A jolt to the system: Quantifying disaster impact and return to routine using citizen-generated calls for service





social routine theory, time series analysis, emergency dispatch centers, measuring disaster


This study compares the effect of two different types of incidents on the number of citizen-generated 9-1-1 dispatch center calls and if changes in the call numbers represent a measurable break in the expected rhythm of 9-1-1 calls. Using time series analysis, changes in the normal rhythm of calls for service (CFS) demonstrate that CFS is a good indicator of a disaster event. CFS data may potentially illustrate one aspect of measuring the degree of disaster for an event. This study establishes the value of applying time series analysis to secondary data within the framework of social routine to determine the magnitude disaster impact (or jolt) to a system. The same methodology may also be applied to examine the process of reestablishing system routine or rhythms indicating system recovery as defined as restabilization.

Author Biographies

Caroline S. Hackerott, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Management, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota

David M. Neal, PhD

Visiting Research Associate and Affiliated Scholar, University of Indiana-South Bend, South Bend, Indiana


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