Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

Fred E. May

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Second Advisor

Sarah Morris

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Third Advisor

James L. Pharr

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management


Emergency management tasks are essentially uncertain. They require information sharing and quick decision making that incorporates coordination across a vast array of individuals and organizations. During an emergency, communication is key during all four phases of the emergency management process; preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation. In order to communicate effectively and systematically with the incident management team, emergency managers must establish situational awareness during a disaster. Obtaining optimal situational awareness requires emergency managers to use an assortment of technologies in order to relay the most accurate information in real time. The focus of this research is on those technologies and the analysis of their usage by Kentucky emergency managers during preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

This research uses both qualitative and quantitative methodology to analyze the trends observed between Kentucky emergency managers and online technical resources used to assist them in establishing situational awareness during weather events. The research looks at 10 different technologies developed by two top government science agencies. National Weather Service (NWS) and United States Geological Survey (USGS). This research will take into account the county emergency manager's years of experience, county disaster number, and county population to determine areas where a relationship exists between the technology and the county attributes. Implications for research as well as direction for future research will be discussed.