A Socio-Physical Approach to Systemic Risk Reduction in Emergency Response and Preparedness

This paper proposes a socio-physical approach that considers jointly the interaction and integration of the social and physical views of a system to improve emergency response and preparedness. This is accomplished through a reduction of systemic risk, which refers to a risk that could be greater than the sum of the risks of the individual system constituents. Using network analysis, it is shown that the explicit socio-physical approach yields meaningful qualitative and quantitative differences when compared with approaches that focus on the social and physical views in isolation.

The benefits of this proposed approach are illustrated on a case study using clustering analysis and a proof-of-concept simulation. This new approach leads to systemic risk reduction by enabling a more informed and coordinated response strategy following an incident and a better identification of possible consequences and preparation strategies prior to an incident.