Bournemouth University (BU) MSc Disaster Management student Lianna Roast has written a report for the National Preparedness Commission.
The report, titled Learning that can save lives, looks at how lessons from disasters can be translated into real-world change and asks how human psychology can ensure lessons from past events are learned.
The National Preparedness Commission, chaired by Lord Toby Harris, exists to promote better preparedness for a major crisis or incident. The Commission publishes several reports on disaster preparedness each year and Lianna was invited to write a report after presenting to Lord Harris.
With an undergraduate degree in psychology, Lianna brought that perspective to her MSc in Disaster Management at BU and sought to investigate how lessons learned from previous major incidents could be applied to protect against future disaster.
Lianna said: “Throughout my MSc I had been struck by the agonising reality that often individuals, organisations and indeed nations can find the process of turning important lessons from major incidents and disasters into practical, improved preparedness very challenging.
“Sadly, this can result in mistakes of the past being repeated and preventable losses being incurred when the next disaster strikes. I felt compelled to address the issue in any way I could.
“As my undergraduate degree was in psychology and the learning process is inherently psychological, I felt there was room for new perspectives on this challenge, and that I might be able to combine my BSc and MSc knowledge to add value in this area. After discussing my ideas with the faculty, I presented my proposal to the Chair of the Commission, Lord Toby Harris, and was invited to draft the report.”
The report has been well received by industry professionals and it has received a commendation from the Director of the UK Cabinet Office’s Emergency Planning College as well as positive feedback from senior consultants and academics.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Lord Toby Harris, Chair of the National Preparedness Commission, said: “Too often, after any disaster or crisis we hear the promise ‘Lessons will be learned’. However, that is sometimes as far as it goes. The UK needs new thinking when it comes to identifying lessons: if we keep using the same methods and the same people, we’ll keep getting the same lessons.”
The report can be read on the National Preparedness Committee’s website.