Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Human performance modeling for emergency management decision making

Susan L. Murray, PhD, PE, Kashmeera Ghosh, MS, Mala Gosakan, MS


Objective: Computer simulation models allow users to analyze problems and identify improvements. Human performance models (HPMs) are a type of computer simulation model that is used to study and evaluate complex operations involving humans completing tasks. This article describes the advantages that HPMs can have for those involved in emergency management.
Design: IMPRINT Pro is an HPM software tool developed by the US Army Research Laboratory. It is a stochastic discrete-event network modeling tool. The modeling process includes defining tasks to be completed, the personnel responsible for performing the task, the success probability for each task and the operation as a whole, resource availability and limitations, and other features to evaluate scenarios. The results include easy-to-use task network diagrams and corresponding performance metrics. The models can be used as a preplanning and training tool to improve an organization’s performance.
Setting: To demonstrate the benefits of simulation modeling for emergency management, a case study of a combined anthrax and bomb threat made at a university is presented. Data from first responders including police and fire departments and the procedures used are modeled.
Results: The case study shows the complexity of many emergency management situations. Human performance modeling is a powerful tool that can provide insight to different possibilities in these complex situations and can predict outcomes without having to go through an actual emergency event or costly drills. Computer modeling saves money, time, and efforts for emergency managers and responders. These models serve as useful training and evaluation tools.


emergency management, human performance modeling, IMPRINT, terrorist attack, computer simulation

Full Text:



Patvivatsiri L: A simulation model for bioterrorism preparedness in an emergency room. In Proceedings of the 2006 Winter Simulation Conference, Monterey, CA. 2006: 501-508.

Christie PM, Levary RR: The use of simulation in planning the transportation of patients to hospitals following a disaster. J Med Syst. 1998; 22(5): 289-300.

Oh PY, Zhang R, Mode C, et al.: Information technologies for civilian bioterrorism response, Drexel University; 2004. Available at 2003.pdf. Accessed November 11, 2009.

Albores P, Shaw D: Responding to terrorist attacks and natural disasters: A case study using simulation. In Proceedings of the 2005 Winter Simulation Conference, Orlando, FL, 2005: 886-894.

Simonovic SP, Ahmad S: Computer-based model for flood evacuation emergency planning. Nat Hazards. 2005; 34: 25-51.

Quillinan TB, Aldewereld H, Wijngaards FN: Developing agentbased organizational models of crisis management. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, Budapest, Hungary. 2009: 45-52.

Jain S, McLean C: A framework for modeling and simulation for emergency response. In Proceedings of the 2003 Winter Simulation Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2003: 1068-1076.

ARL: Basic IMPRINT Workshop; 2008. Available at http://www. BasicWorkshop-Web-Page.pdf. Accessed November 11, 2009.

Models and simulations. In Pew RW, Mavor AS (eds.): Human- Systems Integration in the System Development Process.Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998: 240-252.

US Army Research Laboratory’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate: Improved Performance Research Integration Tool (IMPRINT) Analysis Guide. Version 7. 2005.

US Army Research Laboratory: Improved Performance Research Integration Tool. Available at default.cfm?Action=445. Accessed November 11, 2009.

Martin M: Distraught graduate student brings chaos to campus. The Missouri Miner, March 1, 2007: 1-3.

Kelton W, Sadowski R, Sturrock DT: Simulation with Arena. 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2007: 1-14.

Pew RW: More than 50 years of history and accomplishment in human performance model development. Hum Fact. 2008; 50(3): 489-496.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Emergency Management