Cross-organisational handbook of

preparedness and response planning


What is the purpose of the handbook?

The purpose of the Handbook is to bring together practices in civil protection-related cross-organizational collaboration. It provides examples and contacts that may be helpful to those who want to enhance cross-organisational collaboration in their context. The Handbook also offers a suggestion for conducting a self-assessment on the status of cross-organisational collaboration and provides examples on how the topics were addressed across Europe at the EU, national and sectoral level.

How to use this handbook

The civil protection and particularly disaster response landscape is very diverse across Europe. It is frequently linked with national specificities in terms of organisational set-up but also past disaster experiences. Similarly, it is linked with climatic conditions and more broadly the predominance of natural hazard types – for example Southern European countries are frequently impacted by wildfires and have hence adapted their civil protection systems accordingly. In parallel, there are many sectoral activities addressing interoperability aspects of teams stemming from different national contexts, for example in the INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group) and EMT (Emergency Medical Team) or CBRN(E) (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) community.

Against this diverse background, no general recommendations to enhance cross-organisational collaboration can be given. Any recommendation would have to be tied to the specific context and level of advancement. Given that some states encompass of already very integrated systems including shared situations assessment while others are only starting to address the (technological) aspects of cross-organisational collaboration, any recommendation could only be applicable to a very specific context.

Hence, this Handbook is giving guidance for all interested stakeholders to define their own needs and preferences and thereby building on existing work. The handbook enables stakeholders to conduct a self-assessments and links it with examples that might be a starting point for own efforts in enhancing cross-organisational collaboration. It also points towards tools under the Mixed-Reality Preparedness Platform (MRPP) that could facilitate the actors in addressing particular aspects of collaboration and to enhance joint training and exercising.


It is suggested that users take the following steps:

  1. Conduct the self-assessment via the Interoperability Matrix and define the dimensions which you would like to enhance. This can be done using the IN-PREP Interoperability Questionnaire and the TransCrisis Survey The IN-PREP questionnaire operationalises different aspects of interoperability in an interactive self-assessment. The TransCrisis survey helps to analyse whether, and to which extent, a particular organisation or policy sector is ready to face a transboundary crisis.
  2. The “Responder Section” of this Handbook reflects the areas of the matrix used in the Interoperability Questionnaire. Depending on the dimension you would like to work on, you will find reference documents and examples that you might want to use to develop your own action plan
  3. The MRPP comprises several functionalities that can assist you in enhancing collaboration, jointly with other organisations. For example, the evacuation modelling can provide realistic scenarios to develop and/or adapt emergency plans for particular scenarios; the scenario planner can be used to jointly design exercises and implement them according to the needs of all organisations involved.

Who wrote the handbook?

The Handbook was developed by the IN-PREP consortium. It is based on two end-user workshops[1], 20 expert interviews and several iterations of disseminating and revising the current version together with the workshop participants, project end-users and interview partners, e.g. representatives from the UK JESIP framework, Dutch Safety Regions as well as several representatives of Police and Fire services in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, and Portugal working on interoperability aspects. In addition, the handbook is based on the lessons learned during the IN-PREP exercises. The overall methodology and individual inputs to the handbook are detailed in the document ‘Knowledge Capitalisation’, which was a deliverable in project IN-PREP.

[1]One project internal workshop was held and a dedicated workshop on ”Ethics and Policy of Transboundary Disaster Management Platforms” was held during the “Public Safety Communication Europe Conference” (PSCE) in June 2019.

Who should read the handbook?

The Handbook addresses different audiences, namely decision or policymakers, response actors and citizens. More particularly, it aims to provide dedicated information per audience and aims to respond to the following questions:

  • Importance of cross-organisational collaboration
  • What it means at the national and international level
  • How you can engender cross-organisational collaboration
    – The relevant dimensions
    – The potential steps
  • Why cross-organisational collaboration is relevant
  • Which dimensions are of relevance to evaluate and enhance inter-organisational collaboration
  • How cross-organisational collaboration is organised in practice
  • Which tools can facilitate training
  • Why you should be interested in cross-organisational collaboration
  • How you can be involved

IN-PREP Handbook Table of Contents

The IN-PREP Handbook


Policy makers

  • Relevance
    • Why is cross-organisational collaboration relevant for policy makers?
  • Dimensions
    • What does cross-organisational collaboration encompass at the national and international level?
    • Interactive questionnaire
    • Ethical Challenges at the governance level
  • Examples
    • National Examples
    • Training and Exercises
    • Agreement and Protocols
    • EU level and union civil protection mechanism (UCPM)
  • Initiation
    • Ethical Considerations
  • Maintenance
  • MRPP




The Public


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