A hybrid and integrated approach to evaluate and prevent disasters

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Disasters are, by their nature, very complex phenomena. Their modelling using a systematic and logical methodology can help us identify their root causes and may facilitate in allocating appropriate resources to prevent such situations. Although techniques exist to model such phenomena, a single off-the-shelf model is insufficient to provide an effective and realistic analysis to prevent disasters due to its inherent assumptions. In order to overcome these limitations of single methods, this article proposes a hybrid model of four methods to optimise a safety investment. First, a hierarchy is constructed with a problem structuring approach. Second, a new graphical representation, the Crisis Tree Analysis, is introduced to visualise how a combination of basic events may lead to a disaster. Third, the criticality of each event is assessed using the Analytic Hierarchy Process. Finally, a mathematical programming model is proposed to calculate the optimal allocation of available funds in order to avoid the disaster. A case study of the Bhopal disaster is used to illustrate the proposed four-step method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1475-1489
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number10
Early online date21 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • analytic hierarchy process
  • crisis tree analysis
  • mathematical programming
  • risk management
  • Bhopal gas disaster


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