Inderscience Publishers

A conceptual model of disasters encompassing multiple stakeholder domains

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Understanding the interdependencies of critical infrastructures(power, transport, communication, etc.) is essential in emergency preparednessand response in the face of disasters. Unfortunately, many factors (e.g., theunwillingness to disclose or share critical data) prohibited the completedevelopment of such an understanding. As an alternative solution, this paperpresents a conceptual model – an ontology – of disasters affecting criticalinfrastructures. We bring humans into the loop and distinguish between thephysical and social interdependencies between infrastructures, where the sociallayer deals with communication and coordination among the representatives(either humans or intelligent agents) of the various critical infrastructures.We validated our conceptual model with the people responsible for disastermanagement from several different critical infrastructures and through a casestudy. We also derived tools from the model to provide decision support. Weexpect that this conceptual model can later be used by people as a commonlanguage to communicate, analyse and simulate their interdependencies withouthaving to disclose all critical and confidential data.

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