The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the field of crisis management training. As a first step, the descriptive elements of the crisis unit will make it possible to delineate the characteristics of this top decision-making place. Then, the different aspects of crisis management training will be addressed, before thoroughly introducing the concept of crisis simulations, which are one of the specific forms that trainings may adopt. Simulations are built and characterized by scenarios which materialize the training goals and educational content and thus favor a relevant organizational learning process. Finally, in order to illustrate the overview of this problem, we will portray the simulation and research platform of the French Institute of Risk Sciences (IMT Mines Alès).
1.1. The crisis unit at the heart of the process
The crisis team reunites decision makers who face a critical situation in a single place.
A crisis unit can be defined as a team with strong organizational integration (Sundstrom et al. 1990), in which different roles and responsibilities are finely structured (Salas et al. 1992) and hierarchized (Ahlstrom et al. 2000; Vraie et al. 2010). The members of the crisis unit are mobilized because of their skills and knowledge, and share a frame of reference and procedures (Ahlström et al. 2000) in order to accomplish the missions entrusted to them (Lachtar 2012). Considering that the activation ...