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Optimal allocation of emergency response services for managing disasters

Optimal allocation of emergency response services for managing disasters Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present and apply a methodology that optimally assigns emergency response services (ERS) stations in Peloponnesus, Greece that was severely hit by wildfires in 2007, in an effort to describe the actual emergency response in this disaster and identify disaster management possibilities that can arise from the optimal allocation of the existing fire stations. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology concerns the development of an objective function that aims to minimize maximum and average response times of ERS stations and the evaluation of developed scenarios. Simulated annealing is used for the minimization of the objective function, providing near‐optimal solutions with low computation times for medium‐scale networks. Findings – The findings concern the comparison of average and maximum response times of ERS stations to hearths of fire, based on their actual and optimal allocation. They reveal an overall reduction in the average and maximum response time by 20 and 30 percent, respectively, for the entire region, while there is a reduction of 15 and 35 percent in the average and maximum response time for the locations affected by the 2007 wildfires. Research limitations/implications – The methodology is formulated as a facility location problem with unitary demand and unlimited capacity in the stations, which means that the allocation does not take into account simultaneous events. Originality/value – The paper fulfills an identified need to apply innovative research solutions to actual case studies in order to identify existing gaps and future disaster management possibilities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Disaster Prevention and Management Emerald Publishing

Optimal allocation of emergency response services for managing disasters

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0965-3562
DOI
10.1108/DPM-10-2013-0182
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present and apply a methodology that optimally assigns emergency response services (ERS) stations in Peloponnesus, Greece that was severely hit by wildfires in 2007, in an effort to describe the actual emergency response in this disaster and identify disaster management possibilities that can arise from the optimal allocation of the existing fire stations. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology concerns the development of an objective function that aims to minimize maximum and average response times of ERS stations and the evaluation of developed scenarios. Simulated annealing is used for the minimization of the objective function, providing near‐optimal solutions with low computation times for medium‐scale networks. Findings – The findings concern the comparison of average and maximum response times of ERS stations to hearths of fire, based on their actual and optimal allocation. They reveal an overall reduction in the average and maximum response time by 20 and 30 percent, respectively, for the entire region, while there is a reduction of 15 and 35 percent in the average and maximum response time for the locations affected by the 2007 wildfires. Research limitations/implications – The methodology is formulated as a facility location problem with unitary demand and unlimited capacity in the stations, which means that the allocation does not take into account simultaneous events. Originality/value – The paper fulfills an identified need to apply innovative research solutions to actual case studies in order to identify existing gaps and future disaster management possibilities.

Journal

Disaster Prevention and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 29, 2014

Keywords: Greece; Disasters management; Emergency response services; Optimal allocation of ERS stations; Response times minimization

References