Disasters: prevention, preparation and response


Gerhard Chroust (Institute for Telecooperation, Johannes Kepler University Linz)
Georg Aumayr (Johanniter Österreich)


Presentations and plenary discussions.

Call for papers

Awareness and occurrences of disasters have become more acute during the last decades, endangering a growing number of people and areas in many different ways. Even many of the so-called natural disasters often are directly or indirectly caused by ill-guided or  even ill-intended human activities. Society needs interdisciplinary and systemic approaches to  understand and mitigate/eliminate effects of natural disasters.

In more detail society (governments, NGOs  and individuals) have to

  • predict and anticipate potential disasters in order to design adequate  avoidance strategies, and emergency plans both for the general public and emergency personnel based on accumulated knowledge and empirical best-practices,
  • establish, organize, and train First Informers and First  Responders to react in case of a disaster,
  • train and simulate interventions based on emergency plans and ad-hoc situations in realistic, but still safe training environments,
  • provide robust, and reliable communication and logistics for all involved stakeholders, for status information, and logistics during an intervention,
  • plan and anticipate appropriate post-disaster recovery activities,
  • consider psychological and cultural differences and problems,
  • Prepare for all above actions well in advance to be ready in the case of need.

Today’s information and communication technologies (ICT) can support and improve above activities, sometimes in ways not anticipated before. They allow for speedy aggregation and presentation of data and information supported by effective communications in new ways, offering improved systemic interpretation, assessment and decisions.

Potential subtopics (not excluding others) are:

  • Current Disaster Management Research Programs in the EU and its national members,
  • Classification and analysis of  disasters, their origins, interactions and effects (e.g. earth quakes, floods, chemical explosions, volcanoes, mobility and economy breakdowns due to wide-area disasters, …),
  • Training support  for First Responders using modern Information and Communication technology together with psychological and cultural aspects,
  • ICT support for prediction, tactical and strategic planning, and interventions (victim detection, tracking first responders, logistic of transport vehicles, …),
  • Analysis of deficiencies and  improvement of organizational structures,
  • Warning and protection of emergency personnel,
  • Identification of road maps for further studies and investigations.

Target groups

This symposium intends to trigger an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas by including persons with different viewpoints and experience like practitioners, system scientists, IT-specialists, and human factor specialists. We call for contributions which take an interdisciplinary, systemic view on all types and origins of disasters, provide solutions to some of the problems listed above  and attempt to identifying similarities, analogies, and differences, giving raise to cross-disciplinary learning and application.