State Emergency Service Local Controllers' attitudes towards disaster planning for cultural heritage resources

Kristy Graham, Dirk Spennemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Originality/value ' This is the first time research has been carried out into assessing the attitudes and awareness of local controllers of the state emergency service of New South Wales with respect to cultural heritage asset management.Purpose ' Natural disasters exert a continual toll not only on property and public infrastructure, but also on places and items of cultural heritage value. Whereas infrastructure and modern buildings can be rebuilt, archaeological and heritage sites cannot be restored without loss of integrity and authenticity. Often, the impact of management decisions during and following a disaster is greater than the physical impact of the disaster itself. Aims to assess attitudinal barriers that may exist among disaster management professionals, a study of local controllers of the state emergency service of New South Wales (Australia). Design/methodology/approach ' All local controllers of the state emergency service of New South Wales were surveyed by a mail-out questionnaire as to their knowledge of cultural heritage and their attitudes to the protection of cultural heritage assets during bushfires. Findings ' Key areas identified are a general lack of awareness of the special needs of heritage places, a lack of communication between emergency and heritage managers; an acknowledged need for but decided absence of disaster planning for cultural heritage assets; and a need for training and education. Research limitations/implications ' The study considered the local controllers of the state emergency service of New South Wales. Given the observed attitudinal barriers, there is a need for future research looking at the attitudes held by the various levels in the vertical decision making and authority tree. Practical implications ' The awareness of SES controllers regarding cultural heritage in disaster situations needs to be improved as are the communication channels both in the disaster preparedness and the disaster response phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-762
Number of pages21
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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