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The light switch fallacy: Emergency management and recovery in an on-demand world

Daryl Schaffer, MHRM

Abstract


Disasters typically do not abide by logical or standard rules and can be of any size or variety. But what is a disaster? How does time factor into dealing with the disaster? When will help arrive? How long will it take to recover? Why can everything not be fixed immediately? Television shows since the 1970s were instrumental in elevating public awareness of emergency service capabilities but also created a false expectation of expediency and un-implied over-exaggeration in capabilities. The speed of information from 21st century technology has created an immediacy of results expectation. People now expect the lights to come on when the switch is turned on and get impatient when that does not happen. This light switch fallacy is the expectation of what should occur in the rescue and recovery after a disaster. But the light switch cannot just be turned on, everything is solved, and life goes back to normal.

 


Keywords


disaster, rescue, recovery, emergency, management, immediacy, responder

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.0545

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