Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. James M. Leonard, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Joshua Hagen, Ph. D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Ralph E. Oberly, Ph.D.


Although disaster management is a national concern, at the most basic level it is the responsibility of county emergency management agencies to cope with disasters. The objective of this research is to gauge the extent of the adoption and future benefits of the use of GIS technology by first responders and stakeholders to assist in the planning and response to an emergency and to provide a working GIS application model for emergency response in small municipalities, using Huntington, West Virginia as a case study, and how the resulting tools linked with GIS can provide visual and interact decision support capabilities for emergency response and prevention planning for first responders in small municipalities. Disaster management consists of various cyclical phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recover. Each phase is geographically related to where people, places, and things are spatially purposes throughout each part of the cycle. It attempts to determine the scope, evaluate and decide which modelling approaches can be applied to the broad range of emergency situations and spatial contexts in small municipalities using GIS. In addition, it investigates the current degree of integration of spatial datasets between first responders with other agencies, such as federal, state, local municipal jurisdictions and the private sector in the case study geographical area. It finds that efficient management of potential risks ca only be accomplished if the emergency managers are aware of the extent of the possible effects of disasters. Such Tools can be developed to act as a decision support system for emergency management agencies, through the use of GIS.


Emergency management.

Geographic information systems.

Huntington ( W.Va.)