IN-PREP HANDBOOK

Policy or decision-maker

You are a decision maker interested in enhancing inter-organisational disaster response collaboration?

You might want to learn more about the following topics:

Governance – National Level

Legal and organisational bases for cross-organisational collaboration

Several countries have developed governance structures to facilitate the inter-organisational collaboration within their country. If you wish to enhance inter-organisational response capacities in your country, you might want to have a look at the following examples:

United Kingdom

In the UK, The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 provides a single framework for civil protection and seeks to reinforce partnership working at all levels.

It recognises that interrelated systems provide essential services in the UK and as networks have become more complex the range of challenges in maintaining resilience has broadened. Such complexity requires collaborative partnerships working towards common outcomes. Thus the expectation of the Act is that local authorities, the emergency services and the health sector, along with other key service providers, will collaborate and be able to provide normal services in crises, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The Civil Contigencies Act built the basis for the Development of a Joint Doctrine for the emergency services (JESIP):

The key components of the Joint Doctrine are:

Principles for Joint Working – the principles we expect commanders to follow when planning a joint incident response

M/ETHANE – a common method for passing incident information between services and their control rooms

Joint Decision Model (JDM) – A common model used nationally to enable commanders to make effective decisions together

https://www.jesip.org.uk/home

Based on the Contigencies Act and the associated Contingency Planning Regulations 2005 and guidance (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/2042/contents/made) ,

the National Resilience Capabilities Programme (NRCP) (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/preparation-and-planning-for-emergencies-the-capabilities-programme); and

Emergency Response and Recovery (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/emergency-response-and-recovery), the UK: Local resilience forums were developed. Local resilience forums (LRFs) are multi-agency partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and others. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-resilience-forums-contact-details

IRELAND

In Ireland, The Framework for Major Emergency Management was developed in 2005 and was adopted by Government decision in 2006.

Its purpose is to set out common arrangements and structures for front line public sector emergency management in Ireland.

The document replaces the Framework for Co-ordinated Response to Major Emergency, which has underpinned major emergency preparedness and response capability since 1984. The

new Framework was prepared under the aegis of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Major Emergencies, and has been approved by Government decision. The National Steering Group for the implementation of the Framework was established

by Government Decision and replaces the Inter-Departmental Committee on Major

Emergencies.

One of the key objectives of the Framework is to set out the arrangements and facilities for effective co-ordination of the individual response efforts of the Principal Response Agencies to  major emergencies, so that the combined result is greater than the sum of the individual efforts. The Framework assigns responsibility for undertaking the co-ordination function clearly and unambiguously and requires it to be supported, so that it happens and is effective:

http://mem.ie/

For details about the steering group, have a look at Appendix F2: http://mem.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/A-Framework-For-Major-Emergency-Management-Appendices.pdf

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Safety Regions Act was introduced in 2010.

The Dutch Safety Regions Act has a long history that includes some very tangible events that have led to its adoption, such as the fireworks disaster in Enschede in May 2000 and the New Year’s fire in the ‘De Hemel’ bar in Volendam in 2001. The need for multidisciplinary cooperation involving both the traditional security partners and new partners grew, as citizens are entitled to expect that the public authorities will be able to work together in the event of disasters and crises.

In short, the effectiveness and professionalism of the emergency services in the Netherlands had to be increased. In order to bring this about, uniform service levels had to be established within cooperation areas (security regions) to facilitate mutual assistance and escalation.

The Safety Regions Act seeks to achieve an efficient and high-quality organisation of the fire services, medical assistance and crisis management under one regional management board. The Act stipulates that as a common rule, safety regions must be structured on the same scale as the police regions. The Safety Regions Act lays the foundations for organising disaster and crisis management with the aim of better protecting citizens against risks.

https://www.government.nl/binaries/government/documents/decrees/2010/12/17/dutch-security-regions-act-part-i/safety-regions-act.pdf

This legislation is furthermore facilitated by a joint Situation Assessment, called LCMS (Dutch Nation Wide Crisis Management System). LCMS is a nation-wide crisis management system used in The Netherlands to maintain and share a common operational picture supporting large-scale crisis management collaboration.

LCMS is used by all 25 safety regions, the majority of the waterboards, Rijkswaterstaat, an increasing number of emergency health care organisations, the Royal Military Police organisation and some drinking water providers. LCMS supports netcentric collaboration, which is a way of working in which clear agreements are made about sharing information so that decision-making under (crisis) circumstances is always based on an up-to-date, consistent and common operational picture. LCMS is a web based collaboration environment with a very high level of availability. The environment can be used to share information within an organisation as well as between organisations. It supports maintaining and sharing geographical as well as textual pictures.

https://www.lcms.nl/about-lcms

PORTUGAL

In Portugal, the Integrated System for Relief and Protection Operations (SIOPS) is operated.

SIOPS is a set of rules and procedures, which guarantee that civil protection agents act, at the operational level, in a coordinated way and under a unique command. SIOPS is facilitated by inter-organisational command centres: the National Coordination Centre (CCON) district coordination centres using a joint software for situation assessment.

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/civil_protection/vademecum/pt/2-pt-1.html

http://www.prociv.pt/pt-pt/PROTECAOCIVIL/SISTEMAPROTECAOCIVIL/SIOPS/Paginas/default.aspx

Information sharing and Standard Operating Procedures – National Level

Some countries use joint situation assessment technologies which allow the involved organisations to enhance communication and response. Some examples are detailed below:

Information sharing platforms

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Safety Regions Act was introduced in 2010.

It facilitated the development of a joint Situation Assessment, called LCMS (Dutch Nation Wide Crisis Management System). LCMS is a nation-wide crisis management system used in The Netherlands to maintain and share a common operational picture supporting large-scale crisis management collaboration.

LCMS is used by all 25 safety regions, the majority of the waterboards, Rijkswaterstaat, an increasing number of emergency health care organisations, the Royal Military Police organisation and some drinking water providers. LCMS supports netcentric collaboration, which is a way of working in which clear agreements are made about sharing information so that decision-making under (crisis) circumstances is always based on an up-to-date, consistent and common operational picture. LCMS is a web based collaboration environment with a very high level of availability. The environment can be used to share information within an organisation as well as between organisations. It supports maintaining and sharing geographical as well as textual pictures.

https://www.lcms.nl/about-lcms

LCMS provides different functionalities.

The situational picture is the heart of LCMS. This picture gives a quick overview of all relevant information from and for all collaborating teams and organisations. It consists of a geographical part and a textual part.

LCMS Text can be used to compose and arrange a coherent, clear and actual situational picture. As a reminder for the information managers, the default content of the textual fields includes a number of themes that are typically relevant in crisis management. Think of meteorological information, safety of emergency workers and victim overview for example.

LCMS mobile supports coordination of large-scale response to wild-fires. LCMS mobile complements                                  ​                 
the visualisation of incident location, firefighting locations, fire control lines, water extraction points with functionality for command and control of units, vehicles and materiel. Unit commanders are supported with real-time visualisation of actual vehicle locations, deployment locations and logistic points of interestLCMS mobile makes use of Ad-Hoc Routers (AHR) to maintain a secure connection with the Internet and the central LCMS servers. The AHRs automatically set up a local field network in which all vehicles are included. This has the advantage that just one of the vehicles needs a 4G, 3G or satellite connection to provide all vehicles with an Internet connection.

PORTUGAL

In Portugal, all actors involved in response operations use one tool to derive a common operational picture (COP).

It does not only provide a joint situation assessment  to the involved agencies but also includes a layer for the public:

http://www.prociv.pt/pt-pt/SITUACAOOPERACIONAL/Paginas/default.aspx?cID=19

Standard Operating Procedures

IRELAND

In Ireland, dedicated cross-organisational documents have been developed for

different incidents such as Flood Emergencies, Motorway and Dual Carriage Emergencies, etc. can be found here: http://mem.ie/guidance-documents/ 

United Kingdom

In the UK, Joint Doctrine (see also„governance“ section of this handbook) procedures have been developed for decision making.

Decision making in incident management follows a general pattern of:

– Working out what’s going on (situation),

– Establishing what you need to achieve (direction)

-Deciding what to do about it (action), all informed by a statement and understanding of overarching values and purpose.

One of the difficulties facing commanders from different responder agencies is how to bring together the available information, reconcile potentially differing priorities and then make effective decisions together.

The Joint Decision Model (JDM) was developed to resolve this issue.

Responder agencies may use various supporting processes and sources to provide commanders with information, including information on any planned intentions, to commanders. This supports joint decision making.

All joint decisions, and the rationale behind them, should be recorded in a ‘joint decision log’.

When using the joint decision model, the first priority is to gather and assess information and intelligence.

Responders should work together to build shared situational awareness, recognising that this requires continuous effort as the situation, and responders’ understanding, will change over time.

 

Understanding the risks is vital in establishing shared situational awareness, as it enables responders to answer the three fundamental questions of ‘what, so what and what might?’

Once shared situation awareness is established, the preferred ‘end state’ should be agreed as the central part of a joint working strategy. A working strategy should set out what a team is trying to achieve, and how they are going to achieve it.

https://www.jesip.org.uk/arrangements-joint-decision-model

Training and exercises – National Level

Some countries use joint situation assessment technologies which allow the involved organisations to enhance communication and response. Some examples are detailed below:

TRAINING

United Kingdom

Under the JESIP Framework for cross-organizational response, trainings have been developed.

They encompass for example, all staff training, commander training, control room training or operational communications adviser.

https://www.jesip.org.uk/all-staff-training

https://www.jesip.org.uk/commander-training

https://www.jesip.org.uk/control-room-training

https://www.jesip.org.uk/operational-communications-adviser

The trainings are accompanied by documents such as the “Consolidated Command Trainer Guide”

https://www.jesip.org.uk/uploads/media/pdf/Jesip-Awareness/Consolidated_Command_Trainer_Gui.pdf

Exercises

IRELAND

In Ireland, under the Framework for Major Emergency Management, a guide to planning and staging exercises was developed in 2016.

It differentiates different types of exercises (table top and live) and the different steps to be considered in the planning and implementation process:

http://mem.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/A-Guide-to-Planning-and-Staging-Exercises.pdf 

United Kingdom

In the context of the JESIP Joint Doctrine, guidance has been developed for multi-agency exercises in the UK:

https://www.jesip.org.uk/testing-and-exercising

An Exercise Assurance Framework has been produced to help with the planning of  a one day multi-agency live play exercise allowing multiple staff to take part. Other templates which may be useful include:

Umpire Evaluation sheet

Multi-Agency De-Brief template

Agreements and protocols with neighbouring countries

In border regions, agreements and protocols are frequently in place since support might be activated faster than national support. Also, in case that a state cannot deal with an incident on it‘s own, neighbouring states might provide support and in some areas, strategic collaboration is place. Some examples and ideas to get an overview of the own situation are indicated below:

Please bear in mind that while some states have no or only one neighbouring state, certain countries have several neighbouring countries.

Deriving an overview

One example for deriving an overview of protocols and agreements for countries with several neighbouring countries in which also regional and provincial authorities play a role, is the below example of Italy. It relates the border line with neighbouring countries to the local authorities and specifies the protocols in place. 

Deriving an overview table

In addition, it could be useful to conduct joint risk assessments with the neighbouring countries or exchange information about the own assessment with relevance for the neighbouring state. If needed, additional agreements could be based on these assessments. Joint exercises might also serve as a basis to identify needs for protocols and to test existing ones.

EXAMPLES

The Euregion Meuse-Rhine Incident control and Crisis management (EMRIC) is a unique collaboration of public services, that are responsible for public safety, including fire services, technical assistance and emergency medical care in their respective territories.

In a region that is so rich of borders, like the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, emergency services from abroad can often be at the scene of the incident faster than own services. When every second counts, fast assistance is vital. 

The collaborating servcies are the fire services of Aachen, the Ordnungsamt from Kreis Heinsberg and the Ordnungsamt from the Städteregion Aachen in Germany, de Province of Limburg and Liège in Belgium and the Veiligheidsregio and GGD Zuid-Limburg in the Netherlands. These are the organisations that fund the collaboration and the so-called EMRIC office. In addition to these seven partners, over 30 services and governments are involved in the EMRIC collaboration. 

EMRIC ensures that cross-border collaboration is possible, however, self-evident it is in the least. Within these three countries, operational and legal systems differ to such extent, that a lot needs to be arranged, before ambulance or fire trucks are allowed to cross the border. In a region that is so rich of borders, like the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, working, recreating and studying across the border has become self-evident, however, this was not the case for assisting each other in case of emergencies. 

https://www.emric.info/en/citizens/what-is-emric?set_language=en

Sending and receiving UCPM support

In case you want to enhance capacity to send or receive international support, you might be interested in the following sub-topics:

Sending support (UCPM)

The overall objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism.

UCPM trained experts

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism runs an active and comprehensive training programme, offering experts from all over Europe a deeper knowledge of the requirements of European civil protection missions.

The training helps experts improve their coordination and assessment skills in disaster response.

The programme offers a wide range of courses from basic training to high-level sessions for future mission leaders. Special courses are also available aiming to prepare for specific aspects of missions such as security training or assessments.

In addition, the expert exchange system of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism allows for the secondment of civil protection experts from one EU Member State or Participating State to another. This exchange provides participants with knowledge and experience on all aspects of emergency intervention and the different approaches of national systems.

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection/experts-training-and-exchange_en

EU Civil Protection Pool

The European Civil Protection Pool was established to advance European cooperation in civil protection and enable a faster, better-coordinated and more effective European response to man-made disasters and natural hazards.

The Pool brings together resources from 24 Member States and Participating States, ready for deployment to a disaster zone at short notice. These resources can be rescue or medical teams, experts, specialised equipment or transportation. Whenever a disaster strikes and a request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is received, assistance is drawn from this Pool.

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection/european-civil-protection-pool_en

rescEU

The overall objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.

When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism.

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection/resceu_en

Receiving support

The Host Nation Support Guidelines are most likely the most relevant reference for European countries receiving support in case of a major incident. However, for the sake of completeness and since topics might be of relevance for persons interested in the topic of international cross-organisational collaboration, also the link to the humanitarian sector and the UNDAC Field handbook and the OSOCC guidelines is established below.

EU Civil Protection: Host Nation Support Guidelines

The EU Host Nation Support Guidelines (EU HNSG) aim at assisting the affected
Participating States to receive international assistance in the most effective and efficient manner.

It encompasses supporting checklists and templates. These cover topics such as

-Emergency Planning

-Logistics/Transport or

-Legal and Financial Issues

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/about/COMM_PDF_SWD 20120169_F_EN_.pdf

Humanitarian Aid: UNDAC Field and book

UNDAC has evolved and adapted to the changing requirements of the international humanitarian response system and today also provides valuable support in protracted crises, technological and other types of emergencies.

In this role, UNDAC ensures effective collaboration between national disaster management systems, international humanitarian response actors, bilateral responders including the military, national non-government organizations, civil society and the private sector.
The Field Handbook is intended as an easily accessible reference guide for members of an UNDAC team before and during a mission to a disaster or emergency, covering the following topics:

  • The international emergency environment;
  • The UNDAC Concept;
  • Pre-mission;
  • On-mission;
  • Mission end;
  • Team management;
  • Safety and security;
  • Information management planning;
  • Assessment and analysis (A&A);
  • Reporting and analytical outputs;
  • Media;
  • Coordination;
  • OSOCC concept;
  • Coordination cells;
  • Regional approaches;
  • Disaster logistics;
  • ICT and technical equipment;
  • Facilities; S. Personal health.

https://www.unocha.org/our-work/coordination/un-disaster-assessment-and-coordination-undac

OSOCC Guidelines

Developed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group network (INSARAG),

the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) is a rapid response tool that provides a platform for the coordination of international response activities in the immediate aftermath of a sudden-onset emergency or a rapid change in a complex emergency.

OSOCC refers at the same time to both the methodology and the physical location, where on-site emergency response is coordinated. It thus deploys two simultaneous strategies:
to rapidly provide a means to facilitate on-site cooperation, coordination and information management between international responders and the government of the affected country in the absence of an alternate coordination system.
to establish a physical space to act as a single point of service for incoming response teams, notably in the case of a sudden-onset disaster where the coordination of many international response teams is critical to ensure optimal rescue efforts.
INSARAG Guidelines Volume I: Policy

https://www.unocha.org/our-work/coordination/site-operations-coordination-centre-osocc

International Guidelines (Thematic aspects)

Besides general aspects of international cross-organisational collaboration, thematic approaches have been taken to enhance collaboration. For example, in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) or Foreign Medical Teams (FMT) advances have been made to enhance collaboration. Furthermore, a link to the MEND Guide for planning mass evacuations is made:

INSARAG Guidelines

The INSARAG Guidelines provide a methodology to guide countries affected by a sudden-onset disaster causing large-scale structural collapse, as well as international USAR teams responding in the affected country.

The INSARAG methodology provides a process for preparedness, cooperation and coordination of the national and international participants. The guidelines also outline the role of the UN in assisting affected countries in on-site coordination.
The INSARAG Guidelines define a range of standards, notably about the size and tasks of USAR response teams:

a) Light Teams with basic operational capability to assist with the surface search and rescue of victims in the immediate aftermath of a sudden-onset structural collapse disaster; not deployed internationally.

b) Medium Teams cover the core competencies of management, logistic, search, rescue and medical and are equipped to conduct complex technical search and rescue operations in medium-heavy collapsed or failed structures, as well as rigging and lifting operations covering one worksite.

c) Heavy Teams fulfil all requirements as above to conduct complex technical search and rescue operations particularly in collapsed or failed structures build with reinforced or structural steel. They are expected to have the capacity to work two worksites simultaneously and for assignments longer than 24hrs.

https://www.insarag.org/methodology/guidelines

FMT Guidelines

Following sudden-onset disasters (SODs), a large number of Foreign Medical Teams (FMTs) often arrive in-country to provide emergency care to patients with traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions.

Experience has shown that in many cases the deployment of FMTs is not based on assessed needs and that there is wide variation in their capacities, competencies and adherence to professional ethics. Such teams are often unfamiliar with the international emergency response systems and standards, and may not integrate smoothly into the usual coordination mechanisms.
Following the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods of 2010, where the problem outlined above were especially evident, The Global Health Cluster of the World Health Organization published the Classification and Minimum Standards for Foreign Medical Teams in Sudden Onset Disasters (FMT Guide).
It outlines a classification system and minimum standards for FMTs that provide trauma and surgical care in the first month following a SOD. Additionally, the FMT Guide provides a registration form for arriving foreign medical teams to fill out that allows FMTs to declare their services and capacities, and an overview of the classification system, principles and standards teams should meet when offering their services to affected countries. The ambition of the guideline is to maintain an overview of actors and improve the coordination of the foreign medical team response. Personnel is expected to have sufficient training and experience, further training guidelines are not part of the FMT Guide.

https://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/ebola/foreign-medical-teams/en/

MEND Guide (Mass evacuation)

The Guide for Planning Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND Guide) was created 2014 at the request of several countries and national disaster management authorities to help in the creation of (e.g. national) mass evacuation plans.

While It focuses on mass evacuations in the context of disasters related to natural hazard events, many of the actions suggested in this guide may also be applicable to other types of disasters and to planning for the evacuation of smaller groups of people. It serves as a reference providing key background considerations and a template to assist planning bodies at national, regional, municipal, and other levels – both urban and rural – in the development and/or refinement of evacuation plans in accordance with emergency management principles.

https://cccmcluster.org/resources

Training and Exercises

At the EU/international level, examples for cross-oranisationa training and exercises are listed below:

Training

EU (UCPM)

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism runs an active and comprehensive training programme, offering experts from all over Europe a deeper knowledge of the requirements of European civil protection missions. The training helps experts improve their coordination and assessment skills in disaster response.

The programme offers a wide range of courses from basic training to high-level sessions for future mission leaders. Special courses are also available aiming to prepare for specific aspects of missions such as security training or assessments.

In addition, the expert exchange system of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism allows for the secondment of civil protection experts from one EU Member State or Participating State to another. This exchange provides participants with knowledge and experience on all aspects of emergency intervention and the different approaches of national systems.

https://ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection/experts-training-and-exchange_en

Bi-/multilateral

Examples

EU (UCPM)

DG ECHO (Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations) funds a number of exercises every year to improve preparedness and enhance collaboration among European civil protection authorities and teams.
Modules Field Exercises aim to provide an opportunity for testing specific response capacities, as well as the self-sufficiency, interoperability, coordination and procedures of response teams and equipment.

Modules Table-Top Exercises, focus on in-depth training of modules, Technical Assistance and Support
Teams and EU Civil Protection Teams key personnel. Contingency planning, decision-making procedures, provision of information to the public and the media can also be tested during the exercises. Exercises help stakeholders identify further training needs for their staff, while lessons-learned workshops organised in parallel serve as a forum to identify how response and related activities can be improved.

PDF Here

Bi-/multilateral