Italian Event Features Public-Safety Interoperability Demo under EPISECC
Monday, June 12, 2017 | Comments

At the Civil Protection Center in Palmanova, Italy, the research project Establish a Pan-European Information Space to Enhance seCurity of Citizens (EPISECC), funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7), demonstrated information technology to enable interoperability between public-safety agencies. The electronic information exchange between stakeholders will aid them in response to large disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, forest fires, technical incidents or terrorist attacks.

The May 11 – 12 exercise tested the interoperability of information systems from the civil protection authority, firefighters, mountain rescue teams and paramedics of Italy, Slovenia and Austria. The EPISECC project aims to develop the concept of a “common information space” to become the key element in a future integrated Pan-European crisis and disaster response capacity.

A group of highly ranked observers — experts from first responders, crisis managers and international organizations — evaluated the demonstrated concepts and prototype and provided positive feedback to the EPISECC team. The next challenge will be the transformation of research results into marketable solutions and to introduce them into the operational disaster management procedures.

“Disaster-affected people need information as much as water, food, medicine or shelter; accurate, timely information can save lives,” said World Disaster Report (2013) International Federation of Red Cross. “Today’s information technology presents new possibilities, but has not been fully exploited by humanitarian organizations. Lack of information can make people victims of disaster.”

“The information space, developed under EPISECC, aims to overcome key challenges hindering efficient crisis response, namely compatibility and linguistic barriers and lack of interoperability,” said Gudrun Van Pottelbergh, crisis management expert and observer for the Palmanova exercise. “The strength of EPISECC is that it does not force stakeholders to change their operating systems or standard working procedures, not even the language that its staff is working in. The outcomes of the project demonstrate that technological improvements possess great potential to foster efficient disaster response.”

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