During a crisis or an emergency, different departments and organizations are involved in the response process. However, the interdepartmental and inter-organizational aspect implies that people will have varied decision-making capabilities and approaches. Unfortunately, the involved parties cannot access each other’s information systems, and thus, one individual, department, or organization is not aware of the others’ needs. Therefore, critical thinking plays a crucial role in the success of the response to emergencies.
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The first step towards improving critical thinking in emergency management involves building situation awareness of the crisis. This aspect requires all the involved parties to understand the nature of the crisis that they are handling. In addition, all participants should be aware of all the other involved parties in managing the situation together with their interests. The next step involves enhancing communication within and amongst teams (Schraagen and van de Ven 314).
Efficient communication allows individuals and teams to share crucial information concerning the crisis at hand. In essence, communication forms the backbone of any efficient critical thinking in emergency management. Efficient communication allows the involved parties to avoid tunnel vision and biased information within and amongst teams.
In addition, with proper communication, individuals get precise details of the communicated information, which enhances decision-making during an emergency. Moreover, individuals can enhance critical thinking by seeing beyond the decisions arrived at in a bid to establish the motive underlining some actions coupled with the repercussions, both long-term and short term, of the same.
Being proactive and thus anticipating circumstances, which leads to the formulation and assessment of alternative solutions, also fosters critical thinking (“Georgetown University” par. 4). Finally, knowing the rules, regulations, laws, and ethics that govern emergency response improves one’s capability to make critical decisions during such times.
Georgetown University: Executive Master of Professional Studies in Emergency and Disaster Management 2014. Web. 28 October 2014. <http://scs.georgetown.edu/departments/36/executive-master-of-professional-studies-in-emergency-and-disaster-management/>
Schraagen, Maarten, and Josine van de Ven. “Improving decision making in crisis response through critical thinking support.” Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making 2.4 (2008): 311-327. Print.