Mocking Disasters with NIMS: Global Disaster Policy

Name of the provider (company name or main contact name), or FIRE IN ID ? Vasiliki Kouskouna, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens –

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Scope, rationale, context: general description. Precise here if this technology is currently use (eg. company name or contact info) Natural disasters cover the earth. The major issue revolves around the response to such event rather than the event itself. Despite the availability of predictive models that in many cases allow for some lead time prior to the event that avails scientist and subsequently the citizenry some defense, the disaster itself is inevitable. Therefore, there must be a guide of sorts to organize a well-choreographed efficient response that will minimize the human and economic losses in the wake for such an event. Bearing in mind that application of experiential pedagogy reinforces cognitive mastery and enhances the learner outcomes, university students are offered the experience of studying and simulating the management of a hypothetical disaster.

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The United States has created the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a template that is used as a national model for natural and man-made disasters. It is a proactive guide to authorize disaster responders to seamlessly address all of the theoretical possibilities and needs subsequent to a disaster. Its primary purpose is to create a common approach to calamities. That is, it creates and chain of command with clear position delineation and the beauty of it is that the unifying paradigm of the model is methodological, rather than substantive, and it therefore can be implemented with equal efficiency in any situation.

The Saint Cloud State University, MN, USA and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece bring their students together every year to discuss how local disasters can have wide-reaching effects, the response of relief organization and government management and/or mismanagement of the disaster, based on NIMS. Courses and exchange of information take place during one semester, followed by a mock disaster in Athens. In May, Professors P. Bodelson and V. Kouskouna meet in Athens with all the students, where they approach the event with a sense of local as well as potential global impacts related to exposure to the disaster.

The teams joined first in 2018, mocking a damaging earthquake in Athens. In 2019, the Eastern Attica fires in Athens were simulated.

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Attachment (file) Earthquake Simulation Brochure_2018.pdf (201 kB)

Attachment (file) Disaster Simulation Brochure- final[10]_11sep2019.pdf (379 kB)

Expected/scheduled future developments

Due to COVID19 measures, the Athens 2020 refugee crisis mock was postponed for 2021.

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Contact persons:
Professor Patricia Bodelson, St Cloud State University, St Cloud, MN, USA,
Associate Professor Vasiliki Kouskouna, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece,