A crisis event involving major damage and injury to people and property can create a temporary imbalance between the emergency care required and the resources available. Modern crises are progressively changing from 'predictable' emergencies to unpredictable events for which the authorities and emergency services require new, innovative and affordable solutions. Using simulation technologies can improve on current practices as they enable decision makers to evaluate different alternatives with continuously evolving scenarios. The 'Simulation of crisis management activities' (SICMA) project, funded by the EU, set out to demonstrate 'if' and 'how' an integrated suite of modelling and analysis tools could improve the effectiveness of the decision-making process. Although the SICMA project focused on developing computer-assisted tools for crisis managers in the health service, the results can be applied and adapted to other emergency services organisations. The software suite can improve decision-making capabilities and provide insights into the collective behaviour of the entire organisation in response to crisis scenarios. A 'proof-of-concept' experiment was used to test and validate the new software programme. The simulation was based on a relevant international scenario that required cross-national cooperation and the coordination of emergency services. The SICMA project has demonstrated that simulation software can facilitate better emergency responses and greater consensus in a crisis. Exploitation of the project results will require commercialisation of the new software for crisis management to enable medical disaster and other crisis managers to benefit from its advantages.