Communication in an Emergency Exercise

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


    Emergency exercises provide an efficient means to test and strengthen capabilities for a potential emergency. Essentially, emergency exercises are events with many participants, both inside and outside the nuclear power plant. By rehearsing among several parties, not only the intraorganisational skills and capabilities but also the skills and capabilities relying on interorganisational resources can be practised. One of the main matters affecting the successfulness of emergency (exercise) related operations is coordination and communication among the participating organisations. To balance the fact that emergency exercises aim to deal with unexpected and severe situations, the coordination and communication are designed according to predefined roles and processes, aiming at facilitating the joint endeavour. The Emergency Response Organisation of a plant consists of sub divisions and roles with specific responsibilities. Each role is manned with several nominees so that the absence of one person does not hinder the accomplishment of the tasks of that specific role. Regarding communication practises, one possibility is to allow communication to take place among several professionals between organisations and at the other end of the continuum is to nominate a contact person to perform contacting the contact person of the other party. In this study, the latter strategy is scrutinised. We studied communication and collaboration in an emergency exercise of a nuclear power plant in Finland. The exercise represented the regular, annual exercise with several stakeholders, the most important being the nuclear power plant personnel (Emergency Response Organisation representatives), local governmental emergency response centre (with the responsibility to alarm and dispatch, for instance, police and fire brigade), local fire station, and police. Particularly, we studied the communication of the contact persons of Technical Support Centre and the Emergency Response Centre of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). The main task of these contact persons was to acquire information about the plant's status during the emergency (exercise) by contacting the contact person of the plant's Emergency Response Centre. As the present exercise scenario was not demanding for the studied parties, nothing can be concluded about the effectiveness of communication. The similarities and differences in verbal communication between these organisations, though, are analysed, and the reasons for these differences discussed. We also studied the appropriateness of an online classification of verbal utterances and found the method used suitable for this purpose. To understand communication it is not enough, though, but at least interviewing is also needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    EventEnlarged Halden Programme Group Meeting, EHPG 2017 - Lillehammer, Norway
    Duration: 24 Sept 201729 Sept 2017


    WorkshopEnlarged Halden Programme Group Meeting, EHPG 2017
    Abbreviated titleEHPG 2017


    • emergency exercise
    • communication
    • nuclear


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