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Relational risk assessment and management: investigating capacity in wildfire response networks - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program

Author(s): Branda Nowell, Sarah M. McCaffrey, Toddi A. Steelman
Year Published: 2017
Relational Risk Assessment and Management (RRAM) is about developing a new set of concepts and rapid assessment tools for assessing risk for problems that occur in inter-agency communication and coordination on complex fire events. Failures in effective communication and coordination within the network of responding organizations and agencies during a wildfire can lead to problematic or dangerous outcomes. Although risk assessment and management concepts are usually understood with regards to biophysical attributes in the wildfire context, these concepts can be extended to understanding risk for problematic communication and coordination embedded within social and organizational relationships. In this research, we leveraged social theory, survey methods, grounded theory,participant observation field ethnographic methods, and social network analysis to achieve four major outcomes: 1) Empirically identify, validate, and create tools for assessing both pre-incident preparedness as well as performance of wildfire incident response networks, 2) Empirically identify and validate social ‘watch out’ situations that cue responders to the presence of heightened risk for problems in communication and coordination, 3) develop an empirically based theory of network governance on complex wildfire incidents that can inform and expand upon the tools of ICS, and 4) document practices in network cognition and management on major wildfires to advance both theory and practice in relational risk assessment and management. 
Citation: Nowell, B.; Steelman, T.; McCaffrey, S. 2017. Relational risk assessment and management: investigating capacity in wildfire response networks. Joint Fire Science Program Final Report. Project 12-2-01-47, 32p.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Crisis Communication, Risk, Risk assessment
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 14925
FRAMES RCS number: 22888
Record updated: Mar 5, 2019