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Improved international cooperation addressing first responder capability gaps

International cooperation is key to respond to different kind of natural and man-made disasters, as well as intentional security threats. Besides operational cooperation, there is a need to find a common understanding on what innovation is needed to able to respond to different challenges. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 list the need ‘to strengthen technical and logistical capacities to ensure better response to emergencies’[[https://www.preventionweb.net/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordrren.pdf]]as one priority for national and local levels. Such capacities depend to a large extent on the effectiveness and the specific capabilities of organisations responsible for first response to incidents.

In order to perform their dangerous tasks, First Responders require the best possible equipment that is tailor-made for extreme scenarios. As such, tools and gear need to be highly specialised and adapted to the different specific first responder needs. The market for such equipment is however fragmented, limiting the availability and affordability.

International cooperation to define common requirements has helped to create a clearer picture on what gaps remain and cannot be satisfied by existing solutions, thus requiring targeted research. Global capability gaps have been identified by international expert groups such as the UNDRR Scientific and Technical Advisory Group and the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI), involving scientific experts, firefighters, medical responders and police officers from several EU and non-EU countries.

Proposals under this topic are invited to address one or several of the following capability gaps that were identified by national first responders within IFAFRI:

  • The ability to know the location of responders and their proximity to risks and hazard in real time
  • The ability to detect, monitor, and analyse passive and active threats and hazards at incident scenes in real time
  • The ability to monitor the physiological signs of emergency responders
  • The ability to incorporate information from multiple and non-traditional sources into incident command operations
  • The ability ty to create actionable intelligence based on data and information from multiple sources

Proposed solutions should take into account the different specifications as defined within IFAFRI, most notably the Gap Analysis, Statement of Objectives and Deep Dive Analysis[[Resources: https://www.internationalresponderforum.org/resources]] and propose solutions (to the extent possible) that are suitable for different types of responders.

Proposals can be submitted by any eligible organisation and do not necessarily require the cooperation with co-applicants from an IFAFRI member country.[[List of IFAFRI members: https://www.internationalresponderforum.org/partners]] Participation from non-associated third countries (including the non-EU IFAFRI partners) is however encouraged and the participation of at least 2 first responders’ organisations from at least 2 different non-EU countries is strongly encouraged.

Where possible and relevant, synergy-building and clustering initiatives with successful proposals in the same area should be considered, including the organisation of international conferences in close coordination with the Community for European Research and Innovation for Security (CERIS) activities and/or other international events.