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Evaluating the broader strategic context

All organisations involved in responding to emergencies need to set policies and procedures to help guide their leadership within a complex risk environment.

In this section you will apply a method to analyse risk at a strategic level.

To look at the strategic level implications of an incident we can use a PESTLE analysis. It stands for:

  • Political: immediate political reactions and possible future legislation
  • Economic: costs as a direct result of decisions made both during the incident and in the aftermath
  • Societal: changes in social attitudes both internally and publicly
  • Technological: technologies that could affect the progression of an incident
  • Legal: whether the response was within the law
  • Environmental: environmental impact of an incident

This is an effective way of considering the wider organisational risks presented by individual incidents and the response of emergency workers including their critical decision making. It’s an effective way of describing the complex risk environment within which emergency managers operate.

Applying a PESTLE analysis to a real life situation

Let’s see if we can begin to apply this to a real life example:

In March 2011, Simon Burgess from Hampshire drowned in a boating pond after apparently suffering an epileptic fit. Although he was lying in shallow water, an initial attempt to rescue him was apparently blocked by the fire officer on the grounds that it was unsafe for the level of training and equipment that his crews had at the time and that a specialist water rescue crew was on its way. Burgess’ body was eventually recovered by the specialist crews, apparently some 30 minutes after he went into the water.

Your task

Read the article from the Mail Online, Charity shop worker drowned in lake just 3ft deep after firemen refused to wade in due to health and safety rules, which reports on the response to the incident and resulting inquest.

With regards to the PESTLE considerations highlighted above, think about how such an incident would be viewed in your locality.

Would the emergency response described have been acceptable? What would have been the reaction of the media or other institutions?

If required, an alternative article on the incident can be found reported by the BBC here.

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This article is from the free online course:

Emergency Management: Risk, Incidents and Leadership

Coventry University