Agent-based Modeling of Emergency Management Networks with Public Mobilization after a Disaster
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Local, state, and federal governments are responsible for managing disaster response with the goal of increasing disaster resilience of a community. This includes continuing adequate service levels for critical infrastructure sectors, reducing response time and cost, and ensuring the ongoing safety of the community. Complex emergency management systems typically consist of multiple organizations, including state Emergency Management Divisions, the military, and local Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offices. These systems also span multiple levels of government hierarchy, from local communities through the federal level of the United States. As we have witnessed, after a natural hazard or pandemic, the public will mobilize to fill the needs of the impacted communities that emergency response networks (ERNs) do not. Those that mobilize are called spontaneous volunteers. Spontaneous volunteers can often disrupt the operation of ERNs by duplicating work or spreading misinformation. On the other hand, spontaneous volunteers can also provide aid to ERNs when coordination is successful. This report summarizes an effort to simulate ERNs by using agent-based models that would allow ERNs to determine the best way to incorporate spontaneous volunteers within the official framework of the ERN.