ENISA Report Highlights Areas for Emergency Services Communications Improvements (1/30/13)
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 | Comments

Emergency service organizations need to work more closely with each other and with the public, including using social media during incidents, according to a new report, Emergency Communications Stocktaking, prepared by Analysys Mason in collaboration with and on behalf of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

Analysys Mason was commissioned by ENISA to assess how the technology and processes used in emergency responses could be improved, with the aim of providing guidance to policymakers in European Union (EU) member states and EU organizations. The report can be found here.

The way emergency services communicate, internally and with other emergency responders, can make the difference between an efficient operation and a serious situation turning into a crisis.

Emergency Communications Stocktaking is based on a series of interviews conducted with a range of stakeholders working directly in crisis response, as well as representatives from regulatory areas and the ICT industry. The aim was to identify good practice and highlight potential gaps and barriers to effective crisis communications.

In post-crisis reviews of major incidents, including the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, interagency communications are often identified as a problem. The report highlights a range of issues that can contribute to difficulties and which, if corrected, could make emergency communications more effective. Issues include the development of different communications standards and practices, for example, between police and ambulance services, and technology failure in crisis situations. The report also suggests that in the age of 24-hour news and social media, there should be formal processes for using electronic information from the public to improve situational awareness.

The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at developing improved interagency crisis communications technology and procedures; defining standards in crisis communications technology and procedures; and encouraging the uptake of data services in emergency communications, particularly in the area of public interaction.

“ENISA is truly a pace setter for information security in Europe,” said Duncan Swan, partner at Analysys Mason. “This report pulls together a wealth of reference material that will be invaluable to organizations not only in Europe, but worldwide, which are involved in public protection and disaster recovery (PPDR), and emergency communications in particular.”

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