First on the scene
Through the Seventh Framework Programme, the EU is working fervently under its Security Theme to develop the technologies that enhance security of citizens. This covers terrorist threats, organised crime, natural disasters and industrial accidents, while respecting fundamental human rights such as privacy. The EU involves end users in the process, thereby ensuring user satisfaction as well as market impact and exploitation. The EU's security vision, after all, is to promote cooperation between end users, researchers and technology providers, creating strong networks and developing efficient security solutions by involving all parties. The EU-funded 'Identifying the needs of medical first responder in disasters' (NMFRD) project brought medical first responders together with research institutes to promote networks and research in critical areas. These include training methodology and technology for medical first responders, human impact of disaster on first responders, and ethical/legal issues influencing medical response to disasters. The project also proposed research for exploring personal protective equipment employed in chemical and biological incidents, as well as blood and blood products used in disasters. The networks and emerging solutions were supported by preliminary research on existing know-how, in parallel with workshops that outlined the needs of the first responders. Their needs were then matched with existing knowledge and products, followed by the elaboration of research and the development of roadmaps to pursue NMFRD's objectives. These roadmaps will guide and enhance European, national and private research programmes on this important aspect of safety and security. They will explore how to achieve effective cooperation between users and suppliers so as to deliver security and encourage security innovation. The roadmaps will also help strengthen technology supply chains, starting from primary research to development and on to procurement. They will surely contribute to the definition of new standards in the field. All these initiatives are being facilitated through secure information and communications technology platforms and networks to exchange relevant data. Once these networks are fully established and their objectives met, the needs of medical first responders will be fully identified and emergency response will be upgraded across the EU.