In emergency management, much is made of the importance of situational awareness.
Understandably so. Up-to-the-minute knowledge of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors is critical to mobilizing a rapid, efficient, and effective emergency response.
Situational awareness, however, is not an aim in and of itself.
Knowledge and understanding of the current disaster situation, as describes the U.S. Army Field Manual, is meant to promote the timely, relevant, and accurate assessment of an operation – to facilitate real-time decision making.
Situational awareness, as such, is the means. Decision support is the end.
And key to decision support is the collecting, analysis, and understanding of historical inefficiencies, through the creation of data models.
Where responses include multiple agencies and entities, as they so often do in emergency management, those data models will cluster together diverse, event-specific data sources –lots of them.
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