Crossing New Frontiers in
Disaster Preparedness

During emergencies, there is no time to waste – Civil protection agencies need an accurate, real time picture of the situation on the ground as well as the big picture. IN-PREP is creating a training platform to enable responders to share their viewpoints with each other while staying connected to the control room so the big picture is always in view and immediate actions can be directed in the most effective way possible.

What is In-Prep?

IN-PREP is a large Innovation Action Horizon 2020 (H2020) project in the domain of crisis management that focuses on the preparedness phase. It is funded by the European Commission and brings together 20 partners from 7 countries who are experts in the crisis management sector. Within IN-PREP we will test technology and novel processes in an integrated training programme that includes demonstrations and exercises conducted with technology providers and practitioners. End users are strongly represented in the consortium and their insight and advice will be used to shape the training modules, handbook and the MRP platform.

We shall work at both community and policy level to ensure the positive outcomes in IN-PREP are taken on board. We would like to invite practitioners interested in these applications to connect with us.

Training

The training programme is built to enable transboundary collaboration among a wide variety of civil protection agencies. It focuses on ensuring that everyone in the chain of command has a clear common operational picture during a crisis. For example, the crew in the control room or headquarters need to have situational awareness of precisely what is taking place in and near the field. If they understand without ambiguity what is happening at each level of the chain, they can deploy responders on the ground to handle the crisis effectively. The training process would be applied across agencies and countries so that collaboration efforts transfer into optimal preparedness for crisis.

MRPP

The Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform (MRPP) is a training platform that is both user-friendly and intuitive. It provides an interactive, realistic 3D visualisation of the crisis environment combining a vast spectrum of data, both simulated and from the field. The MRPP will be useful for responders from different agencies and countries as it enables them to simulate future scenarios and practice together. It will enable practitioners to make sense of a crisis situation from different perspectives.  Participants will be able to create and adapt scenarios during training.

In a preparedness session, a simulated crisis would be merged into the real-world environment using a combination of technology such as augmented reality, sensor networks, evacuation possibilities and risk assessment.

Responders in the field will be able to visualise information about the simulated crisis while it evolves. While in the control room, the person in charge will be able to visualise how close the person in the field is to the simulated incident. All the different parts transform into a common operational picture to facilitate informed decision making. These simulated training sessions facilitate people who have never worked together before to practice together in preparation for real-life crisis events.

Micro-projects

The Technology Watch facilitates and realises innovation take up throughout the project. As part of its innovation management,  IN-PREP needs to stay in touch with technology trends.  There will be a Technology Watch with the aim of financing micro-projects that focus on novel sensors, sensor networks or acquisition of satellite data. The micro-projects provide an opportunity for nascent technologies to be incorporated within the Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform and will be tested during the demonstrations.

Literature Reviews

There are two reviews.

The first literature review will reveal what the state of play is in response planning and preparedness in crises management – what are the reasons an operation is a success or failure; what current technologies are being used in the field. The research will be validated through interviews with emergency responders. In relation to this, researchers will examine key tasks in crisis management such as sense making, decision making, communication and coordination.  They will combine this collective knowledge, the input from interviews and key tasks for the next step in the process.

 

The second literature review will build on the first. It will be interdisciplinary and involve experts from different fields like ergonomics, design, psychology, sociology and crisis studies. This review will reveal what the real needs are in the organisational, policy and social sides of crisis management. Part of the review will identify how highly trained people behave under pressure while interacting with complex technology inside command and control rooms during critical moments of crisis management. Recommendations will be drawn and funnelled into the Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform.

Handbook of Crisis Management

The handbook is intended to be useful to civil protection agencies so that effective transboundary preparedness and response can be improved. The content of the IN-PREP Handbook begins with an overview of the current crisis management system in the EU – ‘what works, what doesn’t and why‘. Practical advice about different components of the Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform are explained with guidance on how to use the platform. Recommendations on contextual factors that affect successful implementation are included too. These would be factors such as organisational culture, policy, social and human factors, legal issues, data privacy and ethics. The handbook will be available on line and translated into 5 different languages.