Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

POP-ALERT Report Summary

Project ID: 608030
Funded under: FP7-SECURITY
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - POP-ALERT (Population Alerting: Linking Emergencies, Resilience and Training)

Executive Summary:
The main focus of POP-ALERT is in the preparation of societies and populations to cope with crises and disasters in a rapid, effective and efficient way, by blending traditional crisis preparedness & first-reaction strategies with the use of innovative contemporary tools. POP-ALERT has undertaken a thorough desktop-based research and online survey examining population behaviour and attitudes in preparation for, and reaction to, crises. This extends traditional Crisis Management research through these empirical studies, which takes into account new issues related to targeting both local populations and visitors such as expats or tourists (cultural differences, language barriers, etc.). This research has been used in the creation of a framework to facilitate the assessment of the population’s capacity to absorb, and preparedness to make use of, different crisis management strategies and technologies developed at the EU level.

POP-ALERT has identified a number of specific target success stories within existing and past community preparedness programmes, although unfortunately this has not included many self-help schemes due to a high reliance in Europe on authorities, and put together a portfolio of case studies of preparedness arrangements, social networking and community self-reliance initiatives, which could be replicated for crises with a European dimension and for cross-border disasters. The project then went on to study the best ways to blend contemporary tools with the existing practices identified in order to create flexible and easily deployable toolkits, and a framework for preparing and alerting the European population in case of a crisis. The POP-ALERT approach for improving the current practices revolves around the use of messaging and cultural sharing technologies to create awareness, focusing on those technologies and approaches that offer the best form of accessibility and penetration for citizens and authorities. POP-ALERT has run two pilot experiments in two different member states in order to test the cross border capabilities of the generic methodologies identified and to assess their effectiveness in developing an improved level of preparedness, within both rural and urban communities, having transient as well as resident populations.

The key outputs from the project are as follows:
• Survey dataset generated from desktop and online research on awareness and preparedness for disaster scenarios of the EU population.
• A set of case studies identifying best practice in specific disaster scenarios.
• A proposed common alerting mechanism, incorporating an alert sound, pictograms and a message model.
• An information framework, realised as an online dashboard, providing real-time information to the public relating to current disaster scenarios and proposed actions. The framework incorporates both traditional and new media, in an effort to ensure the broadest possible coverage.
• A further dataset, realised from the POP-ALERT trials in Lisbon and Corsica. This dataset was derived from pre and post event questionnaires and question feedback generated within the Pandora+ training tool was used by the project for the trials.

The main recommendation of the project was in the continued development, maintenance and support of the POP-ALERT framework, realised as a dashboard, supported at the EU level for communities across the EU.

Project Context and Objectives:
The increase in natural and man-made disasters, and our society’s modernisation, is making us more vulnerable and exposed to highly negative and dangerous consequences, has caused national and international emergency response and support infrastructures to be stressed beyond their capacity to respond to all needs. Events such as Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 took hundreds of lives and caused material damages of billions of Euros, while demonstrating a substantial level of vulnerability and helplessness of our populations in crisis situations. In turn, cases of community resilience have shown that populations’ preparedness can contribute significantly to authorities’ efforts to confine the negative consequences of large scale disasters and crisis and speed-up the recovery. The main objective of POP-ALERT is therefore to prepare societies and populations to cope with crisis and disasters in a rapid, effective and efficient way.

Many reports have shown that the occurrence of natural catastrophes and man-made disasters has increased substantially in the past few decades. For example, research by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) reported that the number of floods have more than tripled, from 52.4 in the 1980s to 172.9 in the 2000s and the number of storms have doubled from 55.9 in the 1980s to 105.6 in the 2000s.

On the other hand, the more sophisticated and complex societies become, the more fragile they are in terms of their exposure to large scale disasters. As societies become more urbanised and modernised, people become more dependent on certain technologies and therefore more vulnerable if these are disrupted. Indeed, communications and digital information networks drive financial transactions and delivery of critical commodities; electrical and hydrocarbon based energy systems power our communications and information networks as well as our factories, transportation, and nearly every appliance in our households; food production sources are no longer local, and they crucially depend on transportation and refrigeration; water and sewage treatment systems depend on power etc.

Our societies’ emergency response and support infrastructures are therefore being stressed beyond their capability to respond to all needs. Taking the example of the results of an earthquake, from debris in fields blocking search and rescue teams, heavy equipment and relief supplies being cut off from communities, to stranded people, trains and impassable roads, limited electricity from rolling blackouts, radiation clouds and evacuations, gas rationing, empty food shelves, adding to the plight of millions of displaced people, the effects seem to know no bounds.
As show by the tsunami in Japan, the floods in Pakistan, the wildfires in Greece, and hurricane Sandy, when a disaster occurs, the first victims are the populations of the countries affected. Many years of research have been dedicated to the development of new technologies for first responders to act quickly and effectively in case of a crisis, for authorities to know how to prepare contingency strategies, provide the right assistance and avoid cascading effects, and for the population to be alerted as early as possible. However, at the European level there has been limited work in preparing populations to learn how to cope with disasters or to involve them in the crisis management process.

On numerous occasions, population preparedness has been shown to be crucial in the management of disasters in order to reduce the number of victims and limit damage. For instance, following Japan’s earthquake in 2011, it was the culturally engrained resilience of the average Japanese citizen that provided a vast network of local human support infrastructure that enabled them to prevail. The simple act of sharing a bottle of drinking water with a neighbour, sharing heat or shelter and food, instead of hoarding resources and closing out those in need proved to be the essential difference between the mass suffering occasioned by death and illnesses and the boundless will to survive.

If people are prepared, their lives and those of others can be saved, the authorities can be more accurately informed of the type and quantity of help needed, the first responders can respond more quickly due to a positive collaboration with the population, and the direct and cascading effects of a disaster can therefore be better contained.

At the end of October 2012, Hurricane Sandy, subsequently downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, pushing a massive storm surge and sustained winds to up to 75 miles per hour. The storm caused deaths and injuries, flooding, wind damage, and power outages affecting millions of people and resulted in serious community fires, closure of the New York Stock Exchange, flooding of the City Metro, loss of communications and homelessness of 40,000 people. The storm’s scale, which if replicated in Western Europe, would cover most of the significantly urbanised areas, clearly illustrates the devastating impact a natural phenomenon can have on integrated urban populations. POP-ALERT is about learning lessons from such events and helping to better prepare EU citizens.

POP-ALERT is based on the principle that the key to a successful crisis management process is effective communication. When a crisis occurs, the flow of communication between the different actors enables the response to be quick and effective. Although the flow of communication between the authorities and the first-responders are already strong, the communication of both actors with the population is still somewhat unreliable. Information needs to flow between all three actors. In current systems, the authorities and first-responders tend to be made aware of a situation through different monitoring technologies along with certain emergency calls from the population. A key objective of this project was to have a positive and prepared first reaction of the population, who would already facilitate the work of the first-responders prior to their arrival onsite. If the population is prepared and organises into networks in order to promote the correct reactions, help the people in need and accurately inform the authorities and first-responders of the situation, the impact of a disaster can be contained. The authorities decide the amount and type of resources needed and communicate directly with the first-responders while the population affected by the disaster, being in the front row, has the key information to help the authorities make these decisions. Furthermore, if the population is prepared, the right information can be transmitted to the first-responders when they arrive on site and their collaboration can be key to improving the situation. Pandemic planning must be comprehensive and take a holistic view of the social dynamics and impacts that occur at both the community and individual level when engaging in disaster communications. The audience, substance, truthfulness, timing, consistency, frequency and method of delivery are all important factors in successfully achieving an effective and sustained communications initiative.

Central to POP-ALERT’s conceptual approach was the requirement to understand how best to alert and support action under crisis conditions by the individual citizen, in familiar and unfamiliar surroundings using mechanisms that mimic and follow intuitive human behaviour. POP-ALERT’s consequential objectives therefore recognise that not only in most circumstances are the number of personal response options very limited e.g. run or stay, hide or go into the open, but the correct required responses may have to be initiated without any prior knowledge of the surroundings or threats. The objectives therefore required research not just into best practice for known threats but a more fundamental understanding of human reaction and response to perception and behaviour to perceived threats, with an allied understanding of the practical capabilities of stimulating the best options for self-help and creating awareness when attempting to convey critical safety messages.

The objectives of the POP-ALERT project were to:
• Identify and gain insight into population understanding of large scale disaster events, the willingness of citizens to accept risk probabilities and engage in preparedness, and their behavioural responses to diverse risks and emergencies, incorporating both domestic and foreign situations;
• Identify specific target success stories within existing and past community preparedness programmes – both at the local (within Member States) and EU level (cross-border) – and put together a portfolio of case studies;
• Within the portfolio, identify initiatives focussing on social networking and community self-reliance which could potentially be escalated to a European level of crisis, and cross-border disasters;
• Undertake evidence-based research on the most effective existing delivery routes to inform European citizens in a crisis situation;
• Undertake evidence based research to assess the overarching authority strategies of local and national administrations to support the preparedness of citizens;
• Study the best ways to blend contemporary tools with the existing practices identified, to create flexible and easily deployable toolkits for preparing and alerting the European population in the event of a crisis situation, taking into account social and cultural differences;
• Design and deploy experiments by first designing criteria for selection of the area and population to be involved, developing scenarios and objectives, and then running the experiments and analysing the outcomes. Utilise the data from the experiments to define and describe best practice for population alerting in both rural and urban settings.

Project Results:
Work package 1: WP1 carried out desktop based research and developed a number of online surveys to gain insight into societal understanding of large scale disaster events focussing on citizens willingness to accept risk and engage in preparedness, behavioural, cultural, and social responses in risks and emergencies, identifying key triggers, priority issues, expectations, and blocks to engagement and take up of information and services. The research demonstrated a significant level of under-preparedness amongst the 1600+ respondents over 6 linguistic groups, however, much of this may be attributable to a lack of information for which there is significant enthusiasm to receive, particularly through new media and from local authority sources. Regional, cultural and social differences were highlighted so any EU-wide solution would be required to be customisable to local contexts. Although the desktop research indicated the importance of community based action, this was not supported by the online survey, and may reflect changing societal patterns through increasing urbanisation. In addition, WP1 also carried out a communications analysis, particularly considering pictographic representations, in order to identify a canonical set of communication channels and images that would be useable for the vast majority of citizens across the EU. The work undertaken in WP1 has resulted in numerous technical and scientific outcomes related to population alerting and disaster preparedness:

• Community perceptions are relative and affect motivation: minority ethnic communities have been found to be less likely to evacuate since they exhibit higher levels of scepticism about warnings. Moreover, this is supported by the lower perceived levels of risk amongst minority ethnic groups. Reasons why minority communities are more vulnerable include social, economic, culture and language barriers, lower perceived personal risk, distrust of messages, lack of preparation and protective action and reliance on informal sources of information.
• Local conditions affect response: this is supported by the on-line survey results. More specifically, the respondents were asked questions related to how they perceive threats, disasters and risks. The answers given, as the analysis indicated, depended on local conditions e.g. on whether their residence is in an area where a disaster might occur.
• How women act and perceive risk: women are more likely to prepare because they have a higher perception of risk but this depends on the decision making culture of the family and the household member’s roles. Moreover, women tend to have more people in their social networks and those people tend to include a wider range of people. Females are more likely to make phone calls than men. Men often control the use of the television or radio in the household and are more likely than women to “tune out” when receiving messages from authorities.
• The relation of preparedness to self-efficacy: confident people or people with high self-efficacy tend to believe that a threat will not affect them and think positively about a threat. They are also less likely to prepare for disasters. Their belief in their own coping strategies may mitigate their sense of risk to daily routine and property.
• The importance of community: the desktop survey stressed the importance of community, especially in minority ethnic and underprivileged citizens. These citizens also strongly rely on religious groups. There is a significant variation between the desktop and the on-line survey as the latter indicated that participants were willing to rely on emergency services and immediate family, and less willing to rely on their immediate community or voluntary organisations, and very unwilling to consider religious groups.
• The role of authorities: authorities must ensure that their communications with communities are clear and well-formed and set in the appropriate local context. Since the term “authorities” covers a wide range of entities such as governmental and public, scientific and academic agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social media, print and broadcast media etc. it is of paramount importance that there is effective communication between authority groups.
• Information dissemination: it aids decisions by individuals and helps reduce confusion and delays in evacuation. As shown by the online survey, a high proportion of respondents would delay evacuation for various reasons. Since this is related to personal priorities and the perception of risk each individual has, there is a need to target information in order to challenge the perceptions of risk directly.
• The need for local focus by authorities: when communicating with communities, local knowledge plays a key role as well as the understanding of the population: understanding the various communities and their knowledge of hazards, resources, their social networking patterns, where they meet, who is vulnerable and where the special schools are. With respect to minority ethnic communities, social networks are of high importance since the literature indicates a higher usage of social networks among these groups.
• Barriers to communication between public authorities and citizens: The desk review identified and highlighted factors that need to be taken into consideration when designing a message to be communicated to the public. These barriers include: language differences, psychological and physiological status of the recipients, physical as well as procedural and/or policy-related hurdles as well as attitudinal discrepancies.
• The need for standardisation: this was a reoccurring theme in the discussion with the Experts Group and the Stakeholders Forum. This is especially true in the case of pictograms where significant differences are usually observed and custom icons are used in many cases with varying degrees of effectiveness. With that in mind, the use of single pictogram set and a common glossary would be a significant step in the direction of standardising communication between public authorities and citizens.
• Populations heavily rely on first responders and local and national authorities: This has been highlighted by the survey results presented. More specifically, when asked about who they would listen to for emergency advice, who should organise emergency preparedness training in schools, and who should be offering additional services, the emergency services and local authorities were the most popular answers. The aforementioned survey results also highlight the fact that community or voluntary engagement is not favoured by the respondents. This outcome should also be integrated in the project’s future work.
• Message construction and structure: it is of paramount importance to be clear and consistent with messages and engage community groups in message construction, since local knowledge is the most important aspect of a message. If this is not taken into account, communities will notice and this can result in confusion. For example, a message that includes a wrong location due to lack of local knowledge, will unnecessarily affected local businesses and citizens. Furthermore, the desktop research has indicated that a message has to stay personal in delivery, since this is the most effective way of communicating the information
• Cultural aspect of symbols: our desktop research has shown that comprehension of pictorials is based on common design features. This means that safety pictorials can potentially be independent of culture.

Work Package 2: An important foundation of the project was research into existing disasters and the preparation of a lessons learnt and a portfolio of case studies of information gathered from a review of many countries that suggested both good practice and common failure issues that arise in public alerting. Applying these international lessons and practices within Europe, whilst recognising that European heritage, culture, diversity and multilingual aspects affect the baseline, was judged helpful in the project’s overall focus.

WP2 identified for POP-ALERT 26 suitable community preparedness programmes (international and European). The key findings were that successful programmes need to be comprehensive, actively involve local communities and provide people with a range of knowledge and skills to enable them to be prepared. Information given to citizens should be as specific as possible, both before and during a disaster, so that citizens can make good decisions. People need facts and reassurance.

In order to diffuse proper information, trust must exist among community residents and the sender of the message. Information should be transmitted in a visual and acoustic manner and in addition, a simplified language should be envisaged with short and clear directions. Also training, drills and education play an important role in population preparedness. Practicing also enhances risk awareness. Flexible crisis management is also needed; government and emergency services must be able and willing to use preparedness/self-help during incidents.

WP2 also included a case studies portfolio from fifteen different countries. Their purpose was to improve knowledge on what variations existed and what commonality there might be as well as seeking information on alerting different communities to a variety of threats with insights into best practice. Each case within the portfolio was developed by using a unique information collection template specifically designed for the purpose of the project. A summary document was compiled to assist in the collation and summation of case studies that considered both practical examples of working public alert systems or schemes or the methodologies used within those schemes and systems.

Less well documented are self-help schemes where citizens either respond to local threats without support from relevant authorities or how they self-interpret advice or information offered by authorities and sponsoring organisations. This deficiency was however partially anticipated and review of reports of citizen response in actual emergencies has been introduced into this study.
Using the information from the Case Portfolio of fifteen countries a review of specific issues that help underpin the project’s focus was undertaken. This considered in addition to the case studies’ societal and behavioural understandings, together with perception and attitudinal perceptions regarding risk and preparation that had been researched in depth, lead to a clearer view of how individuals think, prepare and react to the challenges presented by crisis.

The concepts and practices explored were sequentially developed into a systematic assessment methodology. This involved construction and then review of a pre-formatted four page template that focused upon the four crucial areas of the citizen; the sender; the messaging system used and the messaging process, which were all scored for effectiveness from 1-5 and then charted.
Each case examined produced strengths and weaknesses but offered some qualified assessment capabilities that might form a suitable universal base for toolkits and a framework. It was also found that the detailed assessment qualifications expressed in other reports from the USA and UK (FEMA and DSTL reports) when combined with the standards used by UNHCR and ISO did have parallels and could offer a solid platform of information for the detailed assessment used at the various emergency management levels.

The last stage in the process involved the creation of a Knowledge Transfer Model (D2.4) that took into account all the previous work package research and considered how ultimately this might then give a suitable platform to construct a frame of reference to lead towards a common European protocol for alerting. This requires a simplistic and acceptable approach that is adaptable within the legal constraints of solidarity and subsidiarity that are fundamental to EU civil protection. With this in mind the basic alerting steps of stop, look and listen, were taken into the heart of the task of building an effective public alerting system that could be used in all Member States. The KT Model was therefore built upon the sustainable foundation that is initiated with sounds, pictograms and short text messages using existing adaptable and available technologies. Alongside the alerting approach energy was devoted to finding the best way of enabling two way communications since often today the process is not bilateral being primarily from the emergency authority to the citizen. This involved considerable research into the current capabilities of communication technologies and social media.

The tools and technologies were also reviewed together with techniques and practices developed to reach the ‘hard to reach’ whether that be as result of physical or mental health, disaffection or social exclusion. Consideration was then given to training and supporting communities before developing the outline of the transfer model itself that focuses upon the assembled factors.
The KT Model recognises and accommodates the essential learning process with the added dimension that in a crisis there is a time constraint. Transferring knowledge pre-event so that it becomes ‘common knowledge’ and is pre absorbed and filtered information was found to improve response creating a shared belief and desirable as the citizen is asked to suspend their usual learning process a crisis. This pre-event activity also helps build trust between the senders and citizens emphasising the planning education and training in the preparedness phase is valuable in safety and survival advice.

Research showed that the transfer of knowledge is not simply the result of external influences. It is profoundly impacted by the lessons of life, where; everyday events influence the exercising of judgements and trust and this complexity in reaching a decision is ‘balanced’ on probabilities and risk. The messaging process involved in the transfer of knowledge therefore has to cross many boundaries that could have been in place for years, gaining trust and helping the citizen rationalise decisions rather than simply following others, lack of orientation as occurs with visitor and transient groups or isolation due to cultural or physical reasons was seen as adding to this complexity of personal decision making. Meeting these challenges is especially difficult for local emergency authorities even though social media can help with geographic information or translation and support messaging. The design of the project’s tools was therefore influenced by underpinning the desired outcomes of this research.

WP2 has offered the insights and background necessary to move forward. The citizen is thus seen as being central to external and internal (their own) influences. External matters such as the nature of the source, alert type and medium used to convey the ‘stop, look, listen’ warning. The cross over boundary influences of training and education offered by emergency authorities as the attempt to convey messages and advice hopefully effectively and in a two way communication process. And the internal impact of what has already been learnt (in life), whether the source of the warning is trusted, what the persons’ own sense are actually telling them and ultimately how their own beliefs as an individual translate the warning. Clearly this was found to suggest a complex position for any individual involved in a crisis and thereby increasing the importance of trying to bring together the components involved in what superficially appears to be a simple task and these outcomes underpin the possible delivery of integrated tools to support WP3.

Work package 3: This work package was the transitional development stage that, utilising the understanding about the willingness of citizens to learn and lessons from past actual events, sought to create a framework that might be universally capable for adoption that incorporated the key findings of building an appetite to consider risk as well as offering an immediate way for the citizen to be alerted and informed should a crisis strike. The bearers used to carry alerts and information is growing, for example use of social media was just one of the areas researched, and finding solutions that allow the transfer of information across all existing communications systems, many of which are not used, owned or supervised by emergency authorities, resulted in adoption of some basic operating principles for the framework capabilities.

These essential elements used in constructing the framework included in this process were:

• Avoidance of ambiguity in the transfer of any information – this became known as the “trusted source” later in the project;
• Recognition of a “threat requiring urgent attention” as opposed to the general ones routinely faced – thus ensuring action would be taken despite perhaps daily accepting there was a risk when living in an area prone to earthquakes;
• General raising the preparation profile of citizens – already referred to as “creating an appetite” this task required acknowledgement that people are all different learning in various ways and for different reasons and at different times
• Building a “knowledge bank” for the responsible authorities such that they too could learn, share and were assisted in their task – this became the “authority dashboard” with tools and information enabling authorities to construct campaigns, offer good advice, etc. acre
• Ensuring the design of the framework concept would be adaptable to multiple technologies – the research had proven that “all communication systems” had to be used from conventional broadcast to social media if messages and information were to reach the citizens as intended without distortion.
• Creating comprehensive contents for hosting within the framework – the information held in the various depositories had to be accurate, relevant and easily located;
• Developing a universal approach that would work with legacy systems as outlined in the case studies – this meant having an alert sound, pictogram and message that was matched to a specific crisis situation.

Having these requirements in mind the consortium embarked upon the building of a framework that could subsequently be transitioned into a working platform capable of demonstration within the two identified population groups living in urban and rural environments.

The first version for the content of “Framework” was divided into two sections: One that offered support aimed at providing tools for the general population to prepare for various disasters and crisis, receive alerts, understanding their local alerting system, receiving notifications from social media, etc. and the second that provided tools for the public emergency authorities to help them work better with the public. The framework with the developed toolkits were ultimately referred to as ‘dashboards’ as the vision was to make the all the information and toolkits web based platform sites so that access would be easily enabled for the users.

Both dashboard based toolkits included tips or guides, for example, on how to create an informative website, how to use social media for alerting and preparedness, how to plan an awareness rising campaign, how to offer training for the general population, etc. The agreement of this approach followed discussions within the consortium and advice drawn from two expert stakeholder workshops.

As outlined the tools provided had the two clear objectives of improving the level of preparedness of EU citizens and crisis communication between authorities and the citizens. The tools were a combination between methodologies, guidelines, maps, visual tools, trainings, etc. gathered from existing tools when possible to avoid duplication of effort and then integrating and adapting them for use in the toolkits. Areas where there were gaps like taking cultural issues into account or creating an informative crisis communication interface on a public authority website were researched and then specially written for the dashboards.

A significant part of the work also included a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) that was used in the final version of the dashboard to design the input criteria and material that was to be used on the public dashboard and also a technical design guide on the construction of a public website. The preliminary toolkit design also heavily leaned and developed the overall approach from the earlier research that had sought to understand how knowledge was transferred between groups, in this case the citizen and authority and vice versa and the normative qualities required to ensure this was a successful transaction.

The TNA ultimately adopted an “age bounded” criteria to identify how different groups tended to learn and assess their priorities together with a likely frequency of exposure to the selected information. The age groups were not seen as fixed rather that they allowed selectivity by the users to a preferred way of accessing information that suited their own abilities and interest. The tools developed post the TNA reflected various learning approaches that again could be delivered in multiple ways, primarily self-learning but not excluding conventional teaching with lectures at school for example, that were engaging. Team games, flash cards, videos and checklists were all used in this task.

Another significant feature of the project was the research conducted to seek methodologies and approaches to reach diverse communities. This was important because if the project outcomes were to be effective it was essential to have a universal way of reaching through language, culture and ethnicity. Defining matters like these is not as straightforward as shown in one issue culture, where the way a community thinks, behaves and displays messages and information can be extremely diverse and is defined as any form of human expression. The use of international pictograms and SMS texting standards were therefore used in this task in order to offer compatibility and acceptance.
Adapting the toolkit to meet these challenges required the development of a checklist and initiated the search for tools that would enable messages to be conveyed in clarity and without misrepresentation of objection into different communities. This was ultimately the reason pictograms were chosen as the supportive feature in all important knowledge transfer transactions.

As the framework developed it was decided that the combination of information and the systems designed to support the understanding and the developed approach, such as the sound, pictograms and messages would best be delivered using a web based platform that contained all the developed content and in turn could be delivered both conventionally on television and radio and alternatively by social media, using a smart mobile device. The project did not enable the actual delivery of a “smart phone app” but the content and design would support an application at a later date.

The final phases of this development work involved:
• Preparation of content and the development of two dashboards that were to be hosted on a dedicated web browser, one dedicated to the public and the other for the emergency authorities, given that the tools, advice and tips required by one group were distinctly different to each other.
• Preparation of an assessment methodology that considered the particular design and nature of the project and had an evaluation that centred upon end-user input. Research confirmed the most appropriate tools in this type of evaluation are a Questionnaire survey combined with a multi-criteria analysis and case studies (scenario presentation).
The preparation of content was a major undertaking with audio, videos, power point, textural presentations all being used. This required building: a common ALERT protocol with an Alert signal, pictograms, standard messages, language conversion; creating ALERT social media tools to build an E Learning platform, offer situation awareness, two way public communication, work with mobile Applications, archive Lessons Learnt,; and capture performance in reference to accuracy, message penetration, social awareness and engagement.
Content for the Information for the Public included: multi-media presentations (one general, a few hazard specific ones), Tips & checklists, Authority website link (list of suitable links to go to, playing the website chosen into the tab), Maps for orientation, Training (template for each age group, e-training), Warnings and messages (sound, messages, pictograms, description of each national alerting system) and a Social Media section (live feeds, manual on how to use Social Media)
For the Public Authorities tools included: A raising awareness campaign manual, checklists to help ensure respect and the integration of culture and religion, tips on how to build an efficient website for authorities, tips and checklists for scenarios (templates and guidelines on how to develop a crisis communication plan), an applications section (websites, apps, tools that can help operationally) – including specific incident details (demographics, statistics), Maps (simulator) and orientation of key assets, the training tab (trainer based training, who should provide the training, sample curriculum, evaluation system, educational training for schools), Warnings (alerting system questionnaire, pictogram description, colour description, description of each alerting system), Messages (how to construct a message, accessibility & adaptability of messages), Social media manual on how to use social media, and a Lessons Learnt section (Practices & case studies)
In terms of the evaluation it was identified that consultation techniques would be significant in the evaluation since user feedback would, it was decided, be through the use of a questionnaire based on the PANDORA+ platform previously developed within another FP7 project by Greenwich University. Techniques used to assist in end-user feedback generally are; interviews face to face; focus groups with a moderator allowing a soft qualitative approach; the Delphi technique based on an indirect interaction and structured communication between experts; the nominal group technique like Delphi and Brainstorming.
As might be expected each technique has different limitations and drawbacks. However far more common problems regardless of technique are missing or subjective classification of data, poor information, biased response, ambiguity, etc., and therefore, the most indicative combination of consultation techniques used for the POP-ALERT comprised semi-structured responses for citizen participants along with the implementation of an external Experts focus group. The delivered framework therefore encompassed all the outcomes of work packages 1 and 2 and set them within the context of the cultural and TNA requirements.

Work package 4: The design of a pilot project involved selection criteria of the area and population that would be involved. The population selection criteria had been determined as requiring the capacity to show successful delivery of the alert and information programs to a diverse group of residents and transient persons people who whilst representative of European Member States in age and sociodemographic considerations would also include persons from outside Europe.

The cultural makeup of the pilot group was important also if the project was to demonstrate that messages could reach citizens who had ethnic and language backgrounds that were not prevalent in the chosen locations. The locations themselves it had also been agreed would be representative of both urban and rural environments to enable comparison to be made between what research had identified as different levels of resilience, the rural communities being the more resilient in the context of some crisis factors such as loss of communication, utilities and isolation.

In the selection the groups actually chosen for the demonstration were Lisbon and Corsica, and then developing scenarios, again those chosen were an earthquake and wildfire, with clear objectives and then providing a generic methodology to assess the effectiveness in raising an improving the level of preparedness of the community. The Lisbon location identified was the down town area that held both a Chinese community and was a business centre thus attracting visitors and having distinct cultural variations to the resident Portuguese population. In Corsica the location was a small village known as Aleria that had an influx of summer tourists to augment the resident French population with many tourists being from northern Europe.

The logistics involved in establishing the demonstrations were substantial in Lisbon as the project demonstration required technological support as well as administration of the three groups ultimately used. In Corsica these logistics were reduced essentially to a student population with technological support based in the surroundings of a university greatly aiding the process, itself essential since this demonstration was managed on the ground by only one partner with remote support. The Lisbon exercise was therefore a major undertaking with 101 persons present including a group of experts while in Corsica a smaller group of 33 students participated.

Prior to the demonstration two scenarios were developed and evaluated for realism by participants in Corsica and Lisbon. Detailed and comprehensive action lists and timelines were evolved that matched earthquake and wildfire situations. The tools used in this process were researched and represented the best available having considerable detail based upon real time events and could have been used to enable actual interactions between the emergency services actually involved in the demonstration and the participants. In the event time constraints and the availability of participants precluded this approach but these tools still remain available.

Using this detail the scenarios were then developed by creating exercise events in messages, such as those that might be delivered between agencies or from the public to agencies, and scripts that could be used to set the pace and scene of the exercise. These “inject events” were carefully choreographed to ensure they created realistic television media type interviews and reporting. Likewise the messages and pictograms were selected to match the pace and tension required in the delivery so that the scenarios despite being condensed in their time frame of delivery felt realistic and challenging.

All this material was in turn translated into multilingual scripts and messages that could and eventually were used in video inputs and messages that appeared on the Pandora+ tool. English, French and Portuguese were required for the demonstrations both as injects and for the dashboard content and this was delivered.

Additionally each demonstration package for Corsica and Lisbon had a backup dossier produced that included all elements of the demonstration except the dashboards so that in the unlikely situation that web access might not exist making the Pandora+ tool therefore unavailable, the demonstration could still be delivered. This ‘back up’ arrangement consisted of an overview of the project, a public awareness training program, a public briefing on what action to take if caught in either an earthquake or wildfire situation, preparation for evacuation, the exercise itself including the alerting sound and a final questionnaire.

The development of the two dashboards involved considerable work to enable a realistic demonstration of the concept. For example as outlined in Work Package 3 content on the public dashboard involved a range of tip sheets and information leaflets were produced that covered public safety advice in earthquakes, wildfires, chemical incidents, bioterrorism, natural weather events, radiation, and pandemics. Each content sheet was in effect original having been researched and then drafted to ensure it contained current good practice.

The authority dashboard was constructed around three areas of planning, responding and learning. Subsequently this approach was shown in the demonstration to be especially helpful to emergency authority experts. Guidance was produced on matters such mounting a public awareness campaign and the preparation of a communication plan for use in emergencies. Advice on effective message construction and how to reach cultural groups was therefore included on this site. The learning section collated lessons learnt from researched events in the past with information on the positives and negatives to aid planners and responders meet future challenges, all within the concept of being easily expandable to grow to meet future needs.

The construction of the dashboards and their content was undertaken in English and an additional task for each dashboard was therefore to translate critical information into either French or Portuguese to support the demonstrations. The whole dashboard was not translated because of time and resources costs but the foundations clearly exist to extend these three base languages for future use. The demonstrations also required that the entire scripts, timelines and messages developed for the exercise scenarios were translated and this included video and other inputs used during the Pandora training process.

Prior to the demonstrations an assessment methodology was prepared that was both designed to meet the task of evaluating responses to the demonstration and to enable an independent assessment to be made of similar public information tools in the future. The tool allows the user to consider the effectiveness in raising an improved level of preparedness of the community and had measurable assurance levels with mean averages that could be applied as key performance indicators. The series of questions and average means were constructed to enable the evaluation of alerting systems and public information campaigns.

For the pilot the techniques selected and chosen reflected both that the demonstration would take place before the finalisation of the project and that the pilot was to be conducted and demonstrated, by informed consortium partners, to participants who were unaware of this type of evaluation in practice, or conversely, were informed and expert in assessment of public alerting and information techniques. Both formative and summative techniques were used to facilitate the consortium partners’ evaluation.

The demonstration occupied one full morning in Lisbon and continued over part of two days in Corsica. The Lisbon participants were divided into three groups; control, sample and expert whilst in Corsica there were two groups – sample and control. The Lisbon control group exercised without the benefit of self-learning whereas the sample had self-learning prior to the exercise scenario. An early evaluation of results did show that the self-learning was beneficial and that both control and sample participants recognized and valued the concepts promoted by having an alert signal, pictogram and standard messages, the stop-look-listen delivery identified in the earlier research.

There was also an interesting variation observed between the outcomes from the ‘younger’ Corsican sample and the Lisbon wider and generally ‘older’ participants with the younger group being apparently more self-assured reflecting perhaps their resilience as a community raised to face the risks associated with occupying a rural area that had regular wildfires.

In the scenario exercise again in the Lisbon demonstration 37 experts gathered and all were introduced to the two dashboards and the Pandora+ exercise tools. After introductions each was able using their own, or a provided computer, to access the three sites and spend time undertaking their own trial and evaluation. Simultaneously each expert was introduced to a questionnaire that was used in a final discussion to aid a structured discussion of their views. Although not required at the close of the evaluation, 20 experts submitted their questionnaires to assist in further analysis.

In the expert group were first responders, authorities and advisers. The Experts were introduced to the public then authority dashboards and the Pandora training tool in a similar way to that used to demonstrate the these items to the Control and Sample groups and this was then followed by self-learning and structured discussions over a total period of 3 hours. Key elements of the demonstration were highlighted in structured discussion and analysis of submitted questionnaires about the two dashboards indicated a relatively high levels of satisfaction in these areas with scoring towards good (>3.5 out of 5). Areas to identify omissions and failures were shown as low (1.75) and there were solid indications that the possibility of implementation at a European or Member State level was supported.

As anticipated comments by experts did show that the omissions were related more to the scope of the dashboard’s contents, which was itself a product of the limitations of the resources available. For example more ‘tip sheets’ were wanted in many other areas and the absence of a live demonstration mobile telephone application was noted. The experts did accept these limitations and issued a ‘wish list’ of additional content and said the ability to communicate through social media was essential.

The experts supported the conceptual approach behind the two dashboards, one public and the other for emergency authorities and particularly the use of pictograms and the unique sound of the alerting signal. They also commented favorably on the public training materials that supported interaction on the public site and that the authority site would be used to convey only verified information to the public thus countering the widespread use of social media. Overall they were however very supportive and encouraged greater discussion with EU officials to move the project towards implementation.

Work package 5:
The main objectives of WP5 and their resulting scientific outputs are outlined below:
1. Enhance dialogue and coordination between key stakeholders (end-users, first responders, civil society organisations, public authorities at EU and national level) on what needs to be done to increase population preparedness in Europe.

To achieve this, the project took a multi-stakeholder perspective and put a lot of emphasis in its stakeholder consultation process. More specifically, POP-ALERT, during its events and interactions undertook the three following actions to achieve this goal:
▪ Organising discussion sessions during Stakeholder Forums: the second part of both stakeholder forums was organised in discussion groups. The stakeholders were invited to voluntarily join discussion tables, each with a different subject and colour coded. Each table had a moderator and a note taker. The topics discussed on each table were described to the participants prior to the event in order for them to prepare some ideas to exchange with other stakeholders. These discussions attracted high interest within the crisis management community and enabled a large number of stakeholders to exchange practices and create new synergies.
▪ Inviting different stakeholders to present their results and work during the different Pop-ALERT events: during the different POP-ALERT events, representatives of different initiatives were invited to present their work and results. These initiatives ranged from a social media filtering tool developed by a start up in the Netherlands, to a mobile app developed by a Swiss company to alert populations fast and at a pre-defined range, to solidary community groups formed by a Belgian NGO to help victims of disaster cope with aftermath consequences.
In detail:
POP-ALERT Expert Group Meetings (25th November 2014 and 14th April 2015)
The Expert Group Meetings took place the day before the annual Stakeholder Forum Workshop and gathered European and non-European experts in crisis communication and the use of new and traditional media for preparedness and awareness raising activities. During these meeting, a smaller group of experts discussed specific issues related to the findings of the Pop-ALERT project and provided detailed feedback on key issues.
The discussions covered different aspects of the need for improvement of population preparedness in Europe:
• Meeting 1 (November 2014): the understanding of society’s perception of disasters was discussed, as well as the assessment of population’s preparedness levels and the analysis of the transfer of information from Authorities to Citizens.
• Meeting 2 (April 2015): the best ways of communicating with the population in case of a crisis or disaster were discussed, as well as the successful ways of formulating a message and how to spread the message to different communities to ensure a wide reach. This interactive event invited participants to share their experiences and identify opportunities presented by the different communication channels and tools available. An exercise was also organise to receive feedback from the participants.

POP-ALERT Stakeholder Workshops (26th November 2014 and 15th April 2015)
The POP-ALERT Consortium considered stakeholder consultation essential to assure the success of its research. For this reason, the project partners organised a series of technical workshops with selected stakeholders from the civil society (including municipalities and crisis related NGOs), first-responders (fire-fighters, emergency medical services, police agencies, etc.), EU Institutions (including DG ECHO, DG ENTR, EEAS, EEA, etc.). The Stakeholder Forum met twice during the duration of the project and aimed to promote dialogue and discussions between the main actors of the crisis management community. Furthermore, the partners presented the results of their activities during these workshops and received feedback which was then used to guide their future activities.
The Forum was also an opportunity to emphasise the need for coordination and collaboration between key European crisis management stakeholders. The workshops therefore promoted the exchange of lessons learnt and best practices and aimed to create a sustainable network of key actors whose collaboration can be maintained beyond the project.
The discussions covered different aspects of the need for improvement of population preparedness in Europe:
• Workshop 1 (November 2014): the first results of the project were presented and stakeholders were invited to share ideas and information on the populations’ behaviour in the context of a crisis, the ways in which different populations are organised in communities, the best ways to reach and raise awareness within these communities, discussing priority issues for the European citizens, etc.
• Workshop 2 (April 2015): the results of the context investigation and consolidation of opportunities and best practices were presented and stakeholders were invited to share best practices in terms of community preparedness programmes, resilience trainings, analyse the opportunities for authorities to be involved in the process of population preparedness, etc.
POP-ALERT Final Conference (15th – 16th March 2016)
On 15th and 16th March 2016, over 80 researchers and practitioners from across Europe and beyond were brought together for the final conference of the POP-ALERT and TACTIC projects. The conference provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about increasing preparedness to various types of risk, engage in lively discussions, and to network with other key stakeholders interested in preparedness.
TACTIC and POP-ALERT, sister projects both funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, focus on tools for increasing community preparedness for large-scale and cross-border disasters. The first day of the conference began with welcoming speeches from Philippe Quevauviller and Quillaume Lapeyre from the Research Executive Agency, European Commission, who provided insight into the common themes addressed by both projects and highlighted the motivations for funding research involving communities. For instance, both TACTIC and POP-ALERT focus on:
• The relationship between risk perception and preparedness; how do the public perceive different types of risk and what do these perceptions mean for preparedness?
• The importance of an effective risk communication strategy
• The use of technologies to prepare both organisations and the general public for large-scale and cross-border disasters; this includes the POP-ALERT Dashboard and the TACTIC Online Self-Assessment Platform (TOSAP)
• Participatory approaches involving the involvement of stakeholders in the development of preparedness tools through the use of pilots (POP-ALERT) and case study workshops (TACTIC)
• The collection of good practices in community preparedness

▪ Creating link with other projects: the project put a lot of emphasis in creating links and synergies with other existing and closed projects. This enabled the scientific community to learn from what has already been achieved and work on pre-identified gaps while avoiding duplication of work.

Specifically:
- EMERGENT
- ATHENA
- CRISYS
- PANDORA
- PEP
- Alert4All
- PRACTICE
- OPTI-ALERT
- CHORIST
- COSMIC
- TACTIC
- Slandail
- iSar+
- SUPER
- BESECU

2. Disseminate the key messages and outcomes of the project at local, national and European level by establishing active relationships with key experts of civil protection a crisis management organisation and encourage them to provide feedback and advice when needed.

POP-ALERT aimed at guaranteeing proper dissemination of its activities and results to the broadest European audience possible, including the general public and the media where appropriate.
To achieve this dissemination objective, the following tools, directed towards all target groups were used:
▪ Public Project Website
▪ Videos
▪ Press Releases & Newsletters
▪ Other Communication Materials and Achievement (including brochures, a roll-up, some printed material, a general presentation, a number of published articles, etc.)
▪ Events
▪ Collaboration with other FP7 Projects

In addition to the following:
▪ SECURITY EUROPE (SECEUR) wrote an article about POP-ALERT after attending one of the events (see Annex IX)
▪ An article was published in ALERT SWISS: https://alertswiss.ch/rubriken/verschiedenes/pop-alert-neue-instrumente-fuer-eine-grenzuebergreifende-krisenkommunikation/
▪ TIEMS talked about POP-ALERT in one of its newsletters (see Annex X)
▪ An article was published in the Crisis Response Journal (see Annex V)
▪ An article was published in the Préventique magazine (see Annex VI)
▪ A number of articles were published in the Corsican Press (see Annexes IV, VII and VIII)

3. Closely engage with the European Parliament and the European Commission and create awareness on the importance of alerting and training population to cope with the crisis and disaster situation as well as the development and deployment of appropriate tools and measures.

Several contacts were made with different directorate generals of the European Commission, as well as the European Council and the European Parliament. The project’s key results were disseminated to relevant stakeholder within these institutions and the specific recommendations for EU policy makers (D5.10) will be widely distributed to a pre-defined mailing list.

Close contacts were made specifically with DG ECHO and DG HOME to discuss the results of the project and more specifically of the Pilot Projects. Further meetings are organised with DG ECHO to demonstrate the use and ability of the POP-ALERT DASHBOARD. A number of interested entities have started discussion with POP-ALERT consortium partners to get together and plan a proposal for DG ECHO to implement a pilot project in a number of European cities to test the use of the POP-ALERT DASHBOARD in reality. Cities which have already expressed interest in this idea include: Sofia (Bulgaria), Lisbon (Portugal), Brussels (Belgium), Athens (Greece), Berlin (Germany) and several cities in the Netherlands. The first official meeting will be held in The Netherlands end of June 2016.

Finally two scientific publications have been produced to-date and many more are in the pipeline based on the results from the two pilots. These are:
1. Liz Bacon, Avgoustinos Filippoupolitis, Lachlan MacKinnon, David Kananda. “Design of an Immersive Online Crisis Preparation Learning Environment”. Proceedings of the ISCRAM 2016 Conference – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2016. Tapia, Antunes, Bañuls, Moore and Porto,eds. http://idl.iscram.org/files/lizbacon/2016/1407_LizBacon_etal2016.pdf ISSN 2411-3387
2. Avgoustinos Filippoupolitis, Lachlan MacKinnon, Liz Bacon. “A Survey on Emergency Preparedness of EU citizens”. Proceedings of the ISCRAM 2015 Conference - Kristiansand, May 24-27, 2015. ISSN: 2411-3387.

Potential Impact:
Assessing EU community preparedness through an Emergency Communication Framework

Based on the analysis of the 12 month survey data, a framework for communicating an emergency related message to the population was compiled. This was achieved by classifying the issues related to emergency preparedness and risk awareness that were identified from the aforementioned surveys. The goal of this suggested structure is to provide an adaptable and reusable framework for assessing and understanding EU community preparedness.

The first part of our framework defines a high-level template geared towards communicating emergency related messages to the population. We have identified the key factors that play a significant role in population preparedness and risk awareness, based on both the on-line survey and the desktop research. Based on that, we constructed an Emergency Communication Template. The template aims to facilitate the design, compilation and communication of emergency messages and information to the population by providing the author with an overview of the key factors he should take into account before structuring a message.

By observing the structure of the template, we should note that our emergency communication framework aims to be applicable during all phases of a disaster; namely the preparedness phase (i.e. before the disaster), the crisis phase (i.e. during the disaster) and the recovery phase (i.e. after the disaster). The current structure of the template addresses the first two phases. We should note, however, that although the factors identified as belonging to the crisis phase could also be used in the preparedness phase to improve the efficiency of message circulation to populations.

Finally, we should note that the template is modular by design and can be extended in order to also cover the recovery phase. This is a promising area of future research and we aim to address it by the time the project reaches its final stages.

Progressing European Public Warning and Alerting

The outcomes of the Pop-Alert Project and the review by experts has shown that there is support for a more understood European wide alerting system that is recognisable by all citizens and has a capability to overcome language and cultural diversity in a sympathetic and sensitive way. Although the project commencement and rationale itself predates the savage attacks in Paris and Brussels the outcomes remain highly relevant and appropriate.

Part of the project’s demonstration was a review by civil protection experts from fire and rescue, police, health and consultancies. The experts’ assessed the project across a number of issues and indicated that, accepting these are generalities taken in the limited time period of a constrained research demonstration, the approach was sound with little room for improvement and weaknesses really confined to the limited scale of matters that had been included and the lack of a smartphone demonstration.

Again, accepting these weaknesses were primarily the result of limitations arising from finite resource capacity to demonstrate, the substance of the experts’ assessment was that this was innovation that should move towards implementation if the conditions, defined and organised in a business strategy and plan, could be coordinated.

In particular there appeared to be support for a European requirement to have a geographically specific alert system that could operate across most media outlets, conventional radio and television and contemporary smartphones and the Internet, within a geofenced area. This was seen as especially important in meeting critical safety alerting situations. In addition the ability to convey the alert and warnings using a distinctive sound linked to an unambiguous symbols that had identifiable easily understood meanings and safe actions was judged to be equally crucial. There was therefore support for this EU funded research offering a foundation fully worthy of exploitation.

Exactly how this might happen was also discussed with the experts present and it was apparent that their view tended towards an “EU sponsored approach”. This somewhat ill-defined term essentially recognised that movement on any matter like an EU alert was problematical at many operational levels both within and between Member States. Practicalities were involved like accounting for and accepting the subsidiarity principle for civil protection and security issues with a consequent lack of competence to direct implementation by the European Commission. There were also practical issues related to existing legacy in terms of investments already made in alerting systems and public training of appropriate action on hearing an alert.

There is in this context the precedent of the European Emergency Number 112, which was viewed as a useful precursor to any further discussion. With 112 the overwhelming desire was to protect and assist EU citizens by using a common telephone number that mobile and static landline telephone network operators would connect with emergency services. That process has now been extended most recently to include vehicle mounted emergency signals.

It is again worth acknowledging that with 112 operators have been assisted in meeting these EU wide requirements by using adaptive automatic transfer technological solutions. There is also a parallel existing situation in some threat scenarios, for example, many smartphone applications exist already that can and sometimes are used to meet specific threats like avalanche and flooding.

The barriers to implementation therefore appear to be more about coordination, harmonisation and specification. Utilising the project’s outcomes to help manage this is important as the alerts to be of value have to be in real time, accurate, authorised and secure. Likewise resolving the privacy of the individual and the capture of data are essential ethical elements in any EU wide system and again the lessons drawn from the 112 process of implementation would be extremely useful.

Taking the process forward requires therefore perhaps a staged activity of centralised policy discussions, possibly followed or including a review of the existing legal foundations for possible actions, then a focused discussion with network operators, public safety contact organisations and Member States. Dependent upon these discussions and review the opportunities could thereafter be described and detailed within an implementation plan or process.

The starting point for any discussion it is suggested is within the Commission at the Directorates for Migration and Home (HOME), Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), Research and Innovation (RTD), and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) who are better able to advise on how the elements or whole of a European Public Alerting system might fit within current policy frameworks.

Evolution of the Dashboard

▪ The General Public Dashboard:

As explained in the deliverables, the current version of the Dashboard is for testing purposes and has a number of functionalities that need to be further developed in order to make it fully functional. The concept of a European Preparedness and Alerting Dashboard integrates the three platforms presented in D3.3 and includes information about every country in Europe and all European languages.

The Public “static” platform can integrate more training tools, tests and games but should not be overloaded with information. It is important to keep the platform user-friendly and with clear information. The idea is that this platform could be used by any EU citizens and should have information that covers all community groups.

The Public “emergency” platform would only get activated once someone locates him/herself and would change colour depending on the level of risk (Green = normal risk, Yellow = increased risk, Orange = substantial risk, Red = severe risk). The information on the Dashboard then adapts automatically to the context of the emergency:
▪ What to do: a section appears with quick instructions on how to react in that particular emergency with a list of tips and an associated downloadable leaflet.
▪ Map: an interactive map with key information for citizens concerning the emergency will give them the option to filter the information they want to see and create emergency evacuation routes.
▪ Authorities: the contact details of the most important authorities will appear on the home page and, if used on a mobile phone, citizens will be able to call them by clicking on the appropriate one. A more extensive list of all relevant authorities will be provided one the authorities page with the option to go through each key authority’s website directly through the Dashboard without opening a new page.
▪ Social Media: citizens will be given the choice to follow a certain number of official authorities’ social media accounts in order to get live information and posts.
▪ Alert messages: the authorities will be able to send alerts directly to the citizens through the platform. These messages will be short and general but there will be an option to get more personalised alerts by answering a number of questions.
▪ Tips and training: the Public “emergency” platform will still give access to all the tips and training in case of need.
▪ My applications: citizens will be given the opportunity to download a number of emergency applications that would be available directly through the Dashboard.

▪ The Public Authorities Dashboard:

Besides the manuals, guidelines and tools for preparedness, response and lessons learnt, the Public Authorities Dashboard will be the back office of the Public “emergency” platform.

Indeed, it will be the responsibility of the Member State to decide which authority is responsible for communicating with the public in a specific crisis and give them access to the Dashboard so that they can feed the map and the alert messages. A social media filtering tool will also be included in order for the responsible authority to filter information posted by citizens on social media and be able to react accordingly.

Finally, both platforms will be generally more vibrant with more visuals, less information and more filters, search options, and key words.

▪ Exploitation of the Dashboard:

What is proposed by POP-ALERT (and confirmed by the Experts during the Pilot Project in Lisbon) is for this Platform to be taken on by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Directorate (DG ECHO). DG ECHO, through its Emergency Response Coordination Centre will keep the static Dashboard up to date and give access to EU Member States for use during an emergency.

The POP-ALERT Consortium partners are planning to submit a proposal to DG ECHO in collaboration with a number of existing national platforms that have already been approached (e.g. the Dutch environmental Dashboard, Krisinformation in Sweden and Resilience Direct in the UK) and a number of cities who would be interested in testing such platform as part of their operations (e.g. Berlin, Lisbon, Athens and Sofia). This proposal will be to develop the Dashboard to its full potential and then test it in different cities in order to aim to have it fully implemented by 2020.

If the recommendations from D5.9 and D5.10 are taken in by national/local authorities and EU institutions, the Dashboard would have a high potential for success and would strongly improve EU citizens’ reactions before, during and after disasters. It would limit the human and material losses as people would know where to find information on how to manage different events in a fast and efficient way. It would also improve the relationship and trust between authorities and citizens as a more constant communication would be established.

List of Websites:
http://www.pop-alert.eu/
Project Contact Details: Prof Liz Bacon e.bacon@gre.ac.uk

Related information

Reported by

UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH
United Kingdom

Subjects

Safety
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