Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Human error during the multilevel responses to three Australian bushfire disasters

The scale and complexity associated with the coordinated response to natural disasters inevitably produce human errors. However, little is known about the frequency and distribution of human error at different levels of coordination during disasters. The purpose of this research was to explore this phenomenon for selected catastrophic bushfires in Australia. To accomplish this, we used the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System that has been widely applied to accidents but is untested with respect to the complexity and temporality of disasters. The results identified that decision errors made during these disasters differed depending upon the level of coordination but were associated with information uncertainty, fatigue, coordination complexities, procedural violations, and degraded personal interactions.

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