Disaster Management Research

There are approximately 25 colleges and universities that offer academic degree programs with the title of disaster management, emergency management, or both. With the number of institutions offering this degree track, there are a number of research questions that should be explored: Is the science of project management part of the degree curriculum? How is the concept of project management presented in these programs? What is the level of project management education being provided in these programs? How would the inclusion of project management education support the degree program?

The principle focus of this research effort is to determine what level of project management education is being provided to the students who seek a degree in disaster and/or emergency management in these programs. Several of the programs offer bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees. The focus of these programs vary from responding to disasters, to specific dimensions of recovery such as psychological, social, or economic. A principle focus of this research is to determine how the application of the project management discipline would support the recovery process for disaster victims.

The outcome of this research effort will be the development of a project management course and/or curriculum that integrates the practices of project management with the practices of disaster and emergency management. The content of these courses will use cases and examples of disasters and emergencies and demonstrate how the use of project management principles contribute to more effective recovery efforts.

Wireless Communications for Emergency Response

Consider the mobile, “emergency response” users as depicted in the figure. These users either need to keep continuous connectivity, as in the case of mobile terrestrial platforms, or there may be logistical requirements that require “instant communications infrastructure” access. This requirement could easily arise in a campus disaster recovery or emergency situation in which installed infrastructure is destroyed. Imagine that just like TV satellite broadcasts can be set up by driving a van to a location, mobile base stations/routers could be driven or flown in response to an emergency. Our controlled topology and autonomous reconfiguration will allow for such improved communications. The rapidly deployable, flexible and agile FSO/RF communications approach facilitates autonomous setup and reconfiguration.

Transportation Emergency Response

Professors Gang Len Chang, Ali Haghani and Elise Miller-Hooks conduct research in emergency preparedness, response, evacuation and recovery. Professor Chang is developing simulation models to assist evacuation planning for Ocean City, MD. Professors Haghani and Chang are developing Optimization models for traffic management during emergency evacuations with a case study focused on Ocean City. Professor Haghani is conducting research on real time management of emergency response fleet as well as management of fleet for hazardous material transportation. Professor Miller-Hooks conducts research on evacuation and recovery given “no-notice” threats for both buildings and geographic regions, considering both tactical and operational decision environments. Her work can be used to:

  • Provide a priori plans and real-time instructions to vehicles carrying hazardous substances and urban service vehicles (e.g. first responders, such as ambulance, police, fire, and emergency repair services for utilities) in congested transportation systems, where the inherent dynamic and uncertain nature of future conditions (i.e. travel times, population exposure or other costs) are explicitly considered;
  • Develop evacuation plans and providing on-line instructions to evacuees and rescuers in evacuation and recovery for buildings and geographic regions given dynamically varying and uncertain future conditions; and
  • Locate and relocate in real-time in probabilistic networks with applications in homeland security, emergency response and sensor networks.

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A. James Clark Shool of Engineering - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering A. James Clark Shool of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Center for Excellence in Project Management
Project Management Education at the University of Maryland

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