Warsaw hosts first DRIVER+ Trial
Nothing stands still in crisis management and as risks and communities get more interconnected, the solutions to manage crises need to follow suit. This is why innovation is fundamental towards building resilience and cooperation; without innovation it will be impossible to catch up with disaster risk management.
It is with this in mind that DRIVER+ came to be. “Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience” (DRIVER+) is a European project, financed under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, which focuses on improving capability development and innovation management for European Crisis Management practitioners. Practitioners have told us that gaps exist between the risks they face and the solutions currently available. These include being able to deal with threats in real time, to assess what vulnerabilities exist and to manage the available assets and resources.
DRIVER+ creates the environment for practitioners to assess their gaps and to assess innovative solutions in simulated contexts, which will allow them to understand what new technological innovations and solutions will best meet their needs when responding to current and emerging natural or man-made disasters.
Innovative solutions assessed in four Trials
DRIVER+ comprises four Trials, the first of which was held in Warsaw, Poland, from 21 to 25 May 2018. Each Trial presents a different set of crisis conditions: in Trial 1 it was an industrial accident with a large-scale spill of toxic sludge, requiring the evacuation of nearby areas and the rapid assessment of the rise in toxic waste levels. The Trial was held at Poland’s Main School of Fire Service (SGSP) and included a one-day field Trial at SGSP’s Field Training and Rescue Innovation Base in nearby Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki.
During the Trial, three solutions were selected and assessed, first during a table-top Trial, then in the field. The solutions focused on different dimensions of Crisis Management. One of them allowed practitioners to assess the benefits of having an improved Common Operational Picture, which provided a real-time perception of the actions of their counterparts across the border. The other two solutions provided the tools to: (1) simulate the dynamics of a flood in relation to the affected area; and (2) use cloud computing to quickly produce geometrically correct maps using video footage from a drone.
“The communication of pictures done via 4G is much faster than just a few years ago,” according to Tarmo Kull, fire officer and lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, commenting on the drone solution. Italian firefighter and drone operator, Andrea Di Lolli, considered the solutions trialled, “allow us to have a better view of the situational awareness between all operators.” The solutions were connected to the DRIVER+ Test-bed, which provides the technological infrastructure, the necessary methodology and support tools for the Trials, enabling practitioners to assess the potential added value of these solutions.
In October 2018, DRIVER+ will hold its second Trial, this time in southern France. The scenario will consist of a cross-border forest fire in a Mediterranean environment. A total of four solutions were selected in an open call. As part of a continuous learning process, each Trial will deliver lessons for the next one, so that practitioners and solution providers can learn from each experience.
The results from the Trials will be included in the DRIVER+ Portfolio of Solutions, an online database, in which data on the solutions and how they performed during a Trial will be accessible. This is part of an effort to build a European Crisis Management community, whose members will learn from each other.
I4CM – Innovation for Crisis Management
Following Trial 1, DRIVER+ will organise the 3rd edition of the Innovation for Crisis Management (I4CM) event in Warsaw on 3 and 4 September. This public event will provide a platform for Crisis Management practitioners, solution providers and policy makers to meet and exchange best practices and lessons learnt.
For more information, go to www.driver-project.eu
The DRIVER+ project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 607798. The opinions expressed in this document reflect only the author’s view and reflects in no way the European Commission’s opinions. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.