Abstract: Emergency Management, like other fields of Operations, consists of information, communication and decision making. Thanks to the pervasiveness of real time networked infrastructures, such as the internet and the web, new models of operations are emerging, designed to leverage the aggregate the power of 'collective intelligence' and 'distributed action' facilitated by 'open world' systems environments. In order to develop effective information systems capable of supporting the distributed nature of emerging 'architectures of participation', it is necessary to devise adequate 'semantic structures', which in turn rely on sound and explicit conceptual frameworks, such as ontologies. However, there aren't enough 'ontologies' in the public domain that can be referenced to establish compatibility of architectures and serve as guidelines for the development of open, neutral and accountable information systems. In this paper we a) describe and analyse the 'distributed' and 'networked' nature of emergency operations b) put forward the notion information systems to support of emergency management today should be modeled on 'distributed' and networked organizational structures, and that ontologies in this domain should be built accordingly.