Emergency management network; community resilience; disaster resilience; network development


Emergency management coordination in the United States has fallen victim to over a century of strategies to organize, reorganize, consolidate, or decentralize disaster preparedness, planning and response. Regardless of the agency in charge at the federal level, individual citizens have been responsible for their own well-being immediately after any disaster or emergency event for more than 100 years because it takes time to mobilize and deliver aid. The system most often charged with managing that mobilization during an emergency event that exceeds the response capacity of local public safety agencies is the state emergency management network. Many entities in a state emergency management network have different responsibilities during disaster states vs. non-disaster states. Regardless of their role and function, entities need to be able to exchange resources and information with each other, often under time, economic, or other constraints during disasters. This resource exchange generates trust, an essential element of a resilient network. Resilient networks suffer fewer negative impacts from disaster related loss and are more likely to retain collective capacity to respond and help communities recover. The purpose of this study is to explore the ability of individual and state level attributes to explain variability in perception of network resilience. One-hundred fifty one state emergency management agency employees were surveyed regarding their perception of 5 constructs of network resilience (rapidity, redundancy, relationships, resourcefulness, and robustness) and individual level attributes. State level indicators from FEMA, NEMA, American Human Development Index, and Social Vulnerability Index were also analyzed. Overall, it was found that the individual attribute of perception of network integrity had the most influence on perception of network resilience, followed by perception of community resilience and state level attributes including disaster experience, state well-being, and number of full time state emergency management agency employees. These findings can improve network resilience by informing state emergency management network development activity. Networks that increase member opportunities to develop relationships of resource and information exchange will increase their resilience. That increased network resilience impacts community resilience because, as Winston Churchill's wise words during World War II reconstruction advise, "We shape our communities and then they shape us".


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Graduation Date





Wan, Thomas T. H.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Health and Public Affairs








Release Date

August 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic