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Beyond the Rule

Dutch emergency response organizations or safety regions through the ocular of organizational resilience

John van Trijp • Boek • paperback

  • Samenvatting
    In today’s society the presence of safety risks and hazards like wildfires, pandemics, industrial activities and an increasing population combined with a more demanding environment demand a lot of the Dutch emergency response organizations or safety regions. Safety regions comprise the regional fire service and the regional medical service and stand in relationship with a large array of stakeholders like law enforcement, public administrations and the Dutch Department of Defense. The regions play a key role in risk and crisis mitigation. This raises the question whether the safety regions are organizational-wise sufficiently prepared to mitigate existing risks/hazards and possible black swans.

    In this book, John van Trijp investigates from an organizational resilience perspective how safety regions perform before, during and after a crisis. He finds for all 25 safety regions organizational resilience for six crisis types is an average of 60%. This was even less in case of the Moerdijk industrial blaze in 2011: 18%. Suggestions are made to improve the region’s organizational resilience to enhance mitigation possibilities. For this to happen, a new Safety Regions Act 2.0 should be adopted. A key factor in this new act is the objectives safety regions have to meet instead of the current practice where safety regions are prescribed by what means they have to perform. Those objectives are related to the region’s risks and hazards. Furthermore, to become more resilient it is concluded safety regions should be more open to societal input. While the use of a quality and or safety management system is of no influence on organizational resilience.
  • Productinformatie
    Binding : Paperback
    Distributievorm : Boek (print, druk)
    Formaat : 170mm x 240mm
    Aantal pagina's : 226
    Uitgeverij : Libertas in Vivo v.o.f.
    ISBN : 9789491310102
    Datum publicatie : 12-2020
  • Inhoudsopgave

    Samenvatting 1
    Summary 9
    List of symbols and abbreviations 17
    Prologue 21
    Chapter 1 Introduction 25
    Safety regions, incidents, and the law 27
    Resilience, the abridged version 34
    Approach 36
    Research goal 36
    Research design 37
    Setting the scene in a historical and safety context 38
    The Dutch fire service over time 38
    Influences on the organizational approach to accidents and safety 39
    First approach 39
    Second approach 40
    Third approach 41
    Fourth approach 43
    Chapter overview 45
    Chapters 45
    Professional papers 50
    Chapter 2 Resilience: a survey 53
    Abstract 55
    Keywords 55
    Introduction 56
    Methodology 57
    Resilience, it started off as a mechanistic system 59
    Resilience as a process 60
    Physical resilience 61
    Ecological resilience 61
    Community resilience 62
    Urban resilience 62
    Human resilience 63
    Resilience engineering 64
    Organizational resilience and emergency response organizations 64
    Adaptive capacity 68
    Keystone vulnerabilities, Awareness and Quality 69
    Discussion and Conclusion 71
    Chapter 3 Organizational resilience: a model 73
    Abstract 75
    Keywords 75
    Introduction 75
    Objective 79
    Concept of resilience 79
    Methodology 81
    Results 83
    Survey response 83
    Functional title of the respondent 83
    Identifying attributes 85
    Modeling resilience 86
    Quantifying Resilience 88
    Sensitivity analysis 91
    Comparison of the invited subset of experts and the subset of respondents 92
    Discussion 94
    Chapter 4 Moerdijk: a case study 97
    Case Study Elements 99
    Key Words 99
    Abstract 100
    Background 100
    Purpose 101
    The principle of a Dutch safety region 102
    (Complex) System/System of Systems/Enterprise 104
    Emergency response and handling of an industrial chemical fire 106
    Introduction 106
    Overview and location of the incident 107
    Organizational Resilience 109
    Definitions according to literature 109
    Modeling Organizational Resilience 112
    Analysis 119
    Organizational resilience of the safety region MWB during the incident 119
    Quantification of utility values 120
    Calculating organizational resilience 124
    Lessons learned 124
    Best practices 126
    Epilogue 126
    Summary and Conclusions 128
    Chapter 5 Six crisis types: the relationship 131
    Abstract 133
    Keywords 134
    Introduction 134
    A brief sketch of the model 137
    Methodology 138
    Results and analysis 140
    Discussion 148
    Comparable research in the Netherlands 148
    The importance of communication 149
    Professional and volunteer staff 149
    Limitations and validity 150
    Conclusion 152
    Extra data 153
    Breakdown of the organizational resilience model 153
    Breakdown of attributes into sub attributes: 153
    Tables with statistical analyses 155
    Symbols and questions/propositions 164
    Chapter 6 Peek by blog post 167
    Introduction 169
    Nature of the post 169
    Responses and more 170
    Short discussion 171
    Conclusion 172
    Extra data 172
    Blog post my translation 172
    Chapter 7 Closing arguments 175
    The societal context 177
    Structure and outcome of the research conducted 178
    Cross-boundary processes from a resilience perspective 183
    Scientific outlook 184
    Organizational resilience and mindfulness 184
    Practical outlook 185
    Safety Region Act 2.0 185
    Volunteers and alternative options 187
    Philosophical reflections 190
    Resilience and the black swan 190
    Some reflections regarding the Covid-19 crisis 191
    Final arguments: cris de cœur 193
    References 195
    About the author 209
    Epiloog 213
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Chapter 1; Introduction

Safety regions, incidents, and the law

In the early stages of research, on 5 January 2011, a major incident occurred at a chemical distribution plant in Moerdijk, Netherlands. The mixing and heating of a flammable liquid resulted in an industrial fire. This resulted in the destruction of the plant and a neighboring maritime service provider. A case study of the blaze was published (van Trijp & Ulieru, 2014) and is presented as chapter four in this book. A complicating factor during this incident was that the toxic cloud emissions created in one safety region crossed the borders into two adjacent safety regions, resulting in those two safety regions starting their own crisis responses with mitigating actions. Next, the inter-safety region communication about the incident and its effects became flawed. Each safety region used different threat levels to coordinate their processes to mitigate the effects of the emissions. To complicate the situation even further, coordination processes at the provincial and national levels were also inadequately executed. Thus, this one industrial blaze in one safety region eventually had a national impact that exceeded the mitigating possibilities of the safety region and its emergency services (Brandweer Midden- en West-Brabant, 2011; Brandweer Nederland, 2011b; Dutch Safety Board, 2012; House of Representatives of the Netherlands, 2013).
This example indicates the institutional complexity of emergency response organization in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands is by no means an exception, as the international literature on emergency response organizations shows. This complexity makes interorganizational collaboration, information sharing and collective action a real challenge. Institutional arrangements are set up to create an administrative order, but in many cases, they are a source of confusion regarding responsibilities and accountability (A. Boin & 't Hart, 2012; Domres et al., 2000; Kerslake, Deeming, Goodwin, Lund, & Wahlström, 2018; Kuipers, 2018; Pramanik, Ekman, Hassel, & Tehler, 2015).
To cope adequately with complex safety challenges like the industrial blaze mentioned above, the response of an emergency response organization such as a safety region should fit the challenges of the moment whether before, during or after an incident. Some incidents have the potential to develop into a crisis, especially when a variety of people and organizations are affected: for example, the prolonged flooding caused by severe weather or climate phenomena (storms, rising temperatures) or a worldwide pandemic such as the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in late 2019 and into 2020, which turned out to be a creeping crisis, as conceptualized by Boin et al. (2020). However, other incidents, if dealt with adequately, do not necessarily grow into a (creeping) crisis. When several streetcar passengers in Utrecht, Netherlands, were shot by a single terrorist gunman in March 2019, a joint action by first responders (safety region Utrecht – VRU), law enforcement and intelligence agencies combined with a citywide lockdown resulted in the gunman’s arrest that very same day (COT - Instituut voor Veiligheids- en Crisismanagement, 2019; Grapperhaus, 2019).
In contrast to many other countries, which have separated fire and emergency medical services, the Netherlands combines those services in 25 safety regions that act as emergency response organizations. A safety region is a safety authority and inter-municipal agency whose main objective by law is to provide citizens with enhanced protection from hazards, superior emergency assistance and aftercare during and after incidents and crises, regional governance of the individual emergency services and enhanced operational and administrative mitigation capabilities (Government of the Netherlands, 2010). The Netherlands’ safety regions, which bundle a range of safety stakeholders, were formed in response to the widely felt need, at local and regional levels, for strategic, tactical, and operational coordination on safety issues. Currently, these safety regions play a leading role in mitigating and preventing a wide range of safety-related incidents and crises in the physical domain. This means the regions are hardly focused on less obvious domains such as cyber security threats and public safety (Johannink, 2020). ×