Emergency response logistics


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Emergency logistics refers to the process of delivering essential goods and services during and after an emergency event. It is a complex and challenging task, often involving multiple stakeholders and operating in difficult and unpredictable conditions. However, effective, efficient, timely emergency logistics management is essential for saving lives and reducing suffering. 
As our world becomes more interconnected and vulnerable to a range of calamities, the challenges for emergency logistics management have become increasingly multifaceted. The rapidity with which emergency response teams must act, the need for data-driven decision-making in complex environments, and the essential role of various actors, from first responders to volunteers, all underscore the importance of advancing our understanding and methodologies in this realm. Some critical challenges to the emergency logistics community are:

  • Coordination and collaboration: Emergency logistics operations often involve a wide range of stakeholders, including government, military, private sector, volunteers, and NGOs. Coordinating and collaborating effectively between these stakeholders can be challenging, especially in the early stages of an emergency response.
  • Uncertainty and unpredictability: Emergencies are unpredictable, and it can be difficult to accurately forecast demand for essential goods and services. This can make it challenging to ensure the right resources and supplies are in the right place at the right time.
  • Access and infrastructure: Access to affected areas can be difficult, and infrastructure may be damaged or destroyed. This can make it challenging to transport supplies and personnel to where they are needed most.
  • Resource constraints: Emergency logistics operations are often resource-constrained, and it is essential to make the most of limited resources. This requires careful planning and coordination.

Despite challenges, there are also several opportunities to improve emergency logistics. Technological advancements such as AI, big data analytics, natural language processing, blockchain, etc., can improve forecasting, coordination, and transparency in emergency logistics. Moreover, increased in- and cross-sector collaboration in emergency response can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the response.

Aim and scope

The special issue in “Emergency Response Logistics” aims to create a confluence of diverse research that unravels the unique challenges posed by different ranges of emergencies— from frequent accidents and emergency medical events to more significant events, like medium-sized forest fires and storms, to disasters. We also aim to explore the commonalities in theories, models, and methods that can be applied universally.
We particularly encourage contributions that cover daily emergencies and disasters, offering insights into how similar approaches can be applied across the board. These could focus on the roles and challenges faced by a myriad of actors, such as first responders, search and rescue teams, volunteer groups, local NGOs, the military, and other important actors.

List of Topic Areas

We invite researchers and practitioners to share their insights, findings, and forward-thinking perspectives in our SI. Topics may cover, but are not limited to: 

  • Decision support systems in emergency logistics: Enhancing real-time, data-driven, decision-making capabilities.
  • Technological advancements for emergency logistics: From drone deliveries to AI-driven response mechanisms, understanding the tech-driven future of emergency logistics.
  • Emergency logistics information systems: Developing and optimizing platforms for communication, coordination, and data management.
  • Emergency response volunteers and first responders: Exploring the roles, challenges, and opportunities for volunteers, first responders, and local actors.
  • Supply chain resilience: Preparing and adapting supply chains for rapid response during emergencies.
  • Coordination and collaboration mechanisms in emergency response: Strategies for multi-agency collaboration and overcoming on-ground challenges.
  • Emergency search and rescue operations: Efficient methodologies, challenges in diverse terrains, and the role of technology.
  • Training and simulation for emergency scenarios: Enhancing preparedness through virtual simulations, drills, and training modules.
  • Case studies: Insights and learning outcomes from studies of historical events focusing on the interplay between emergencies with different impact, e.g. how a disaster will affect the preparedness for managing daily emergencies.  

Submissions Information

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.

Submissions should be made through the JHLSCM manuscript submission system here.

When submitting papers to the SI, authors should select the special issue “Emergency response logistics” in the submission system from the drop-down menu.

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Submissions close: March 31, 2024