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Hans J Scholl, Karyn Hubbell, & Jeff Leonard. (2018). Communications and Technology Challenges to Situational Awareness: Insights from the CR16 Exercise. In Kristin Stock, & Deborah Bunker (Eds.), Proceedings of ISCRAM Asia Pacific 2018: Innovating for Resilience – 1st International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Asia Pacific. (pp. 28–43). Albany, Auckland, New Zealand: Massey Univeristy.
Abstract: Saving and sustaining lives, stabilizing the incident, and protecting both environment and property from further damage are professional responders' first and foremost objectives when responding to any incident including a catastrophic one. For so doing, responders need to gain situational awareness (SA) so to effectively direct the response. Yet, in a catastrophic incident, critical infrastructures including response assets are damaged and disrupted, which leaves responders without the badly needed complete and verified information for days and even weeks. Critical communication and technology infrastructures used by responders are among those damaged and disrupted critical assets leading to both incomplete SA and a distorted common operating picture (COP). The lack of clear and comprehensive SA/COP and the disruption of communications and technology infrastructures seriously impedes incident commanders from efficiently directing the response effort. This study reports on communication and technology-relatedchallenges that emergency responders faced with regard to situational awareness in a recent large-scale exercise under the name of Cascadia Rising 2016 (CR16). The exercise involved a total of 23,000 active participants. Over four days in June of 2016, CR16 simulated the coordinated response to a rupture of the 800-mile Cascadia Subduction Zone resulting in a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami similar to the catastrophic incident in Eastern Japan in 2011. Responders at all levels were severely challenged, and the exercise revealed major vulnerabilities in critical communication and technology infrastructures. Situational awareness was very difficult to establish.