Decision-making behaviour during urban search and rescue: a case study of Germany

Authors

  • Quirin Hamp,

    Corresponding author
    1. Scientist, Laboratory for Electrical Instrumentation, Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Germany
    • Correspondence: Quirin Hamp, Laboratory for Electrical Instrumentation, Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Georges-Köhler-Allee 106, 79110 Freiburg, Germany. Telephone: +49 (0)761/203–7220; e-mail: quirin.hamp@centraliens.net

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  • Leonhard Reindl,

    1. Professor, Laboratory for Electrical Instrumentation, Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Germany
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  • Denise Güthlin

    1. Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Freiburg, Germany
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Abstract

The objective of assisting with tasks and decisions during incident response is to reduce the risks to victims and rescue personnel while increasing the efficiency of the rescue operation. Handling uncertain information during urban search and rescue (USAR) missions represents additional stress to the decision-maker. The aim of this study is to identify the decision-making behaviour of rescuers during USAR missions to pinpoint trapped or buried victims in debris in order to design assistance technologies and decision-support systems that meet their needs. In 2010, a survey was conducted among 10–15 per cent of all German rescue personnel specialised in search tasks. One of the major results of this survey is that a subjective assessment of the reliability of information available from heterogeneous sources influences the rescuers’ actions and that there is no methodology for decision-making involving uncertain information. In addition, the study found that compliance with procedures does not require assistance.

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