California Research Bureau, California State Library

What Disaster Response Management Can Learn From Chaos Theory

Conference Proceedings
May 18-19, 1995

Edited by
Gus A. Koehler, PhD.

June 1996

The California Research Bureau, with funding from the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, convened an invitational conference on May 18-19,1995, to determine what management lessons chaos theory might offer disaster managers. On the first day of the conference commissioned papers were presented by: Louise Comfort, University of Pittsburgh; Victoria Koehler-Jones, University of Nevada; Douglas Kiel, University of Texas; Richard Priesmeyer, St. Marys University; and Gus Koehler, California Research Bureau. Their papers are reproduced here. Tom Drabek, University of Denver, a leading expert on the sociology of disasters, provided the opening address. The second day was devoted to a workshop where participants and presenters discussed the practical implications of chaos theory for disaster management. This paper draws together the major points raised in the papers and important insights that emerged during the second day.