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Disaster, response, improvisation, decision making
Disasters have a knack of creating unexpected and complex situations for first responders. This is especially true of catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina. Many of these situations fall outside the first responder’s standard operating procedures and traditional response practices. When this occurs, the incident complexities stretch the first responder’s decision making capacity to the limit. Ultimately, first responders turn to improvisation as a means of achieving the desired outcome. This literature review employs a dependent/independent variable approach to examine first responder improvisation. Specifically, this paper discusses the deciding, planning, and implementing components of improvisation (dependent variable) and the impact of time, incident complexity, and responder perception (independent variables) on this phenomenon.