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The role of expertise in dynamic risk assessment: A reflection of the problem-solving strategies used by experienced fireground commanders

Justin Okoli (), John Watt, Gordon Weller () and William B L Wong ()
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Justin Okoli: Centre for Decision Analysis and Risk Management, School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University
John Watt: Centre for Decision Analysis and Risk Management, School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University
Gordon Weller: Social Work and Inter-professional Learning, School of Health and Education, Middlesex University
William B L Wong: School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University

Risk Management, 2016, vol. 18, issue 1, 4-25

Abstract: Abstract Although the concept of dynamic risk assessment has in recent times become more topical in the training manuals of most high-risk domains, only a few empirical studies have reported how experts actually carry out this crucial task. The knowledge gap between research and practice in this area, therefore, calls for more empirical investigation within the naturalistic environment. In this article, we present and discuss the problem-solving strategies employed by 16 experienced operational firefighters using a qualitative knowledge elicitation tool – the critical decision method. Findings revealed that dynamic risk assessment is not merely a process of weighing the risks of a proposed course of action against its benefits, but rather an experiential and pattern recognition process. The article concludes by discussing the implications of designing training curriculum for the less experienced officers using the elicited expert knowledge.

Keywords: dynamic risk assessment; experts; firefighting; decision making; pattern-recognition; training (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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