Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Anticipating and addressing the knock-on effects of crisis situations

Crisis situations such as an EU-wide black-out, or cross-border flooding in the Netherlands and Germany, say, can have devastating repercussions. Those involved in crisis prevention describe the unforeseen chain of events that can occur after such events as cascade effects. A ...
Anticipating and addressing the knock-on effects of crisis situations
Crisis situations such as an EU-wide black-out, or cross-border flooding in the Netherlands and Germany, say, can have devastating repercussions. Those involved in crisis prevention describe the unforeseen chain of events that can occur after such events as cascade effects. A well-known example of such an effect is the meltdown of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors in Japan, after the power plant was hit by a tsunami, which in turn was triggered by an earthquake.

Being able to anticipate such cascade effects – and put in place effective emergency measures – can help avoid catastrophe and save lives. This is why the three-year EU-funded FORTRESS (Foresight Tools for Responding to cascading effects in a crisis) project was launched in April 2014; in order to identify and better understand their cause. Some 13 partners from eight European countries have been brought together to develop new methods and techniques to help assist decision-makers in preparing and training for such crises.

One of the key challenges in pan-European disaster management is dealing with inter-organisational and cross-border cascading effects. For this reason, the project first intends to reconstruct past events in order to understand vulnerabilities and resilience. In-depth system and sensitivity analysis of selected infrastructures will then be carried out, in order to gather information on dynamic performances of interdependent infrastructures. Crisis management exercises will then be analysed within four scenario case studies.

The information generated from analysing these historical case studies – and the four scenarios – will enable FORTRESS to build a collaborative and accessible modelling platform for cascading and cross-border effects in a range of crisis situations. This platform will feed into the development of the FORTRESS Incident Evolution Tool (FIET); a user-friendly tool with cross-border capabilities that can be used in a cascading crisis situation. Indeed, the FIET will be specifically designed to be user-friendly enough to be employed during a crisis.

The FIET will be primarily used by crisis managers for inter-sectorial and inter-organisational communication, to manage diverse types of cascading effects. The project will evaluate the effectiveness of the FIET in mitigating cascading effects in different dynamic crisis situations.

To ensure that the FIET and other outcomes of the FORTRESS project are relevant and valid for end-users, close collaboration with end-users will be carried out throughout the project. Indeed, the FIET will be subject to rigorous testing in the field, in order to evaluate its effectiveness. The user-friendliness of the innovation will be assessed through extensive training with decision-makers, in order to optimise the look and feel of the system. These end users will also assist in defining the key requirements for the FIET, and help assess other outcomes of the project, due for completion in 2017. In addition, they will also help the project consortium to identify other end-user organisations.

Source: FORTRESS

Related information

Countries

  • Germany
Record Number: 36632 / Last updated on: 2014-07-04
Category: Other
Provider: EC