Voluntary organizations in local emergency management

Project: Research

Description

Handling emergency situations often requires resources beyond those available to public authorities. Well-coordinated collaboration with partners in civil society is therefore necessary to mitigate hazards at the local level. Yet, despite a great scientific literature on collaborative emergency management, little is known about the conditions for this particular form of public-civil collaboration.

The VOLEM project will examine how collaboration between voluntary organizations and public authorities affects local communities’ capacity to respond to emergency situations. Through a comparative and methodologically diversified approach the project will investigate how and under what conditions institutional and individual factors affect the collaborative process and the resulting emergency response capacity. It will thereby provide knowledge on how the collaboration can be organized and enacted in ways that enhance local emergency response capacity.

Comparing local communities in two countries with differently organized public-voluntary emergency collaboration, Norway and Denmark, allows us to identify the impact of contextual and institutional factors; observational studies allow us to study the mechanisms through which collaborative processes take place; and nationwide surveys to local public authorities and emergency agencies and to the volunteers and their organizations allow us to distinguish between general and context-contingent factors.

The knowledge generated from the VOLEM project should therefore have relevance to voluntary and public emergency organizations, to decision-makers, and to policy design and innovation in societal security and safety activities. Theoretically the project will contribute to increased knowledge of the conditions for efficient interaction and capacity building in collaborative relations. These insights may be valid also for understanding cross-sectoral collaboration in other types of social security work and in other societal areas.

The VOLEM project is based on Nordic, cross-institutional cooperation between the Institute for Social Research, Nord University, Nordland Research Institute, and Roskilde University. The project will contribute to develop a strong, inter-disciplinary research network on collaborative emergency management, including scholars from political science, sociology, and anthropology.
AcronymVOLEM
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date01/01/2020 → 01/05/2022