Simulation for civil protection

Simulation for civil protection
Foto: Sandra Frings, © Fraunhofer IAO


Results of the CRISMA EU project help rescue teams prepare for catastrophes

In 2012, 40 researchers, technicians and operators from 17 European institutions joined forces in the EU’s CRISMA project to develop simulation and modeling solutions that help public authorities and rescue teams prepare for crisis situations. Now to conclude the project, the consortium will present its concepts for modeling and simulation.

Chemical spills, earthquakes or large-scale emergencies – effective crisis management requires good preparation in order to offer people, buildings and infrastructure the best possible protection. Kicked off in 2012, the EU’s CRISMA project (modeling crisis management for improved action and preparedness) supports administrative bodies and relief agencies at all federal levels to prepare for such crises using customizable and combinable simulation tools.

To assist civil protection players in planning and training by providing systematic support in the form of modeling and simulation, the CRISMA research team has spent the last three years developing a decision support concept, a software framework and specific models. These were tested in 2015 among numerous strategic and tactical decision makers, using fictional events such as chemical spills, cold spells or traffic accidents, as well as historical events – for example, the earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, or flooding in La Rochelle on France’s Atlantic coast. All of these solutions were presented on June 4, 2015, to a large audience of crisis managers, mission leaders, public authorities and organizations from various European countries. The findings met with considerable interest.

Researchers develop concepts to support exercises and decision-making

In cooperation with the German Red Cross, Fraunhofer IAO has worked up a support concept for large-scale exercises. With it, the vital time needed for activities can be measured and central success factors for an action plan for a mass casualty incident can be determined. This makes it possible to evaluate local exercises for accidents or natural catastrophes more systematically; at the same time, it can use real data to simulate alternative strategies for handling such events. Such data could also be used to provide support for decisions about investment – for instance, in suitable vehicles – or for tactical concepts, such as determining whether to establish a treatment station for a certain number of injured in a particular location. In this way, operational concepts and action plans can be developed and tested.

The concept for conducting and evaluating exercises will be published by the German Red Cross in a series on security research and is set to be combined in additional projects with other organizational solutions and IT systems.

Team on the DRIVER EU project will continue to develop and test concept

Researchers at Fraunhofer IAO are continuing with the systematic experimentation in crisis management in the EU’s DRIVER project (driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience), in which they join up with other European agencies, including Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).