Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - ESENET (Emergency Services Europe Network)

Executive Summary:
In two years of work, the EC-funded FP7 project ESENet (Emergency Services Europe Network) set up a network of some 60 experts from different fields of expertise across Europe, coming both from the Emergency Services and Public Authorities and from industries promoting products and services in the Emergency Management domains. The network identified several recommendations for tackling the identified interoperability needs emerging from the society and for embracing the recent technologies nowadays available for the public and not yet adopted by Emergency Services.
Fundamental concepts like accessibility, IP-based emergency systems, data interoperability, emergency radio communication, use of social media for emergency management and control room robustness, have been analysed and discussed, aiming at both improving the current systems towards a common European vision of emergency services and providing an outlook on what the next generation of Emergency Services should be able to offer to our society.
A complete coverage of the different phases of communication during an emergency (from Citizens to Authorities, between Authorities and from Authorities to Citizens) has led to the definition of a set of recommendations offered to the European Commission, the Member States and the Emergency Services for implementing a number of actions in the areas of legal provisions, standardisation efforts, further research, implementation and monitoring.
The large corpus of results has been conveniently organised around the different layers in which interoperability between agencies and stakeholders can be structured, thus allowing for an efficient use of the knowledge base. This structure also allows for an effective analysis of what the experts from Public Authorities, Emergency Services and Industries have identified as the next challenges for the establishment of a safer and more secure Europe.
To report such a large amount of information in a compact, useful and direct way, the project created the concept of “Stories” that allowed to cluster topics and recommendations under a single title; in such way the project managed to write meaningful, motivating, compelling subjects for an initiative that should raise interest in the reader and trigger for actions.
As a conclusion from the entire cycle of discussions and meeting with the experts, the 10 "Top Stories" were identified, discussed, approved and reported.
The project has also executed a number of actions for disseminating the project and for getting in touch with the largest number of stakeholders.

Project Context and Objectives:
ESENet had four major objectives, towards which the following work was performed:

Objective 1 – Establish a network of Emergency services, practitioners, authorities and industries
This network of experts has been fully established. Deliverables D2.1 and D2.2 report on how the work was organised and what results have been achieved. The total number of expert in the networks is close to 60, covering all the planned profile and expertise. The geographical coverage has also been taken into account, as well as best efforts were made to ensure a good female representation.

Objective 2 – Provide networking opportunities for the members of the ESENet network
The project has progressed as planned, organising a total of 9 webinars and 4 workshop, organised in 4 cycles of 2 webinars and 1 workshop every 6 months, plus a final webinar for the approval of the project recommendations and final report. Each workshop covered 3-days of works and, based on the preparatory work done during the webinars, allowed ample opportunities for discussion, networking and sharing of experiences. The ESENet project team prepared presentations and supporting documents for each event to provide all experts with the required information about the topics to be discussed. All preparatory work, discussions and results have been reported in deliverables from WP3 (D3.1, D3.2, D3.3, D3.4 and D3.5) and WP4 (D4.1, D4.2, D4.3, D4.4 and D4.5)

Objective 3 – Analyse and report on the findings from the workshops, on the lessons learnt and on the identified needs for further initiatives
The results of each ESENet workshop has been reported in a dedicated documents, labelled as public and distributed to the members of the network for comments/approval and, later, published on the project website.
Each report includes summary tables showing the relevance given by the experts on the discussion topics for each of the interoperability layers. Both the suggested actions and actors for all recommendations were reported and formed a knowledge based used to come to the final and structured report with the project "Top Stories".
The analysis of the lessons learnt form each cycle of workshops were reported in the public deliverables D5.1 and D5.2. In addition to that, all the collected 180 individual recommendations were made publicly accessible (with also the possibility to comment) on a dedicated section of the project website.

Objective 4 – Disseminate and exchange information about the project
As reported in deliverables D6.2, D6.3 and D6.4, ESENet has disseminated information about the project and its intermediate results via both the project website (documented in D6.1) and events throughout Europe. Stakeholders from outside Europe were also contacted at two international events.
In addition to the management of a project stand at an international conference where 400 stakeholders from 40 countries from all over the world were the opportunity to use the developed public interactive tool for accessing the recommendations from the network of experts, the project presented its results at several conferences and workshops, always generating interest and receiving appreciation for the work done.

Project Results:
As a matter of course, National authorities operate systems and processes for ensuring Public Protection and Disaster Relief according to the available regulations and standards, and yet gaps often need to be addressed for covering important parts of the full chain of interaction with citizens and interoperability between stakeholders.

In nearly two years of work, the EC-funded FP7 project ESENet (Emergency Services Europe Network) has set up a network of some 65 experts from different fields of expertise across Europe. They are individuals coming both from the Emergency Services and Public Authorities and from industries promoting products and services in the Emergency Management domains. They have been chosen in order to guarantee a good coverage on four criteria: organisation, specialisation, geography and gender.

The network identified several recommendations for tackling the identified interoperability needs emerging from the society and for embracing the recent technologies nowadays available for the public and not yet adopted by Emergency Services.
Fundamental concepts like accessibility, IP-based emergency systems, data interoperability, emergency radio communication, use of social media for emergency management and control room robustness, have been analysed and discussed, aiming at both improving the current systems towards a common European vision of emergency services and providing an outlook on what the next generation of Emergency Services should be able to offer to our society.
A complete coverage of the different phases of communication during an emergency (from Citizens to Authorities, between Authorities and from Authorities to Citizens) led to the definition of a set of recommendations offered to the European Commission, the Member States and the Emergency Services for implementing a number of actions in the areas of legal provisions, standardisation efforts, further research, implementation and monitoring.

The large corpus of results has been conveniently organised around the different layers in which interoperability between agencies and stakeholders can be structured (see Annex IV), thus allowing for an efficient use of the knowledge base. This structure also allows for an effective analysis of what the experts from Public Authorities, Emergency Services and Industries have identified as the next challenges for the establishment of a safer and more secure Europe.

Along with the definitions and the classification of the different areas of investigation covered by the project, this report presents and discusses an overview of the recommended actions identified by the experts of the ESEnet network and the relevance that their implementation would have for Citizens and the Society at large.

Organisation of work

The project was organised in 9 webinars and 4 workshops and the primary topic discussed was communication interoperability at all levels (from the technical level to the organisational level) and in all types of safety and security missions (daily/ordinary and/or large scale missions as well as local or cross-border missions). Activities were arranged in 4 cycles, the first three of which focused on the C2A, A2A and A2C respectively and the fourth aiming at the consolidation of the recommendations. For each cycle, 2 webinars and 1 workshop were arranged.

The project has organised its process for identifying existing interoperability gaps in the Emergency communication chain along two main axis: (i) the level in the interoperability stack on which the gap impacts and (ii) the part of the communication cycle between Citizens and Authorities.
For each primary topic of discussion in a discussion cycle, the project partners prepared a list of supporting documents (including definitions where appropriate), comprehensive introductory text and a preliminary allocation of the sub-topics on the interoperability layers. During the webinars, each topic was introduced and discussed to get early feedbacks and comments from the experts. These inputs are then used for completing the supporting documents to the face-to-face workshops, during which each sub-topic was discussed thoroughly until recommendations were identified, classified per kind of action and allocated to the intended actors.

The word “interoperability” can be found more and more often when discussing the complexity of making systems work. It is quite a difficult word and hides inside it a large number of concepts. Basically it means “make different systems able to operate together”. Indeed, in Emergency Management it can be seen as the primary need at all levels for taking decisions and managing operations.
To help the understanding of the organisational processes in Emergency situations, the SECRICOM project introduced a useful structure based on “Interoperability Layers”, thus giving a synthetic form to all the needed components for realising a full and effective cooperation between Emergency Organisations. Such a scheme is more representative of the challenges of interoperating in emergencies than the simpler model proposed by the European Interoperability Framework, that is limited to 4 layers (Legal, Organisational, Semantic and Technical). The adopted "Interoperability Stack" shows how the crucial challenge of ensuring Interoperability and communication between Emergency Organisations requires the implementation of several levels of Interoperability, ranging from the basic physical interoperability of devices to the agreement of political objectives of the organisations. For the purposes of the project, it gave also more flexibility for the identification of gaps and recommendations than the "Interoperability Continuum" defined by the SAFECOM program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security [16], that defined a roadmap to an optimal level of interoperability defined in 5 layers (Governance, Standard Operating Procedures, Technology, Training & Exercises and Usage).

The organization of the sections is bottom-up (i.e. from the Technical Layers up to the Organisational ones) and the central layer ("knowledge/awareness") is where both technical and organisational strands tend to: it represents the ultimate goal of the whole concept of interoperability in Emergency Management.
All discussions within the ESENet meetings about relevant topics have been started by allocating them to the appropriate layer(s).

Phases of communication
ESENet has targeted Emergency Communication between two main categories of actors: (i) Citizens and (ii) Authorities. Their needs for communicating have been investigated during three phases:
• Citizen to Authority (C2A): this includes all kind of communication initiated by citizens in need for help by any kind of organisation or Agency responsible for providing Emergency Services and Rescue; we have adopted for them the term "Authority"
• Authority to Authority (A2A): this type of communication happens between Authorities in need for exchanging information and resources about an incident; it may stay within one Authority or involve different Authorities from one or more countries
• Authority to Citizens (A2C): this covers all the needs for Authorities when communicating back to Citizens and inform them about an evolving situation.
The Project did not investigate communication from Citizens to Citizens (C2C) because this cycle does not involve Authorities and Emergency Services. It is understood by the project that this may leave out part of the recent trends in the use of Social Media (i.e. crowd sourcing), which are, however, covered by other projects funded by the European Commission (e.g. EMERGENT, COSMIC, ATHENA and iSAR+).

Investigated areas
The project and the network of experts have discussed a large number of topics, very briefly summarised in the following. The selection of the topics was firstly inspired by the activities of the Operation Committee of EENA and validated by the ESENet experts. More details are available in the project deliverables, available at the project website
Citizens to Authorities
• Access to Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)
• Voice and data communication
• PSAP equipment
This part of the communication cycle touches specifically on the way citizens can reach Authorities, therefore includes the use of several devices and networks, as well as accessibility by citizens with disabilities. Moreover, it covered equipment, facilities and tools available at the PSAP side for manage the calls from citizens in an appropriate and efficient way.

Authorities to Authorities
• Interoperability with and between responders
• Interoperability between Control Rooms (including Next Generation 112)
• Contingency management
This cycle of communication was very much focused on radio communication and data interoperability, with an important discussion opened on the management of situations depending on the level of crisis is faced. For this reason, the project needed to adopt specific definitions:

"Within the Emergency Services (ES), further to receiving an alert (from citizens or automatic systems) at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), the Control Room (CR) begins the dispatching of resources and the overall management of the situation".

Depending on the organisational model of the ES, the functions of the PSAP and the CR may be distinct, partly overlapped or fully overlapped. It is to be noted that different ES may or may not share the PSAP or the CR functionalities, depending on their organisational model. Example of that are PSAP-Level 1 (that serve several ES) and Shared Control Rooms (where, for instance, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Brigades are accommodated).

For the purposes of the discussions, the following definitions were adopted for the different scales of Interoperability:

Geographical scale
It is defined as "local scale" or "cross-border scale", where:
• "local" includes all situations happening within the boundaries of a Member State and
• "cross-border" describes situations where the incident spans across a border between Member States (“Neighbour States”).
It should be stressed that "local scale" does not exclude the need for cooperation between different CRs operating in different jurisdictions for different Agencies within a Member State.

Impact scale
It is defined as "limited scale" or "large scale", where:
• "limited scale" refers to situations where the expected evolution is limited and the risks involved are considered low, while
• "large scale" refers to incidents with the potential to escalate in scale or involve medium-high risk for the population.

Capacity scale
It addresses both the "CR capacity scale" and the "PSAP Capacity scale", where:
• "CR Capacity scale” can be defined as "within CR capacity" or "beyond CR capacity", where those terms refer to the capacity of the involved CR to cope with the situation with the available resources and capabilities;
• "PSAP Capacity scale” can be defined as "within PSAP capacity" or "beyond PSAP capacity", where those terms refer to the capacity of the involved PSAP to take calls in a specific situation with the available resources and capabilities.
Situation "beyond CR capacity" and "beyond PSAP capacity" are not mutually exclusive and may both occur for an incident, regardless of the specific organisational model adopted by the ES.

Authorities to Citizens
• Communication Channels and Warning means
• Next Generation Channels (Smartphones and Apps)
• Trans boundary and border agreements

This portion of communication includes the many different ways that an Authority may adopt for communicating with Citizens, ranging from sirens to radio, from websites to dedicated Apps for smartphones and Social Media. All of them imply ethical issues and liabilities that cannot be dismissed or underestimated.

Interaction with the experts
Since the aim of ESENet is to identify gaps and needs in the interoperability chain for emergency management across Europe, all webinars and workshops are organised around pre-selected topics and offered to the network of experts for discussion and recommendations.
Once the areas needing actions are selected, the project plans to complement such information with some indications about which actions are considered more appropriate (or urgent, or needed) and who (primarily) should undertake such actions.

Experts are therefore requested to express their opinions in a structured manner, so that a consistent report can be prepared and submitted.
Discussions with the experts were aimed at identifying not only the major topics of interest for them (i.e. the gaps in the interoperability chain that need to be addressed), but mainly to discuss and agree on which kind of action would be more appropriate to tackle the challenge and which actor should be requested to take the initiatives. During the first webinars, the feedbacks received by the experts allowed the project partners to identify the most effective classifications of actions and actors for covering the received recommendations. Such classification, detailed in the following, has not been proposed previously in other coordination actions and proved very efficiently throughout the project.

What action...

We have identified 4 major possible actions, mainly related to current maturity of the intended solution:
• Legal: the topic is still in need for a legal framework to be established. Without such framework, fragmented or uncoordinated implementations may be deployed at different levels. Moreover, without clear provisions, in some cases funds may not be allocated for the implementation of existing solutions
• Research: Even with a set of regulations in place, the technical solutions available on the market are not up to the point and additional Research and Development (R&D) is called for. For the purpose of ESENet, such R&D actions cover the full range of research (basic or applied) where private funds from industries may not be enough or may lead to un-needed proprietary solutions
• Standards: Technology is available and ready to be used for concrete solutions, but a common standard (or set of standards) is missing. This may lead to uncoordinated solutions and even to incompatible systems deployed across Europe, creating additional barriers to full interoperability. Activities by standardisation bodies or the setting up of mandates and ad hoc groups is called for.
• Implementation and Monitoring: The scene is fully set up. The legal framework is defined, technology is available, and standard and technical guidelines are defined. Solutions must be now implemented and a monitoring activity by control bodies is required to actually achieve the intended goal.

Of course, experts had the freedom to suggest any combination of the above four actions.

... at what level?

We have simplified the decision and implementation levels into 3:
• European Commission: This actor level encompasses all bodies and committees at European Level, including the Parliament, the Commission and its Directorates, the Agencies, Standardisation bodies... If possible, the experts should pinpoint what body would be the most appropriate to act
• Member States: again, this level includes any decision level in Member States, including multi-lateral agreements or transnational initiatives outside of the "European" initiatives
• Emergency Services: at this level, actions are manageable by emergency services, which should be required to set different priorities or act together with their Authorities for acting.

Again, experts had the possibility to suggest any combination of the above actors.

Key findings - the top stories

Regardless of the level of detail achieved in the discussions about actions to be taken and actor to involve, to make an impression with stakeholders and decision makers one must translate them into operational scenarios or use cases or "stories". Each and every recommendation comes form the experts' observation of gaps and needs in relevant situations they face during their normal job: we noted that most if them can be "connected" to form a coherent picture that can be used to demonstrate the relevance and the impact of the suggested action(s). This process proved highly efficient during the preparation of the final workshop, where the ESENet team organized the collected 180 unique recommendations in in 42 topics under 10 categories.
To report such a large amount of information in a compact, useful and direct way, the project decided to tell some “Stories” that have the following features:
• Cluster topics and recommendations under a single title
• May be seen as a meaningful, motivating, compelling subject for an initiative
• Should raise interest in the reader and trigger for actions
• Collate a number of recommendations into a short text

As a conclusion from the entire cycle of discussions and meeting with the experts, the following "Top Stories" have been identified and are here presented:

Top Story 1 - Basic caller access and information
Top Story 2 - Management of trans-national emergency calls
Top Story 3 - Interaction in case of an emergency
Top Story 4 - Mission Critical Communication
Top Story 5 - Moving forward to NG112
Top Story 6 - Harmonisation of public warning systems
Top Story 7 - Data exchange between Emergency Services
Top Story 8 - Cross-border cooperation during emergencies
Top Story 9 - Business continuity and contingency management
Top Story 10 - Improved call management

For each Top Story, the topic is introduced in its relevance, the identified gaps are presented and discussed, with the recommendations identified by the expert offered to the reader together to the intended actors and actions that are expected to take the challenge up.

Top Story 1 - Basic caller access and information (“The first and most important step towards successful handling of emergency situations”)

Being in a situation where you have to use the number 112 is something nobody hopes for. But when that moment arrives, as citizen you expect everything to be in place to support such a call in the best possible way. For this, the first contact with a caller needs to be as efficient and effective as possible.

In these first moments of contact, call takers need crucial information for assessing the location, the people involved, the nature and severity of the situation. The more of this information is automatically collected, the easier it is to handle the call.

So what services need to be in place to support this first contact in the best possible way? This Top Story try to answer this question and to make clear that, although this insight is definitely not new and much legislation is in place to ensure a efficient connectivity and an effective collection of information, there are still gaps that need to be addressed to ensure the best support in emergency (life threatening) situations.

To be able to make this story as specific and straightforward as possible, we look specifically at voice access to the PSAP under various circumstances.

The Universal Service Directive (2009) – amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services – states at Article 23:

Member States shall take all necessary measures to ensure the fullest possible availability of publicly available telephone services provided over public communications networks in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure. Member States shall ensure that undertakings providing publicly available telephone services take all necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency services

And, further on at article 26:

Member States shall ensure that all end-users of the service referred to in paragraph 2, including users of public pay telephones, are able to call the emergency services free of charge and without having to use any means of payment, by using the single European emergency call number "112" and any national emergency call number specified by Member States.

With these articles in mind, we looked at the access in many different situations.
Identified gaps
The subjects were we did identify gaps are:

a) Ability to call 112, free of charge, without limitation and without obstacles
b) Retrieval of the best possible caller location information
c) Ability to reach back the caller if connection should fail or be disrupted
d) Tracking of the caller identity

Access to 112
The first step in the emergency calling process is being able to contact the emergency services. For this, in the European Union the number 112 was introduced. Although this now seems to be fully implemented in all Member States, there is still a number of situations where people cannot may not be able to call 112. The following situations where identified as gaps:
• Using Mobile devices without a working SIM Card
• Using internal (IP) phones
• Using Soft-phones

SIM Card
In regards to being able to contact 112 without a working SIM Card, there is a different approach across the Member States. Some countries do allow this kind of access, others have excluded these calls mainly because of the number of malicious calls being made from these devices.

On EC level there should be an agreement on whether it should be possible or not to contact 112 without a (working) SIM Card; the experts stated that harmonisation on this subject is needed. This is mainly needed because of citizens travelling across the Member States: they should not worry about local procedures for calling 112 that may differ from those they are familiar with in their home Country. The most important thing when in an emergency situation is a clear expectation of how to access emergency services.
To cut costs, a lot of large companies, campuses, hotels and offices have in place their own internal network of Voice over IP phones. This is of course a reasonable way of preventing unnecessary high bills, but when looking at the access to the emergency services it may be a worry.

First of all, the number 112 is usually not configured for a direct connection to the emergency services. For instance, in hotels dialling 112 from the room phone will very likely connect you to room number 112 and not to a PSAP; in large office buildings, one is often forced to dial an internal emergency number; in many other situations a pre-dial number (such as 0 or 9) is needed to establish an outbound call.

The legislation was created when the telephone market was much simpler and telecom providers were the only ones delivering fixed line calling services. As a consequence, the access to 112 was an exclusive responsibility of those service providers. Nowadays, with the available powerful and marketed technologies, the telecom providers are not the only providers of such service anymore. Responsibilities are not unclear and the current legislation does not provide sufficiently solid ground for solving the issue.

On Member States level legislation should be adapted to address the issue that the number 112 is not supporting IP-Phones to setup a direct connection with the emergency services and to make sure that the situation where everybody can rely on being able to call 112 in all situations is restored. So there must be a way to address this issue to the employer, the hotel owner, the building service management or the VOIP service provider.
More and more people are not using fixed lines and mobile phones anymore to setup a voice call. Often they use Soft-phones and even chat programs with calling capabilities. Where, in case of the VoIP services it would be possible to address the issue to a single responsible party, in these cases there are two sides that need to take action. First the Soft-phone providers to create a way to call 112 and to make sure that there is a connectivity route to the PSAP and second the PSAP to be able to receive these calls from Soft-phones. For this consolidation of existing standards, legislation and consolidated directives is needed.

On EC level implementation in Member State legislation of the, already created, directives should be chased. These directives are a result of EC proposals and work done in European standardisation bodies such as ECRIT and the Geopriv working group in the IETF .

On a political level in Member States there should be agreement that emergency services should (implementation) upgrade their technology to NG112 and being able to receive this kind of calls. This to initiate the connectivity being upgraded where needed.

Location information
Once a connection is established between the caller and a call-taker, the second phase of the emergency call process starts. It is aimed at collecting a number of important pieces of information about the reason for the call. The location of the incident is one of the first things needed for starting a lot of related sub-processes such as resource allocation, GIS information collection and mapping. While discussing with the experts the implications of a good caller location information, it became evident this information is not available in many situations and, even when it is available, accuracy and reliability is, at the most, often sub optimal.

Not available
The Universal Service Directive (2009) – amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services - states at Article 26.5:

Member States shall ensure that undertakings concerned make caller location information available free of charge to the authority handling emergency calls as soon as the call reaches that authority. This shall apply to all calls to the single European emergency call number "112". Member States may extend this obligation to cover calls to national emergency numbers. Competent regulatory authorities shall lay down criteria for the accuracy and reliability of the location information provided.

Considering calls placed using SIM card-less phones, IP-phones or Soft-phones, the information about the caller location is not available or even wrong when (i) the used access point to the network is not at the actual location of the device used to contact the PSAP (e.g. calling from a room connected to an internal VoIP system whose coded location is only the official address of the organisation and the actual location of the caller is not calculated) or (ii) the access point is not available and the last cached information is used.

Such situations affect the quality of response and show how the calling device may be a single point of failure in obtaining location information. As a consequence of that, not only the exact location where to dispatch resources is inaccurate or unavailable, but also calling back or reaching the caller becomes impossible, thus wasting essential time and putting lives at risk.

Not accurate
In case of mobile networks, the experts concluded that the information currently provided to PSAPs is not as accurate as technology can deliver. The use of mobile telephony to access the emergency services in Europe outweighs other channels such as landlines or VoIP (65% is the estimate of calls carried by mobile network operators, based on COCOM reports and information provided by EENA emergency services’ members). This makes the provision of accurate and reliable caller location information from mobile devise the most relevant challenge. Appropriate performance criteria and targets have to be established for measuring the progress and plan further actions.

Currently, mobile caller location data provided to PSAPs across all member states is inconsistent and lacking the needed accuracy and reliability. It is the experts' opinion that the EC shall set EU-wide minimum accuracy and reliability targets for each Member State, launch an independent measurement program and a roadmap for continual improvement of the quality of location data made available to PSAPs.

Different possibilities are identified to get this information; the mobile network, positioning satellites (GPS (USA based)/Galileo (European Based) /GLONASS (Russian Based)) and other positioning services based on access points in the vicinity of the device calling (WIFI (wireless network access points)/RFPM (radio frequency positioning method)/Locations sensors (such as ground based transmitters that mimic GPS satellites)).

It is the experts' opinion that the network operators definitely need to improve the accuracy of the information they deliver. When needed Member States should adapt their legislation to secure this effort to be done by the network providers.

A good recent example of how this could be implemented is the effort in the UK made by British Telecom in cooperation with the companies EE and HTC where a service has been created to detect the location of the caller and send this in a background process to the PSAP in a text message .

Research on EC level must be done to utilise the other location services available on smart devices to give the PSAP the best possible location accuracy. With this being said it is of course logical that in Europe the use of European public funded services should be used to improve the location information being provided (Galileo/EGNOS).
Call back and Identification
There are different reasons why an operator in a PSAP or a control room needs to call back the caller after the call has ended or when the connection is cut off during the emergency call. They may range from the need for getting more information for dispatching the appropriate resources (e.g. because connection was interrupted or lost) or because additional or updated information are needed to keep track of the evolution of the situation.

A connection may be lost for different reasons, but in most cases it is not a permanent disruption, with the device or the network stopping to function. To allow a prompt reconnection between PSAP and person in distress, procedures require the call-taker to call back the caller, rather than leaving the caller to make again his way through and reach the call-taker. For this very reason, the legislation requires the identification of the caller (i.e. the unique number is calling from) to be sent to the PSAP at the time of the connection is established.

For calls placed using landlines, the phone number and, when needed, the subscriber information (including the address) are usually made available to the PSAP. When calls use the mobile network, the latter information may not be available, given the non-mandatory request to provide personal information when subscribing (e.g. for pre-paid subscriptions). For VoIP calls, the situation is even more complicated because even the user's name or number may be not attached to a physical person or location, making the calling device a virtual entity not allowing any identification of the caller's details.

This identified gap is in the current impossibility call back a person in some predicaments, because it is either not possible to able to trace back the device used by the caller or the caller's phone number is not made available by the network operators.

The experts identified the following instances where proper caller identification is not always made available to PSAPs:
• Roaming mobile phones
• SIM-card less phones
• Pre-paid phones
• Campus-like networks (such as office buildings, large company networks and hotels)
• VoIP solutions

The experts recognised that the new calling devices and solutions more and more frequently used to contact the emergency services are often not capable to allow a call back. Even with a current legislation requiring network operators the provision of enough caller information to PSAPs for a possible call back, there are networks and services that do not deliver this information.
Research at EC level should be done to see how this gap can be solved and how legislation must be updated in such a way that the caller identification information is delivered at all time and in any situation.

Although legal provisions exist and give clear rule about calls placed using landlines and mobile networks, new technologies and services have created situations where responsibilities and performances are not enough specified. The result is that lives and valuable assets that could be saved using such recent, potentially powerful, solutions, can be lost. This is a major driver for implementing the recommendations identified by the experts.

5.2 Top Story 2 - Management of trans-national emergency calls ("Connecting EU PSAPs")

Although 112 is the European emergency number available in all the EU Member States, EU PSAPs situated in different Member States are presently unable to interoperate and to contact each other besides some local cross-border initiatives. This lack of interoperability is problematic considering that, according to Eurostat , EU residents undertook around 179 million trips of at least one night for holiday and other personal reasons to a Member State other than the country of residence. In addition, approximately 28 million business visits of at least one night were also made to another Member State.
Currently PSAPs and Control Rooms frequently share information (often verbally) with each other during the normal course of multi-agency responses. This cooperation is standard operating procedure for the agencies e.g. in a RTA (Road Traffic Accident), the services of the Police, Fire and Rescue Service and the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) are often needed simultaneously. Such cooperation is done on a local, regional or national basis and also sometimes done cross-border between neighbouring countries.
However if the cooperation is required between agencies is inter-state, e.g. between 2 European countries, then an all-to-different process is required and currently there is an interoperability gap which forbids such cooperation from taking place.

Identified gaps
To place this issue into context, the following use case is described and is in fact common.
Citizen A in Country A is speaking on the telephone with Citizen B in Country B when Citizen B collapses and is unresponsive. Citizen A clearly needs to alert the EMS in Country B and get help as quickly as possible. However, if Citizen A calls 112 (or any other national emergency number), the EMS for Country A will respond to Citizen A in the normal way.

Therefore the EMS in Country A needs to alert the EMS in Country B and advise them of the incident to Citizen B. But the only way it can do so is if it has the E.164 number of the EMS in Country B directly or if it has the E.164 number of a PSAP in Country B who can in turn make contact with the relevant PSAP.

Currently, there is no formal process or database architecture that allows this to happen. EENA coordinates and manages a database of such E.164 numbers where one PSAP is voluntarily nominated to be the "lead PSAP" of the Member State and to handle such interoperability issues. But this workaround solution and is clearly not sustainable and needs to fall under a legal framework and structure for a number of reasons.

The recommended actions made by the experts are at a legal, operational and technical level and require different responses by different stakeholders. Such stakeholders are recognised to be the European Commission (EC), the Member States or the Ministries/Public Authorities responsible for the emergency services and the Emergency Services themselves. The first scoping remark was that this was essentially "voice-only" communications between Emergency Services in different Member States. At no point, was the issue of data exchange formats discussed in this context as this is covered elsewhere (see Top Story 7 - Data exchange between Emergency services). In any respects, the experts felt that this issue was relatively straightforward to resolve and should be therefore treated separately and distinctly from the rather complex issue of data exchange formats, taxonomy and so forth.

The Project team highlighted that, whilst this issue is initially triggered by the Citizens-to-Authorities requirements, the solution resides within the Authorities-to-Authorities domain. The citizen making the call needs to have his/her specific issue resolved and it requires the intervention of the respective Emergency Services to do so. The experts also recommended that the solution required is a secure, stable and accessible EU-wide database where E.164 numbers can be stored and accessed quickly, efficiently and easily by PSAPs themselves. No other party should be granted access to this database as placing such E.164 numbers in the public domain would be a major security issue for PSAPs.

The experts also recognised that there are no technical impediments in the way to constructing and maintaining such a database, as the technology exists currently to do so. The effort required to build and maintain such a database would be relatively minor but as a minimum first step, the motivation or obligation to establish one is needed. Additionally, it was agreed that the ownership and control should be with a statutory agency that has EU-wide responsibility for regulatory and/or technical matters. It was noted also the database containing the E.164 long-numbers should be firstly constructed on a Member State level where there is one nominated PSAP or primary PSAP for each country. This PSAP would become the primary contact for its country and would be PSAP contacted during the example case highlighted above. A secondary PSAP should also be nominated as support in case the primary PSAP is unavailable for whatever reason. Equally important of course, is that the primary (and secondary) PSAP should have the contact details for each of the PSAPs within its own territory so that the call or information can be distributed to the correct PSAP.

It was highlighted during the project also that a database exists currently but is done on a voluntary basis by EENA and that the PSAPs involved do so voluntarily. It was also stated that whilst EENA was happy to fill this operational and interoperability gap, the solution was not sustainable. Indeed, many countries have indicated they cannot participate because of the absence of a statutory obligation to do so, despite the fact that they recognise the issue as outlined on Figure 3 above.

Clearly a regulated, secure and "mandatory-inclusion" database containing every EU country is needed. For example, the information listed below could be used in the database construction:
• Country
• Name of the primary PSAP + back-up PSAP
• PSAP’s long telephone numbers (E.164 number and back-up number)
• Description of the area traditionally covered by the PSAP
• Each country is obliged to select one PSAP in the primary PSAPs database
• The PSAP must cover the entire country’s territory or have the ability to transfer calls/data to all the PSAPs in its country (directly or indirectly)
• They must ensure a 24/7 service in English
• They commit to inform and train their call-takers/dispatchers to manage calls through the database.

Other features which should be considered is the access rights (only available to PSAPs/emergency services and never to the general public), security (it needs to be secured behind protective firewalls), training (each PSAP should train its personnel how to use the database with clear processes and procedures), testing (the PSAP should conduct regular test calls to ensure the relevant links and E.164 numbers are correct) and maintenance (the agency in charge needs to receive and process regular updates from the participating Member States/PSAPs.

The Experts agreed that main responsibility for the remedy is at the political/legal level such as the EC to create the legal obligation on the Member States to have a database in place and to mandate/appoint a statutory agency to manage and control it.

The Experts agreed that the Member States should ensure that a lead PSAP is appointed to be the first point of contact on the database and to ensure that the Emergency Services are resourced sufficiently to participate the database and regularly tested.

As such, the applicable action needed in the main is the establishment of a legal instrument (Directive, Regulation etc.) by the EC upon the Member States. Post the legal instrument being established, it is quite possible that the Standardisation Development Organisations may need to investigate if any current standards apply, whether they need to be updated or whether new standards are required. The ownership of the database should be assigned to a statutory agency and/or such an agency should be encouraged to appoint itself as the owner.

Once assigned, there is a monitoring action required to ensure that the database is being maintained correctly and the necessary reporting of its use be analysed periodically.

The Member States in turn need to ensure that one PSAP (and a secondary PSAP) is appointed, is suitably resourced and that the PSAP has the trained staff to deal with the trans-national emergency calls as well as having the required processes and procedures in place.

If the issue highlighted is actioned in the recommended way, it will have a transformational impact on the way PSAPs can exchange simple, voice-only communications with each other. Participating PSAPs would be able to import the database into their existing Call Taking systems and would be able to perform a simple "look-up" in a table, retrieve the necessary details and action the request for assistance accordingly. Apart from relatively minor training requirements, the obligation on the PSAP to amend existing procedures and processes would not be onerous and therefore the impact is low on their side.

The end result will leave Europe with a very efficient, cost-effective solution to a troublesome and all-too-frequent use case. It will also move to strengthen the pan-EU emergency number 112 and demonstrate that it can be used seamlessly and effectively across borders. The citizens of Europe will be much better served by the removal of this interoperability gap.

5.3 Top Story 3 - Interaction in case of an emergency (“Introducing new methods of interaction”)

In the current technology-driven world, the ways people can communicate with each other has vastly changed from fixed phone lines to mobile telephony and to Internet based solutions. In the past, a lot of effort was put in to allow emergency services to communicate with mobile devices through the GSM networks. Some major issues such as location information and caller identification have still not been fully resolved, but the handling this technology is now mature. Of course, it is difficult for emergency services to keep the pace with the fast technological evolution and at the same time keep ensuring the accessibility and robustness of the services. Anyway, technology is moving forward and one must acknowledge that the general public has embraced it and is more and more frequently using new devices and services. Moreover, technology has offered people with communication disabilities new ways for long-range communication enjoying much more richness than the basic texting, which is available since the 1980’s.
The Universal Service Directive (2009) – amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services - states at Article 26.4

Member States shall ensure that access for disabled end-users to emergency services is equivalent to that enjoyed by other end-users. Measures taken to ensure that disabled end-users are able to access emergency services whilst travelling in other Member States shall be based to the greatest extent possible on European standards or specifications published in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive), and they shall not prevent Member States from adopting additional requirements in order to pursue the objectives set out in this Article.

This Top Story specifically focuses on the accessibility to Emergency Services for people with communication disabilities and on the new possibilities for interacting with everybody in an emergency situation or when witnessing one.

Identified gaps
People with communication disabilities
The inclusion of people with disabilities in the society is an objective of the EU policies and empowering them fully benefit from the recent communication technologies is an important challenge. A great deal of research has already been done to identify the user requirements of the many different groups of disabled people and map them onto the many technologies available and start concrete project for implementing them. The EC-funded project Reach112 has demonstrated the potentialities of different IP-based communication technologies and identified some call management workflows that can be used to ensure accessibility of this group to the PSAPs: the project has also proven that these solutions are ready to be included in the emergency call management processes.

When looking at the implementations that have been initiated since the publication of the Universal Service Directive for equality in access to public communication services, one can only conclude that a lot is still to be done in most of the Member States. For what concerns PSAPs, it is understandable that the focus is primarily on the people that are deaf or hard of hearing. Most of the Member States decided to use SMS services as a first step for communicating with this user group.

It is of course good to implement whatever level of accessibility to the Emergency services, but SMS services feature a number of limitations, indeed: (i) they offer just message-based texting, without any direct contact, (ii) do not support location information and (iii) do not guarantee a short delivery time. These difficulties clearly make SMS a service that cannot be considered a full answer to the requests of the USD about an access to emergency Services equivalent to voice calls.
IP communication (VoIP/Video/Real Time Text /Data/Chat/Messaging)
Given the speed of technological change and the way citizens now communicate with each other, the mandate of our PSAPs needs to change greatly to be able to meet the citizens’ expectation and be able to handle these kinds of calls. However in order to be able to adapt to these new demands, there needs to be firstly a recognition at the political level that the PSAPs need to change and secondly that they are provided with the adequate resources to implement this change. On a technical level, many PSAPs in Europe are often using old technology, which is cumbersome and expensive to operate and maintain. PSAPs need to adapt to new technologies in a consistent and structured way and need the imprimatur of the EC to help define the necessary standards.

To prevent IP communication solutions for Emergency Services being unevenly available across Member States, there is a need for a harmonised strategy and standardisation at EC level.
Real time text
Real time text is a communication method that uses “full duplex” communication, thus implementing a flow of two-way communication. This is substantially different from message-based texting as SMS or chatting, where the communication is done in chunk of information and the receiving end ("fire and forget" communication). Real time text is available since years on several devices. Currently, most RTT solutions run on Smartphone, PC and web based applications that use European standards such as RFC4103 (IETF). This way of communication is mainly used by people with speech and/or hearing impairments, in particular by those that became deaf or hard of hearing later in life are do not use sign language as their main way to communicate.

Although various text services are available, most of them rely on a smartphone environment or a PC base. With these “services” being separated from standard phone functionality as CLI, Location etc. it is difficult to get this kind of service compliant with all emergency service-related legislation.

There are standards available in Europe but despite this, there are still different solutions which are offered for people that need text as a way of communication. In this situation, interoperability between the services, but especially with the emergency services, is not arranged for.

The EC and the Member States shall arrange for legislation and ground rules/standardisation to have a common real time text messaging as one of the communication option for two ways communication with PSAPs across all Member States.

Video access for sign language users
Video access is realised with a two-way video connection, available for everybody, but mainly intended for citizens who are deaf/hard of hearing and benefit from a visual communication by means of sign language, lip reading, nonverbal communication and facial expressions. This is of particularly relevance for those using sign language as their main language and way of communication: asking them to use text instead of sign language would be a perfect example of going against the equivalency of services prescribed by the mentioned article 26.4 of the USD. Most of the devices and software programmes used to communicate in this way also support the use of real time texting or text chat functionality. An important pre-requisite for using this way of communication is the knowledge by both sides of the sign language used by the caller (NB: sign languages are different and their coverage is very similar to the spoken languages).

Technology-wise, video streams require the definition and implementation of common standards in all Member States, because the service should be carrier and device-independent.

It is often difficult to educate call takers to being able to handle emergency calls in sign language when he or she is not using the sign language as a daily routine. To overcome this limitation and ensure that the caller needs to communicate, a third party service for interpreting the conversation in sign language is of extreme importance: video relay services can be used for this purpose. Such a service could also be combined with texting services.

Based on required research, the EC shall arrange for legislation and potential directives to the Member States to provide two ways video access to PSAP as equivalent access to 112 for people with hearing impairment, using sign language as their main language.

SMS is a service that may be used to access the emergency services with text messages. SMS is based on a technology that is available since a long time; therefore all users of mobile phones are familiar with it. A big advantage of using SMS is that there is no special software required and it is available on both older mobile phones and state of the art new smartphones.

Seventeen countries have adopted this facility across the EU. However the remaining countries and visitors to the countries who have adopted it are unable to access it. As mentioned before, it is often considered as a way to ensure equivalent access for citizens with communication disabilities.

Some countries have established this access channel thanks to a solid political and legal support. The EC and Member States shall arrange for legislation and ground rules across all Member States to have SMS service available with an agreed minimum set of data to be shared with the PSAPs and a guaranteed performance level for the SMS service. To ensure that the use of SMS is as equivalent as possible to voice access, issues related to the provision of caller location to the emergency services, priority and use whilst roaming internationally must be addressed. This also calls for further research to be carried out for identifying the best way for implementing and deploying the service.

All emergency services should be aware of how the SMS is received and how the citizen interacts with the service. Similarly, citizens should be aware of the limitations of using SMS as a means to access the emergency service: latency, no warning for failed messages, location information restrictions and limited or no access whilst roaming abroad.

There should be harmonised strategies in place between all the Emergency Services to ensure that there are procedures in place for managing alerts received via SMS. This includes ensuring that the same short code number (i.e. 112) is used. Operationally, the different emergency services should ensure that their reaction to the SMS emergency is consistent and also that operational requirements and methodologies are consistent across the EU.
Other solutions
Although the majority of people with a communication disability belong to the group of deaf and hard of hearing, there are also groups that are not served with just video and text. They may benefit from other solutions such as pictograms, IVR solutions, SOS buttons, text to speech and speech to text etc.
Other new means of communication
VoiP/OverTheTop (OTT) solutions

There are a large number of tools that support person-to-person calling based on IP; they are often supported with video and text capabilities. Good examples are the social media environments, conference call tooling and soft-phones. Calling Emergency Services is, in most of these cases, not supported yet.

The EC shall arrange for legislation and potential directions to the Member States with regard to the need for two-way accessibility of alternative VoIP solution providers including caller information sharing.

Also it should consider:
- How to handle “anonymous” kinds of accounts.
- How to handle the fact that the users are roaming (all over the world) and location is not available (Reference ETSI M493 mandate).
- How to handle off line situations in regard to call back functionality.
- How to know as a VoIP provider what number/emergency service to contact.

Social media as interactive communication tool
Social media represent a widely used communication tool for keeping people involved in activities, happenings and for sharing information. Social media are considered, and sporadically already used, as one of the communication/information tools towards the public (disaster recovery, early warning of the public, etc.). From the citizen’s perspective, however, social media are also expected to be an option as a communication tool for alerting PSAPs.

When talking about Internet and social media in combination with Emergency Services, one mostly refers to Internet pages, social networks and micro blogging tools. In addition to them, live streams, weblogs and minute-to-minute updated news archives are increasingly used.

The person in charge for deciding about sending or not an alert may be bound to different regulations across the Regions. This creates disparities in the knowledge/awareness about a situation between citizens living in different regions.

While discussing the use of social media for informing citizens during an emergency, the experts found the following topics as in need for careful consideration:

• The way messages are built and communicated should be agreed, as well as the conditions for an alert to be sent out should be made uniform across Regions. Moreover, it should be ensured that emergency services have aligned procedures for dealing with this medium.
• The actual content and details of the alerts should be made uniform across social media and languages: no disparities should be created between citizens using different devices / social media / languages. And the way messages are handled should be considered carefully when the messages also have impact on people outside of the direct influence and/or jurisdiction of the service sending out the message.
• Privacy issues and content ownership should be carefully taken into consideration when using social media. Often social media providers claim ownership of content placed in their environment, which of course can be in conflict with the interests of the Emergency Services and also with the person in an emergency or witnessing an emergency.
• Depending on the amount of details the alert will include, requirements standardisation has to be set and agreed.

Further research by the EC on the role of Social Media in Emergency Management is needed taking into consideration the subjects mentioned above, regulation within the member states may become mandatory if social media becomes a communication tool from and to PSAPs within member states.
Smartphones and apps
During the last years, a large number of Apps for communication from authorities to citizen have been created, for example Catalonian (Spain) Civil Protection “GenCat” or “Emergency Aus” in Australia. At present, there are no pre-installed Apps available in smartphones so citizens are free to decide to download or not emergency services Apps. Currently, most Apps are not interoperable with each other and are not under the control of public authorities. They send information about news or alarms coming from newspapers or social media.

Furthermore, there is not a common understanding on who is receiving the messages. Some Apps use the location of the user to send only the alarms that concern a specific area, but others send them to all subscribed users.

Interoperability of all Apps and devices is not guaranteed. For devices, depending on the hardware and the software manufactures, the features work in different ways. For instance, a smartphone busy in making a voice call may not be able to receive data at the same time. This also depends, in some cases, on how telecommunication networks are configured.

The EC and Member States shall arrange for legislation and ground rules for the use of Smartphone-based emergency applications to enable the sharing of available call information and/or caller data such as location information and caller identification. The EC shall also legislate for an EU wide architecture to allow all smartphone-based emergency applications to access and connect with PSAPs all over Europe

Smartphones and their communication applications do not have direct access to 112. With the dynamic increase and proliferation of Smartphones and applications, they are being more and more used as a communication tool for alerting PSAP from citizens. Smartphones and applications should share information regarding the call and/or caller with the PSAP (also see Top Story 1 - Basic caller access and information).

Harmonisation within all Member States is required. Research should be done within the Member States what the (legal and practical) status of smartphone apps is. Each 112 PSAP across all Member States shall be able to receive alerts and data of the call and/or caller from Smartphones and Applications. When having interaction with the emergency services, it is necessary to have a standardised method/model to communicate.

5.4 Top Story 4 - Mission Critical Communication ("Secure, reliable and available communication solutions for Emergency Services")

Whenever situations occur where human life and goods and other societal values are at risk, especially when time is a vital factor, Emergency Services have to perform operations, which are mission critical.

During these rescue or law enforcement operations and also during and after disasters and major emergencies, responders need mission critical information about event type, resources (teams, appliances, material), victims (triage), support functions (hospitals, law enforcement) etc. This is vital for Public Protection and Disaster Relief organisations (PPDR) to succeed with the operation. PPDR cannot afford the risk of having failures in their individual and group communication (e.g. voice and data or video transmissions).

After the Boston marathon bombing Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis III agreed that law enforcement cannot rely on commercial carriers for public-safety emergency communication. "In the minutes immediately following the attacks, cell-phone communication was ineffective and virtually nonexistent“, Davis said. "For this reason, radio communications for first responders became the only means to deploy forces and manage the operations. These frequencies play a critical role during a major incident and allow us to do our jobs properly.“

Aiming at improving the quality and safety of interventions on-site, there is also a need for videos. Videos can help experts in safe locations or Control Rooms to manage and provide guidance to those operating on the incident site. It could also increase officers' safety by enabling remote interactive consultations with experts for on-site advice and support, e.g. videos from site portable cameras carried into hot zones or confined spaces can be sent to the incident commander and remote experts. Currently various pilot projects in Member States are proving that video transmission out of an ambulance allows advice by an emergency medical doctor already on the way to the hospital and helps stabilizing the condition of badly injured people and better preparing the team in the emergency room for the most appropriate live saving measures.

Therefore mission critical communication solutions are needed to provide secure, reliable communication any place, any time. The scope of "Mission critical communication" includes the availability and interoperability of communication hardware, software, as well as a consistent allocation of radio frequency bands across the radio spectrum to ensure an appropriate capacity to transmit and share information between deployed units and Control Rooms.
Identified gaps
Reliability, availability, stability and security of mobile communication for voice and data - vital to ensure continuous availability of functions critical for the society – are not guaranteed everywhere on the European territory. Furthermore it is not guaranteed that people in charge of handling an incident understand each other, not only because of the linguistic diversity, but also because of a lack of a common strategy to share the same situational awareness.

To assure mission critical communications, the EC has to take actions on the following main areas:
a) common radio frequency band (spectrum) for PPDR
b) unique standard for a technological solution
c) compatibility of devices against such standard
d) common understanding of the operational functionality

Radio spectrum
The Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP) defines the roadmap for how Europe can/should translate political priorities into strategic policy objectives for radio spectrum use, based on the EU Council Decision No 243/2012/EU establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy program.

Emergency services have a demand for improving situational awareness on broadband technology coupled with today smart devices (tablets, phones). These include augmented reality, intelligent sensing, en-route mapping of deployed assets and automated case processing.

In 2012 the World Radio Conference (WRC-12) adopted Resolution 232 relating to the allocation of the frequency band 694-790 MHz in Region 1 to the Mobile Service, except aeronautical Mobile Service. This band is already allocated to the mobile service in ITU Regions 2 and 3. The frequency band 694-790 MHz is also allocated to the broadcasting service on a primary basis in all three ITU Regions.

For the purpose of achieving regionally harmonized frequency bands, WRC-12 adopted Resolution 646 (WRC-12), which encouraged administrations to consider certain identified frequency bands on a regional basis for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) solutions.

At the end of 2013 Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes set up a high-level group (HLG) which recently published a report about the future use of the 700 MHz band, in which the reallocation of the 700 MHz band for mobile services throughout the EU is seen as the desirable way forward.
European Public Safety organisations have issued a joint response to this report followed by strong statements from the leaders of each organisation underlining the importance of sufficient harmonised spectrum for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR).

Although PPDR services are not referenced anywhere in the HLG-report, the requirements of the European PPDR community have been clearly stated elsewhere, including through the EU Council’s Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP), working jointly with the spectrum regulator community (CEPT-ECC). The conclusion, in ECC Report 199, is that a minimum of 2 x 10 MHz spectrum is required for critical mobile broadband data services. The harmonisation of frequency spectrum for PPDR is a declared policy objective of the European Union and the only place where that will be possible the next 20 years is within the 700 MHz band. The vast majority of government officials dealing with public safety matters in the EU see use of the 700 MHz band as the best way to achieve this. The LEWP position paper , from the LEWP Greece presidency, clearly indicates the unanimously agreed preference by all Member States for the 700 MHz band.

There is a risk that spectrum regulators in some countries may auction all available 700 MHz bandwidth to the highest commercial bidder.
In such cases Emergency Services will be forced to purchase capacity from a commercial cellular network operator. They will have to share capacity with business and the general public, even during major incidents where life and property are at stake.

Since there is no dedicated broadband spectrum for PPDR available in Europe, therefore, EC and Member States through their regulators should opt for a dedicated PPDR spectrum as a pre-requisite for future modern mission critical communication solutions.
Technology solution

Even if in 2015 the World Radio Conference will decide in favour of a PPDR spectrum in the 700 MHz band, it will take a considerable amount of time to develop and establish the related technology solution, infrastructure and mobile terminals. Until then the currently available situation will prevail, thus we still have to face interoperability gaps for quite a while in the already existing spectrum for PPDR.

The majority of Emergency Services throughout Europe currently use a part of 380-400 MHz spectrum for their mission critical communication.
An open standard for terrestrial trunked radio was developed, which was specifically designed for use by government agencies, Emergency Services, public safety networks, rail transportation (train radios), transport services and the military, known as TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio). TETRAPOL is another but different solution using the same spectrum operating with less base stations and a different channel access method than TETRA.

While the provided technical solutions brought improvement for voice communication, they do not meet the demands for data transfer because of the limitation in the available communication bandwidth.
Taking into account the current interoperability issues raised because of these two competing technology solutions working in the current spectrum for PPDR one should avoid such problems in the future

The EC and Member States should ensure that in the future only one broadband technology solution will be used.

TETRA- and TETRAPOL-terminals (hand-held and mobile) are not interoperable. An Inter System Interface (ISI) is still missing even when the same technology solution is used in neighbour countries.
There are some projects dealing with the interoperability of TETRA and TETRAPOL trying to solve these issues. It is discussed whether Gateways or Inter System Interfaces (ISI) will be the most cost-effective solution.

EC to further support research on making terminals interoperable and Member States to implement new technical solutions in the currently used band as soon as they become available - especially at state border regions where TETRA and TETRAPOL are used side-by-side.

Operational functionality

Trunked radio systems offer a great functionality for making communication between rescuers more efficient: the creation of talk-groups, i.e. groups of users that can talk on a specific radio channel without interfering with others or being bothered by communication not relevant for them. Although this is a great feature, it needs a pre-definition of the groups according to their mission, agency or responsibility. Experience proves that the definition of the talk-groups differs between Member States, creating evident interoperability problems in case of cooperation. Even if not strictly related to the technology used, such issues may significantly reduce the efficacy of the radio communication system and reduce the ability to cooperate between Emergency Services.

Standardisation on EC level is required to define various interoperable levels of talk-groups based on the results of on going projects, e.g. the Norwegian-Swedish ISI project

5.5 Top Story 5 - Moving forward to NG112 ("Next generation techniques and services for 112")

The way citizens and Emergency Services (ES) interact has undergone and still is undergoing significant changes in terms of communication means and content. From voice calls via landlines to videos sent from smartphones, from Total Conversation calls initiated by deaf callers to automatic alerts sent by sensors, ES have to be ready to manage a large variety of communication channels, multimedia content and even communication styles (just compare a standard voice conversation with a text chat).

Moreover, communication and interoperability between Control Rooms and ES are becoming a serious issue in an era where near-instantaneous, effective and efficient communication is expected by both citizens and actors of the emergency management chain. An increasing amount of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication based on IP (often consuming large bandwidths) is taking place and more powerful and better performing IT solutions are being actively sought.
Identified gap
Within this multiform and rapidly changing landscape, ES are struggling to identify a consistent and longstanding set of solutions that would leverage their current legacy systems while keeping systems interoperable, scalable and technically stable.

The recent concept of "Next Generation 112" (NG112 ) has been identified as a potential answer to such demands, since it combines the definition of a set of international standards with the scalability and flexibility of an IP connection.

NG112 addresses three major gaps:
• Communication between citizens and emergency services
• Interoperability between emergency services
• Open Standards approach

NG112 would enable citizens to contact emergency services in different ways, using the same types of technology as those they use to communicate every day. It would also make possible that 112 PSAPs receive more and better information about emergencies of all magnitudes and improve interoperability between emergency services. Consequently, response time and operation cost will be reduced, while effective response will increase significantly.

NG112 is based on Internet Protocol (IP)-network based standard interfaces between all forms of communications components. For instance ECRIT and Geopriv working groups in the IETF NG112 have already defined standards applicable to Next Generation 112.

The NG112 committee of EENA has published a Long Term Definition document, where existing standards have been re-used as much as possible and the work already done by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA ) was an inspiration for adaptation to European Public Safety Access Points. This document was also updated to reflect the changes in the last years in standards, specifications, methodologies and to the I3 Specification maintained by the NENA.

By nature, the NG112:
• is to be designed with open standards and to utilise standard components, that can genuinely and easily be rolled out by all relevant stakeholders
• should support interoperability, dealing with the issues of disparate legislative, operational and geographical constraints
• should enable a coordinated approach to create a network architecture (system-of-systems) giving the EU Member States flexibility to deploy NG112 systems

Within Europe we must create a way that authorities can cooperate. To be able, for example, to forward calls in different media there is a need for standardisation. An extra benefit is that citizen can use their IP based devices seamlessly in all the EU member states to connect to all the emergency services.

Furthermore with the NG112 concept in place authorities have the possibility to coordinate and support emergencies that have impact in another Member State with the same tooling and generally using the same procedures as their other “day to day” emergencies.

On a political (EC) level there should be agreement that emergency services should upgrade their technology to NG112/IP networks and be interconnected.

When agreeing that upgrading to NG112 should be implemented within the Member States, standards, high level processes and legislation must be agreed between the Member States.

The EC should, at earliest opportunity, mandate the Standardisation Development Organisations to provide an approved standard for NG112 implementation.

Any future directives that will be approved by the EC should consider the work done by the appropriate European standardisation bodies. Such directive should also include provisions for Member States to have a national implementation plan for NG112.

The experts recommend the EC should ensure that there is a NG112 testing platform available for functional and end-to-end testing of NG112-compliant products and components.

Emergency Services should make sure that information sharing and communication protocols should be interoperable. The interconnection of PSAPs and Control rooms should be done following related standards.

Within PSAPs’ and control centres' (Emergency Services) employees should be trained to handle all types of communications between authorities using different media and with other countries.

5.6 Top Story 6 - Harmonisation of public warning systems ("Modular systems for warning/informing the public en masse")

The normal business of Emergency Services is to react on single emergencies, e.g. fires, burglary, road traffic accidents and alike. In seldom cases they have to deal with events where it is evident that the standard response will not be sufficient – but that people would have to protect themselves. This is the time when public warning is at stake, a method whereby local, regional, or national authorities warn/inform the public en masse of an impending or current emergency.

One has to distinguish between early warning when there is some time to inform the public (very effective in the context of natural disasters such as floods or forest fires) and immediate warning, needed when an unexpected incident happens. In both cases the population has to be instructed to protect themselves.
Public warning systems are an integral part of a warning strategy, used by PPDR for the dissemination and communication of warnings.

Warning of the public may be necessary in case of natural disasters and also man-made ones. Some of the natural disasters like extraordinary weather conditions (such as heavy storms, excessive heat, excessive cold, floods, even Tsunami) allow for an early warning of the public. Others, in particular the man made ones (e.g. release of a toxic cloud after an industrial or traffic accident), happen instantly and unexpectedly, requiring immediate warning of the public en masse.
Identified gaps
The experts identified that currently no pan-European strategy for public warning exists. The approaches adopted in Member States are different, in particular concerning the communications means used.
All existing communication means that can be used for public warnings (e.g. sirens, radio broadcast, TV broadcast, SMS, Cell-Broadcast, Internet, Social Media) have their advantages and disadvantages (as described below). It is worth noticing that people with communication disabilities (blind, deaf, hard-of-hearing) cannot be reached with some of the warning means/media in use today. Moreover, there are major differences in the use of new technologies (e.g. the use of mobile devices and the Internet varies between different countries, social and age groups).
The main challenges for the dissemination and communication of risk-related information and early warnings are:
• warnings should reach all of those at risk
• risks and warnings should be well understood
• warning information must be clear and usable

A modular warning system contains as many means for information en masse as necessary to reach the largest possible part of the population that could be affected by the emergency.

Member States should have a modular warning system defined that covers the authority to citizens communication, taking into consideration the different levels and impact of incidents, the different agencies involved and the "rules of engagement" when communicating in different situations.

Modular warning systems using all available modern communication means would improve efficiency of public warning in Europe and therefore will further contribute to the reduction of injuries and losses of lives and properties before, during and after an emergency.
Warning means
Even within a modular warning system there is still a need for improvement of the constituent warning means, which should be considered mainly within the Member States.
The experts stated that the new concept for warning of the population should include also the use of various modern and future-oriented technologies without forgetting the already well established – not at all out dated – means.
Although sirens are not used everywhere in Europe they can be considered as very efficient to wake-up people and direct them to use other means of information about an on-going incident.

In some European regions the different sounds a siren can produce have specific meanings, which become important when time is critical and people have to rely on their own capacity to protect themselves.
Information campaigns are needed to ensure that citizens understand the meaning of the sounds and especially the expected reaction for self-protection.

On EC level, harmonization of the meaning of different siren signals is needed to assure that everybody (including travellers) understands the reason of the warning, the associated urgency and the best behaviour to adopt.

Radio broadcasting
The recent major natural and technical disasters have confirmed, both at a national and international level, that the radio is a very convenient warning and information means.

Additional alert elements are needed (e.g. via acoustic signals) to draw the population’s attention to imminent hazards in an appropriate time, i.e. “wake them up” – and tune the radio on.

On Member States level, research should be done to see whether legislation is needed to secure radio channels to be used by authorities in case of large-scale incidents and/or events where the public needs to be warned regarding their safety.

Television (TV) broadcasting
Especially in the context of heavy storms, TV proved to be very efficient in informing the public before they were actually hit by the storm. TV is also efficient to inform about on-going activities of the Emergency Services in the response phase, which may become important when citizens have to wait for help longer than under normal conditions.

Because of the large numbers of TV channels, citizens may not be aware of the official channels for public warnings. Information is mostly given in the local language only.

EC should identify whether legislation is needed to secure television channels to be used by authorities in case of large-scale incidents and/or events where the public needs to be warned regarding their safety. If necessary, EC should support Member States to oblige the television networks to broadcast emergency warnings, if needed.

Short Message Service (SMS)
An important advantage for using SMS is that no extra/special devices are needed for this type of service because the majority of the population uses mobile phones. SMS is a very quick and straightforward way of reaching people in a certain area or a specific pre-defined target group; it can be used not only for wake-up but also for basic information. Furthermore SMS can be seen as an intermediate solution for communication with people that are not able to hear other warning messages.

Besides the obvious limitation on the amount of characters in each short message, another limitation is to give priority to SMS (although current technological systems have almost ruled out delays and loss of messages except for extreme situations)
The warning for a postcode area will be sent to the registered mobile phones for that service - regardless of whether they are located in the area or not.

Finally the delivery of warnings via SMS can be hampered by an overload in the mobile network.

On Member States’ political level an effort should be made to secure the retrieval of information from the telecom providers about mobile phones, which are booked into the network, to ensure that as much potential affected people in an emergency can be reached.

Cell Broadcast
Cell Broadcast is not as affected by traffic load as SMS; therefore, it may be usable during a disaster when load spikes (mass call events) tend to crash networks:
• It works via mobile phones, which the vast majority of citizens are carrying;
• It has the ability to alert and instruct everyone in a country or smaller groups, based on their geographical location, within minutes.
The use of this service is currently depending on the end user making some configuration changes in their phone and choosing to receive the information.

As a follow up on the EC project EU Alert4All legislation to push forward a harmonised implementation of Cell Broadcast in the Member States and solutions to implementation issues should be researched. Especially the pre-configuration of handsets to be able to receive the cell broadcast messages is an important issue to be solved

The Internet
The Internet can carry an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW), the infrastructure to support email, and peer-to-peer networks.
Information about risks and hazards may be given to the public by competent authorities:
• severe weather conditions, e.g. storm, heavy rain/snow fall, freezing rain
• flooding, flash flood, tsunami
• avalanches, eruptions, earthquakes
Most countries do use websites and news blogs for sending out mass communication regarding large emergency alerts.

All experts agreed that the Internet cannot be the unique way of communication because of its limited availability during large disasters, potential power failure, potential overload of the network and/or servers under the current technological implementations. Moreover, trustworthiness may become an issue for the people using websites and Internet sources in general.

Raising trustworthiness of emergency-related information conveyed via Internet is an issue requiring research on EC level so that all citizen know where to find PPDR information when needed, not depending on where they are in Europe and without having to second-guess the information.

On Member State level a legal framework to protect emergency-related data published on Internet should be implemented.

Smart Device Applications (Apps)
As the number of people using smart phones or tablets shows a continuous increase, Apps may reach many citizens, which are regularly using Apps for different reasons.

Apps specially designed for communication from authorities to citizen and/or vice versa could answer many of the main aforementioned challenges for the dissemination and communication of risk information and early warnings.

In the context of public warning the most relevant aspects of Apps described in Top Story 3 are
- At present, there are no pre-installed Apps available in smartphones, citizens are free to decide to download or not Emergency Services' Apps.
- Interoperability of all Apps and devices is not guaranteed.

Research should be done within the Member States concerning the legal and practical status of Apps in the context of public warning and information.

5.7 Top Story 7 - Data exchange between Emergency services ("A European framework for data exchange between Emergency services ")

Efficient communication during rescue operations and emergency management is everything but a trivial task. The need (urgent and real) to get messages sent, transferred, received and understood is an every day challenge for stakeholders and decisions makers, who have often to face situations where delays or misunderstandings may lead to the loss of human lives.

When aiming at implementing an efficient cooperation between different organisations in an emergency situation, the concept of interoperability (intended as “a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organisations to work together [inter-operate]”) comes in with its complexity. It involves the ability of devices to work together, the possibility of people to understand each other, the capacity for decision makers to have the same understanding of what is actually going on and the availability of cooperation frameworks for exchanging resources and information.

In this context, an efficient sharing of information in form of data exchanged between emergency actors is highly desirable. While a few examples of successful implementations exist across Europe, at the moment there is not a unique framework defining data formats, data exchange mechanisms and terms to be adopted for implementing interoperable Control Rooms.
Identified gaps
This Top Story aims at more interoperable Emergency Services (ES), able to take information from several sources (citizens first, but also sensors and web-services) and share them efficiently with other actors, identified (without priority) by their specialisation, their jurisdiction, their relevance and pre-existing cooperation agreements.

Achieving full Information interoperability requires a number of pieces in place:
a) An infrastructure connecting computers
b) An agreed protocol for having computers “talking to each other”
c) An exchange mechanism for having information moved between computers (Interoperability)
d) A data format for structuring the information to be shared
e) A way for representing what is supposed to be shared unambiguously and computer-friendly (terminology/taxonomy)
f) A user interface for presenting information in a human-friendly way (e.g. GIS)

Interoperability between Control Rooms (CR) as well as between Responders (RE), relies on a number of agreements about both the definition and format of the shared information (bullet points a to c).

Some shortcomings exist on points a) and b), in particular for what concerns secure and ubiquitous communications but in particular a gap has been identified on point c): the way CRs share information today is not standardised and very often left to local solutions or to specific implementation by vendors, without any guarantee that systems can effortlessly be compatible in case of need.

While data formats (bullet point d) allow information to be shared by means of computers and digital systems, a common terminology or taxonomies may help to achieve a common understanding of "what" a side wants to communicate with the other side (bullet point e).

There are gaps on both points d) and e), currently only addressed with partial or local standards. Progressing on both data formats and terminology/taxonomies is considered a high priority, targeting a full understanding between CRs: without that progress, even a successful data sharing protocol may not guarantee an efficient interoperability between Emergency Teams.

An effective use of the shared information and interaction between actors requires a computer system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data in a powerful user interface (bullet point f), usually implemented as a Geographic Information System (GIS).
Most emergency services use fleet management systems, which enable the dispatch of the most appropriate resources in terms of capability, availability and attendance time. In most cases these are proprietary solutions which are neither interoperable on data level nor are based on a common taxonomy.

Although several products exist and all the basic functionalities of a GIS system are available in CRs, still shortcomings have been identified in the graphical representation of objects and concepts, potentially leading to misunderstandings or slow reactions. Moreover, there are significant discrepancies in the available base maps, in terms of quality, details and richness: the quality and quantity of information are defined locally and there is no standard available across Europe.
Interoperability between Control Rooms
Having agreed on data format, content and meaning of messages, a mechanism should be implemented for transferring them from one PSAP to another or other ones. Such a mechanism should be transparent to the legacy systems and highly efficient, available, reliable and redundant.

The network of experts’ opinion is that there should be mutual aid agreements between the corresponding administrative divisions of the neighbouring regions / countries also for limited scale cross-border events in addition to the existing ones on State level. This calls for an action at political level by both the European Commission and the Member States for defining a legal framework to become a reference to agreements between governments at any level (from national to local)

Further to the definition of such legal framework, additional actions are recommended for the implementation of the sought cooperation between regions. In particular, the European Commission and the Member States should aim at establishing agreements covering a range of operational agreements, such as ownership of information, segmentation of messages, liability of responders when dealing with alerts shared by other forces, official communication chains and protocols to be implemented for specific events. This will have to be followed-up with appropriate monitoring actions.

The definition of coordinated mechanisms for alerting, information sharing and emergency management at European level and by means of multilateral agreements between Member States should be reported in formal documents, targeting a standard approach. The related documents (e.g. directives, guidelines, decrees) should be prepared in all languages and included in training programs, hence avoiding risks of misunderstandings.

Where political and procedural agreements aim at the creation of common command structures or joint control rooms, appropriate Research and Development actions must be initiated by both the European Commission and the Member States for ensuring the widest interoperability between local systems. The data sharing mechanisms will have to be based on the lesson learnt from current systems and aim at a fully scalable system, flexible enough to be adaptable to all situations and not limited by the use of proprietary standards. Follow-up implementation and monitoring programs will have to be launched, with regular exercises organised by the Member States.

The correct interpretation of the meaning of alert, messages and visual symbols is considered of paramount importance. In addition to an effort for collecting and organising whatever is being used and is deemed as needed, the European Commission is recommended to initiate appropriate Research and Development programs for organizing such a large and disperse amount of information and accommodate it in a usable and interoperable structure. The experts suggest focusing on a taxonomy that will be multi-purpose and allow an efficient organization of information for many computer applications.

Although not directly pertaining to this Top Story, it must be stressed that to achieve full interoperability between Control Rooms, reliable, secure and robust network connections must be in place. This includes, at least, a common Research and Development effort by the European Commission, the Member States and the Emergency Services.
Data formats
Information must be organised so that computer programs can easily handle them. This includes the matching with existing formats and legacy systems, but, in the meantime, the organisation of information should be still understandable by humans and should be flexible enough to accommodate future data and media.

Overall, a wide action by the European Commission is called for, aimed at defining legal provisions about data organization and sharing, launching dedicated research and development projects and mandating the definition of a common European standard.

Under such action by the European Commission, Member States should start multi-lateral legal agreements for defining the political and administrative interfaces between States, Regions and Emergency services. Defining such agreements and monitoring their actual implementation, will achieve operational alignment of procedures and formats.

On a similar path, Member States should define and monitor the implementation of training and exercises for practitioners, so that full interoperability is achieved. The adoption of standards is clearly strongly suggested.
Taxonomy in this context focuses on information retrieval and it is to be understood as the classification of terms describing:
• Incidents / events which require actions from Emergency Services
• Resources (hierarchical levels, personnel, appliances, consumables, etc.)
• Predetermined responses (missions)

In emergency response there are many similarities to the military taxonomy, which encompasses the domains of weapons, equipment, organisations, strategies, and tactics and was used as a starting point by the FP6 project OASIS, which has developed the TSO (Tactical Situation Object) described in the CEN Workshop agreement CWA 15931-1.
To achieve a better understanding between ES, information must be tagged, organised, clustered and properly retrieved and presented. Also for data sharing there must be a way for choosing the most appropriate action according to objective criteria understandable by computers.
Some attempts have been made to create organised terminologies and taxonomies, but still no common standard has been defined, agreed and implemented.

A first action comes from the consideration that when agreeing common terminology/taxonomy between relevant parties, terminology/format issues on political/administrative level must be agreed between the countries including data formats. This is clearly a high-level action and it is expected that the European Commission will launch both a legal initiative that should define a cooperative framework to be adopted by Member States. Such initiative should also be complemented by mandating the definition of European standard.

A more concrete action suggested for both the European Commission and the Member States is the implementation and monitoring of a process for defining clear procedures about emergency handling, rules of engagement and authorities in charge when cooperating internationally. As a follow up of this, the use of common terminology/taxonomy should be applied and understood by all parties: training and practical exercises should be organized on a regular basis.

An additional "implementation and monitoring" action allocated to Member States is the adoption of common glossaries and definitions across countries so that the meaning of the shared information is appropriately understood regardless of languages, cultures and practices. This must be done aiming at the minimal (or no) loss of information during the sharing mechanism, including the solution of any IT barrier (network connection, protocol, firewalls etc.)
GIS - Geographic Information System
GIS systems do exist and are used in all PSAP systems and Control Rooms. Even if with different features, they perform a number of fundamental functions, allowing a better understanding of the situation and representing a great tool for understanding the evolution of a situation and the deployed resources. In principle, they can be seen as an interoperability tool, since they allow different forces to share and represent geographical information with standard formats and get a common awareness of situations.
Standards and directives (such as INSPIRE) exist and are (not evenly) applied and yet ES work with a different quality of information, leading to potential problems in both incident management and fleet/asset management.
The experts acknowledged that a common geographic information system is a key element for an effective response to an emergency. The quality and quantity of the information offered to the user are defined locally within the Member States, regions and there is no standard available across Europe. The way geographical information is managed across PSAPs is rarely aligned and that may hamper the decision process.

The European Commission should launch Research and Development projects aimed at defining user interfaces (e.g. graphical functions, icons, colours etc.) standardised across member states and regions, thus improving the understanding of the emergency situations. The example of the current geographic information system used by border control (EUROSUR) and its evaluation could lead to the next steps. This must be accompanied with the definition of common cartographic projections, descriptive tags and icons, labelling, others. Moreover, since many different proprietary systems exist, the sharing of information requires the definition of data models.

As an additional observation, base maps may also differ in details offered to the users, leading to possible different levels of knowledge about the affected area and incident specific data. This will require an action by the European Commission to define the standard minimum quality of maps and by Member States to implement and monitor its provisions.

5.8 Top Story 8 - Cross-border cooperation during emergencies ("Empowering full cross-border cooperation during emergencies ")

Cross-border cooperation is the collaboration between adjacent areas across borders.

In the European Union this is one of the forms of territorial cooperation (in addition to transnational and interregional cooperation). The European model is very diverse with cooperation between border regions or municipalities, or through specific cooperation structures. These structures are usually composed by public authorities (municipalities, districts, counties, regions) from different countries organized in working communities, EUregions or European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs).

In the latest EUChatRegio launched by the EC - General Directorate for Regional Policy the topic of ‘European Cross-border cooperation: Collecting information on remaining obstacles at EU internal borders’ was introduced as follows:

“More than 1/3 of the EU population lives in border areas - approximately 14.800 Km - along 38 internal borders made up of geographic and linguistic barriers. Overcoming political division and building bridges between nations have been key objectives of the European Union since its creation. National borders have, for many centuries, shaped the continent's socio-economic development. Still today, some of the EU's internal borders hinder the free movement of goods, services and people.
Looking closer at border obstacles is key to identify possible EU policy objectives for the future. Tangible or intangible – obstacles can have many forms and shapes: from incompatible regulation to low labour market mobility, from language barriers for businesses to bottlenecks in transport and energy.
Despite 25 years of INTERREG undeniable successes in reconciling former enemies and fostering cooperation across EU internal borders, there are still issues to be addressed.“

Although issues related to emergency response are not mentioned in this statement, there are some initiatives already existing. The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for example was set up to respond to major natural disasters and express European solidarity to disaster-stricken regions within Europe. The Fund was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Since then, it has been used for 63 disasters covering a range of different catastrophic events including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. 24 different European countries have been supported so far for an amount of over 3.7 billion €.

In addition to this within the ESENet project experts identified the need to have a look also on cross-border cooperation in case of day-to-day emergencies: such situations develop at lower scale than disasters and yet may have a large impact on the safety and well-being of citizens living in border regions.
Identified gaps
It is generally accepted that an Emergency Service cannot be designed on the basis of the worst-case scenario. In general, the level of risk accepted by the society in a municipality or region, defines the setup of an Emergency Service: in other terms, the service should be capable to handle the most frequent incidents but will not be able to manage the worst incidents without external support.

Incidents, which are large in scale and/or with a tendency to escalate, are less frequent and sometimes can go beyond the service’s capability to deploy appropriate resources (manpower, vehicles and material). Avoiding escalation and minimizing damage requires more resources. The most economic way to enlarge the emergency response capacity is to rely on mutual help from neighbouring Emergency Services.
While within Member States the legal background for such mutual help agreements is quite easily built, in cross-border cooperation this turns out to become a quite difficult issue, especially when the administrative divisions of the neighbouring countries do not perfectly match and the competences are not equal. Furthermore Emergency Services may have different equipment and their personnel may act on different competence levels, e.g. in Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Whenever an incident happens in the vicinity of state borders, interoperability during emergency response becomes a major issue. The interoperability issues mentioned hereafter are currently not completely solved both at Member States and EC level:

a) Legal issues
• Mutual aid agreements
• Incident Command System
b) Resource management
• Data format
• Mapping
• Fleet management
c) Information sharing,
• Taxonomy
• Mission Critical Communication
Legal issues
Mutual aid agreements
On Member State level there are bilateral mutual aid agreements established, which are the basis for helping each other during major disasters.

On Member States political level, there should be mutual aid agreements between the corresponding administrative divisions of the neighbouring regions / countries also for limited scale cross-border events in addition to the existing ones on state level.

The EC should collect good practice from regions, e.g. EUregions, where mutual aid agreements have already been signed and motivate other Member States to follow these examples.
Incident Command System
Emergency cross-border response requires a formal command structure with clear lines of responsibility. In the management of an emergency response a 3-level command structure (Strategic, Tactical and Operational command level) is considered as the most efficient approach.

On EC level the 3-level command approach described in the CEN Workshop agreement CWA 15931 needs review and update in order to ease the setup of a Unified Command whenever cross-border cooperation is at stake.

It is not enough to solve the legal issues. Especially when language and procedural barriers exist thorough preparation of a unified command (Incident Command System), the resource management, common procedures and practical exercises are necessary in order to ensure that the mutual assistance works well when needed.
Resource management
When planning the resource management one has to distinguish between two different scenarios, namely the deployment of resources (material, crews, logistics) to a neighbouring country which needs support on one hand and the reception of resources from the neighbouring country on the other.

In the pre-planning phase on the tactical level the available resources in the region have to be listed together with their deployment characteristics (manning, attendance time, consumables, etc. )
In the intervention phase on the operational level the actual deployment/management of resources is on focus. Seamless exchange of information, e.g. data about the incident, the amount of resources needed / requested, location of resources, is needed.
Therefore interoperability issues must be solved with respect to data format, mapping and fleet management.
Data format
Interoperability between Control Rooms and Responders relies on a number of agreements about both the definition and format of the shared information.
Data formats allow such information to be shared by means of computers and digital systems.

When sharing data with another country it should be able to do this without loss of information. To achieve this, research and standardisation is required with the involvement of the EC, to be followed by the regulation/legislation on the Member States level.
It is one of the most important tools for interoperability in a multi-lingual environment.

EC and Member States shall establish procedures for sharing geographical information about situations (e.g. extensions of toxic clouds or local weather forecasts) without restrictions because of jurisdictions.

Emergency Services cooperating cross-border should implement the technical features necessary to make the location of resources (e.g. squads, engines) and layers with relevant assets (e.g. hospitals, water places) available as geographical features without loss of details.

The use of standardised icons and terms within the Geographic Information Systems used in the Control Rooms should be enforced by neighbouring Emergency Services to improve shared situation awareness in case of activities on different jurisdictions and/or multi-lingual barriers.
Fleet management
Most emergency services use fleet management systems, which enable the dispatch of the most appropriate resources in terms of capability, availability and attendance time.
In most cases these are proprietary solutions which are neither interoperable on the data level nor are based on a common taxonomy. The quality and quantity of the information is defined locally and there is no standard available across Europe.

Standardisation on EC level is required in order to come to an agreement about automatic registration of location, availability, status and type of emergency response units entering the emergency services’ communication network of another country.
Information sharing
Cross-border cooperation requires a significant and intense sharing of information between control rooms belonging to different emergency services (e.g. Fire Brigades and Emergency Medical Services) or to different jurisdictions (at the level of Municipality, Province/County, Region and Countries).
Common terminology/taxonomy can lead to effective direct data communication between the stakeholders and ensure that its contents are clearly understood e.g. language differentness, specific expertise agency by agency, etc.
Taxonomy in this context focuses on information retrieval and is to be understood as the classification of terms describing:
• Incidents / events which require actions from Emergency Response Services
• Resources (hierarchical levels, personnel, appliance, consumables, etc. )
• Pre-determined response (missions)

Legislation based on research shall be initiated by the EC to ensure that a taxonomy for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) will be made available similar to the one described in the CEN Workshop agreement CWA 15931.
Mission Critical Communication
During daily operations and emergency responses, responders depend on secure, reliable and timely access to critical information to carry out their missions. Attaining interoperable communication among responders is thus one of the key objectives of all relevant authorities carrying responsibility for responders.
Responders require interoperability to communicate both with other responders and external EU partners.

For mission critical communication establishing a common radio channel/spectrum on EC level and purchasing standardised equipment by Emergency Services is needed for enabling responders to communicate both with other responders and external EU partners.

Experience shows that the quality and efficiency of emergency response mainly depend on the knowledge and skills of the response teams in using the appropriate equipment and applying proven tactics. Knowledge and skills are raised with high frequency of interventions - this holds true also in cross-border response actions.
Day-to-day cooperation will raise the quality of life, e.g. the physical safety of citizens, in the border regions and will pay out whenever large-scale incidents need a unified response.

Further information
Further information on Data Format, Mapping and Taxonomy can be found in Top Story 7 - Data exchange between Emergency services, while Top Story 4 - Mission Critical Communication deals with Mission Critical Information in more detail.

5.9 Top Story 9 - Business continuity and contingency management ("Improving PSAP availability")

Introduction and context
By the very nature of the importance of the PSAPs and the critical infrastructure they represent, PSAPs are required to be available to the general public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. This "always available" status poses many challenges and the management of the risks associated therein are complex and extremely important for the public safety of citizens.
Besides clogging of calls and major emergencies that may cause a call overflow, there are a lot of other reasons why the emergency services can become partly or completely unavailable.
That may be due to technical failures (such as an IT or telecommunications failure), natural disasters and catastrophic events (such as earthquakes, storms, floods) that can cause a spate of incidents where a surge in emergency calls can exceed the availability of telephone lines or call-takers to handle these calls. The magnitude of such incidents varies depending on the impact that they cause.
For this, Emergency Services need to undertake a risk assessment process to determine which risks can occur, what the change is if they occur and the impact they have when the associated threat materialises. A major part of handling this is determining the measures to be taken when a risk occurs. Besides the impact a risk can have on Emergency Services, there are also other aspects to be considered in an active management of a certain risk: Social, Technological, Economical and Political aspects (STEP). Also there can be situations where handling a risk is so expensive that it is not possible to completely exclude (or reduce it to a minimum) a risk from happening (for example increasing the availability of the infrastructure from 99.99% to 99.999%). When all the risks are listed and scored the next step is to find the appropriate way to manage them: accept, avoid, reduce, fall-back or transfer.

The redundancy of control rooms (where the control room has the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system, usually in the form of a backup or fail-safe systems) and its Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can be seen from the individual PSAP’s perspective where each PSAP has to undertake its own redundancy plans for its own infrastructure. It also should be viewed from the perspective of collaboration between PSAPs especially when operational procedures have to be established to allow for the interoperability between PSAPs when they become unavailable. Such collaboration should be made between PSAPs from the same region/country or from different regions/countries.
The two ways of implementing redundancy are passive redundancy and active redundancy. Both functions are aimed at preventing performance slipping under specified limits by using extra capacity and without human intervention. Passive redundancy uses excess capacity to reduce the impact of component failures. Active redundancy eliminates performance decline by monitoring the performance of individual components, and, if needed, reconfiguring resources automatically to overcome deficiencies.

For relatively straightforward risk management interventions such as the handing over of emergency calls to another PSAP when the PSAP is experiencing excessive call volumes or where there are technical issues, a rigorous call overflow strategy is needed. Call overflow occurs when demand capacity exceeds supply; in other words when the PSAP experiences higher volumes of emergency calls than what was expected and had planned for. Such an "overload" of calls can be affected by large emergencies, e.g. severe weather events, terrorist attacks, multi-vehicle traffic accidents. In such cases, some PSAPs have introduced a "buddy system" where they have agreements in place to transfer calls between each other. Such scenarios can arise when:
• a citizen can place an emergency call but cannot reach the PSAP (congestion or PSAP is evacuated/offline), and;
• a citizen can reach the PSAP but cannot reach a call-taker (call rings out without being answered or call is put in a queue without being answered).

There is an additional scenario that can occur when the citizen is unable to access his/her network due to congestion in the telecommunications network and whilst this is outside the control of the PSAP, the telecommunications network provider is responsible to ensure such a risk is mitigated. In fact Recital 35 of the Universal Service Directive (2009) – amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services states that:

“In future IP networks, where provision of a service may be separated from provision of the network, Member States should determine the most appropriate steps to be taken to ensure the availability of publicly available telephone services provided using public communications networks and uninterrupted access to emergency services in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure, taking into account the priorities of different types of subscriber and technical limitations.”

Article 23 “Availability of Services” of the same Directive states that:

“Member States shall take all necessary measures to ensure the fullest possible availability of publicly available telephone services provided over public communications networks in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure. Member States shall ensure that undertakings providing publicly available telephone services take all necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency services.”
Identified gaps
In the context of each individual PSAP's own responsibility for its infrastructure, the experts discussed and agreed that each PSAP should establish its own Business Continuity Plan (BCP), taking into account the perceived risks and how the PSAP should react if such a risk presented itself. However, in doing so, PSAPs have different perspectives on the need to establish its BCP and what the BCP should contain. As a result, some PSAPs could be under-protected and could be vulnerable. The BCP should look at ensuring that the PSAP can continue to operate in the event of a risk item materialising (e.g. power failure, ICT failure, overload of calls etc.) and the PSAPs should look to meet the international standard associated with contingency management and BCP (e.g. ISO 22301:2012 or BS 25999).

Many gaps have been identified in situations where a PSAP needs to cooperate with other PSAPs. As a first instance, a collaboration framework between PSAPs from different regions/countries is often not established and this may mean that there is no formal arrangement in place. This issue can result in a lack of basic agreements, in different operating practices and procedures between PSAPs resulting in a lack of basic interoperability with different regions/countries.
In addition to this, the sharing of data and information is often not possible, resulting in the inability of PSAPs to interoperate with each other on a technical level. There are several reasons for this such as the PSAPs using different IT systems, different databases, different radio and critical communications systems and sometimes using different languages and terminologies.

The experts agreed that there needs to be a common approach for dealing with call overflow so that adequate and consistent actions are taken. The strategy should also cover regular testing of call overflow response plans. Items like common/shared databases should be part of an overall strategy between PSAPs. The experts also agreed that all PSAPs should have common operational responses for calls originating in another region (for example geo-location based routing). Neighbouring PSAPs should be aware of the response plan in other PSAPs/control rooms and any special mandate(s) the PSAP/control room has (e.g. if it serves a near-by chemical plant etc.). Moreover, calls that are re-routed should be identifiable and flagged to the call-taker as being so to enable him/her to react in the most appropriate manner. The experts also noted that the PSAP management should ensure that the call-takers are adequately trained to deal with those calls re-routed to them.

The experts also concluded that any information or data being exchanged between PSAPs should be consistent and clearly understood. When a call is being re-routed the receiving PSAP should be able to receive and interpret the data seamlessly, with no loss or latency experienced. More detail on the handling of data exchange is covered in TS 7.

The recommended actions made by the experts are at a legal, operational and technical level and require different responses by different stakeholders. Such stakeholders are recognised to be the European Commission (EC), the Member States or the Ministries/Public Authorities responsible for the emergency services and the Emergency Services (ES) themselves.

The EC should ensure that there is a legal instrument in place to mandate that Member States have appropriate and up-to-date business continuity and contingency management plans in place.

A harmonised minimum set of requirements could be created in order to ensure that common minimum redundancy measures exist for the Emergency Services in Europe. Such a set of requirements should be proposed by the EC, implemented and monitored by the Member States.

Member States should have appropriate national legislation and processes in place to ensure effective cooperation such as fall-back, call overflow management between Emergency Services on a local, regional or national scale.

Emergency Services should have operational procedures for handling calls coming from outside their geographic area of responsibility and that the call-takers and dispatchers should receive special training to ensure that they know the procedures.

Member States should ensure that any shared information or data should be clearly understood by the collaborating Emergency Services and steps should be in place to ensure no such information or data is lost.

The impact of the recommendations being implemented would be highly effective towards the achievement of greater protection and security of citizens. All of the stakeholders involved would have some work to do to achieve them but they are all perfectly achievable and realistic. Many of the European Emergency Services have adopted these recommendations already as "good practice" but are doing so without any legal obligation. Clearly placing these "good practices" on a more formal footing would make sense and would create certainty and more of a defined role for this important topic. The impact would be felt immediately and would follow up on a topic, which is one of the priorities of the European Commission and the Member States.

5.10 Top Story 10 - Improved Call Management ("Offering a better service in handling emergency calls")

Call management is the first step in the emergency management process. The ways calls are taken and managed today is based on an audio call and often are based on call forwarding and/or queuing systems between call takers and dispatchers. This crucial step in the emergency handling should be supported by the best available technology and processes and should also be monitored and managed with the best quality of the handling of emergencies in mind.
Identified gaps
Call taking systems
Minimum service levels are usually defined by the PSAPs. It is very important to manage these service levels. To be able to do this, the gathering of information and the definition of how to monitor these levels are very important. The most used method for this is the definition of Key performance indicators. These indicators can be defined as "response time to pick up a call", "how long it takes before an emergency is assessed", "how long it takes before the appropriate resources are dispatched" or "how long it takes the first emergency responders to be arriving on the location of the emergency".

During the call management process, all the information that is connected to the emergency is collected during the various process steps. It is crucial not to lose any information while handling the call. Nowadays, when transferring a call for one service to another, or from a call taker (1st level PSAP) to a dispatcher, information may be lost because of the lack of automated transfer of this data.

Clear and harmonised procedures for managing incoming calls must be defined at EC level.
• Clear Key performance indicators should be defined and monitored throughout the call management chain
• Information derived from a call must be usable by any stakeholder in the emergency management chain.
• All information pertaining to the received call must be forwarded when a call is transferred from a PSAP to another PSAP or between PSAP of different levels in the same organisation.
• When receiving or forwarding a call, the Caller Location and Identification data are also shared and managed. This must work in any inter-emergency services call transfer.
Interactive voice response (IVR)
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and dual-tone multi frequency (DTMF) keypad inputs. IVR systems can respond with pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR applications can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple interactions. IVR systems deployed in the network are sized to handle large call volumes. In emergency scenarios IVR is a very powerful tool to fight hoax calls by introducing a short but firm announcement for relevant 112 calls and also to inform the callers about major accidents or cases currently being processed by the respective PSAP to lower the load of calls during crisis.

Interactive voice response is a controversial and sensitive topic due to many pros & cons it brings with it. On one hand it can significantly decrease the amount of hoax calls that often cause denial of service by building in a temporary period where the caller should take action or make himself heard to be routed towards a real person, or for example being put in an automated process after the first assessment of the call is “silent call”. On the other hand, in an emergency situation the citizen first speaks with a computer delaying the response by the call-taker. The EU arena is also split into 2 groups: pro IVR and against IVR. The initial response of the experts was that IVR should not be used as a first step in the call taking process, but it could be very valuable in for example handling silent calls and repetitive calls (multiple witness calls regarding the same incident).

The experts also found a gap in the technology. When using IVR, it is important to be able to handle all possible input devices. So the IVR should for example not be depending on tone responses only. Also the use of smartphones and touch screens makes this issue to be considered.

The EC shall set Recommendations/Rules/Directives on the use of IVR and how IVRs should be put to the best use in the context of emergency calls, also considering the issues of:
• tone versus pulse dialling when IVRs are in used;
• standardised and EU wide applicable rules for usage of IVR should exist in order to prevent possible liabilities and controversies.

Everyone living, working or visiting the EU should be informed about whatever the standard is in regard to IVR, again to prevent any surprises.
Recording and archiving
All calls must be recorded and archived for future reference. Different systems exist and different level of functionalities and performances are offered. The possible decision to manage video calls or data streams poses new challenges in both the technologies needed for proper archiving/retrieving and the size of the resulting databases.

No standard for recording and storing information is defined at European level. Therefore the Member States should arrange for legislation and ground rules for 24/7 recording of calls from the citizen to the PSAP for future reference and if required analyses of emergency calls and for archiving of each record for a period of time based on local Member State legislation.

The way calls are archived and retrieved when needed should be aligned to ensure equal treatment and availability of the source of information. This is particularly relevant for cross-border calls and calls involving third parties (interpreters, relay services).

Within Emergency Services, when a call needs to be managed by different agencies (not necessarily within the same region), responsibilities who records and who can retrieve must be clear and rules must be clearly defined about information property, privacy and ethical issues.

Source calls (audio, video, text, etc.) are an important bit of information for assessing critical situation and learn from experience. Emergency Services should implement means so that such information shall be retrieved and shared between agencies.

Potential Impact:
The ESENet project has on many levels broken new ground.

It has created during its relatively shortly lifetime a set of user-driven, citizen focused recommendations on mission critical issues that effect all European citizens and emergency services. Its objective from the start was to identify interoperability gaps that currently exist, analyse them in their entirety across the emergency services provision chain and to agree, with the input of experts, a set of recommendations which should be implemented by the relative stakeholders.

In so doing, the project undertook significant reviews of many different topics but all the while acutely aware of the European perspective and impact. It was a challenge certainly to constantly retain the pan-European perspective and not to get too deeply involved at national or even regional topics. This strategic perspective was important but at the same time there was recognition to ensure that all of the topics identified were thoroughly understood and analysed.

In the end the project delivered on its core objectives which was to firstly establish a network of experts across the different emergency service organisations from Europe and also to provide a set of recommendations to help reduce or remove the interoperability gaps that currently exist. The recommendations that have been proposed are specific, realistic and implementable. As such the range of recommendations covered topics such as improving the interoperability and availability of PSAPs, establishing data exchange protocols between emergency services to improve data exchange with each other, the harmonisation of public warning systems and the improvement of cross-border cooperation during emergencies.

These topics are not topics that the project team or the experts created on their own; these topics have been long-standing topics, which have required addressing for a considerable length of time by the relevant stakeholders. Some of the recommendations on these topics can be resolved in the short-term, others in the medium term but none of them are items that we can afford to leave unresolved for any length of time.

In many cases the recommendations are legalistic requiring new or updates to legislation in order to create the mandate or obligation. In some cases the recommendations are of a standardisation nature calling out for new or updates to standards. Some are implementation of existing legislation or standards and some are actions to be taken by the emergency services themselves.

To ignore the recommendations would be a retrograde step and would allow the current interoperability gaps get wider and wider. Citizen’s expectations, technology development and standardisation progress are all moving and changing and the recommendations need to be implemented to keep apace with these changes.
We therefore believe strongly that the recommendations need attention by the stakeholders identified. It is possible of course that the stakeholder identified may need the imprimatur of others; that is of course perfectly understandable and widely encouraged.

But as the adage goes "fail to plan, plan to fail" and quite simply, the blueprint for better interoperability amongst our emergency services is contained in the project final report. It therefore needs to be analysed, understood, planned and implemented by all the stakeholders identified.

List of Websites:
Project public website address:

Project Coordinator: Dr. Uberto Delprato, IES Solutions - Via Monte Senario 98, 00141 Roma, Italy -, +39-346-6367499

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