Emergency First Response to a Crisis Event: A Multi-Agent Simulation Approach

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Naval Postgraduate School
Homeland Security Presidential Directive #8 led to the establishment of the National Exercise Program and the Top Officials exercise series to test and evaluate first response agency integration and effectiveness. The last TOPOFF exercise cost $16M and involved over 10,000 people, but did not effectively leverage simulation techniques to make efficient use of resources. This research adapts an existing organizational learning process, integrating low- and high resolution simulation to provide decision support. This process led to the development of a multi-agent simulation methodology for emergency first response, specifically applied to analyze a notional vehicle bomb attack during a festival in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. This simulation demonstrates the potential benefits of low resolution simulation, using efficient experimental design and high-performance computing. Combined, these two ideas result in examining a 48-dimensional response surface and using over 156 CPU centuries of computer time. All experiments were completed in less than three weeks. The analysis of this data set provided insight into several areas, including the importance of standing operating procedures in the early moments of a crisis. Analysis showed that effective procedures may even be more important than the effectiveness of communications devices early in a first response operation.
National Exercise Program
Roginski, Jonathan W. 2006. “Emergency First Response to a Crisis Event a Multi-Agent Simulation Approach.” Naval Postgraduate School.