnological Disaster

August 1989 (VOL. 7, NO. 2)

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Providing effective emergency response and mitigating the impact of disaster requires the ability to act and knowledge of what to do. Chronic technological disasters present a special challenge to emergency management because authority to act on this type of disaster agent is diffuse and often lodged within a variety of agencies operating at different levels of government. Moreover, knowledge of the likely chain of events for technological disaster is still in its infancy, when compared to the rich research base that exists for natural disaster. The authors argue that the emerging literature on chronic technological disaster reveals systematic and important differences between the reality of this type of disaster and what conventional wisdom based on natural disaster experience says about technological disaster. This study addresses characteristics of chronic technological disasters and examines how the nature of technological disaster affects the practice of emergency management.