Putting It All Together: Integrating Ordinary People Into Emergency Response

March 2014 (VOL. 32, NO. 1)

Download this article

Ordinary citizens may play an important role in the response to large or even small-scale emergencies. This however is often not recognized in the emergency plans and procedures developed by emergency services. As a consequence, the help of ordinary citizens is often underutilized or even rejected by professional responders. This article documents different ways in which ordinary people in industrial societies have taken part in emergency response to highlight the potential they bring to disaster response. It then suggests practical ways planners and professional responders can anticipate the assistance of ordinary people in the emergency response. These suggestions are partly inspired by the plans and procedures of the Amsterdam-Amstelland Safety Region, which are aimed at making better use of the competences of ordinary people during and after emergencies.