First Responder H2020 network

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Dear first responder,

We would like to invite you, first responder/practitioner to participate in a 100% practitioners H2020 network proposal.

Why participating in this call?

It is in our responsibility to deal with natural risks like floods, string rains and storms which are closely connected to technical risks. Too often we don’t have the resources to closely monitor the research and innovation projects to better deal with these risks.


RespondNet focusses on analyzing current research and innovation projects. Together with actual training we develop a clear vision on what our common requirements are, what needs to be developed and how we can improve our performance.

Together with European colleagues we share our projects, lessons learned and articulate our needs for recommendations practitioners like us are looking for to implement.


Together with Police, Fire Services and Paramedics of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom we have come to a network proposal RespondNet.

About the co‐ordinator vfdb

vfdb or the German Fire Protection association is a non-profit organisation with more than 3000 members working among others in the fields of fire safety, environmental protection and disaster prevention. This network brings together blue light first responders to better deal with new circumstances and new incidents. 

Please contact

OUTCOME OF 4TH EFRIM meeting Flooding

The 4th European First Responder Innovation Managers meeting took place on the 23rd and 24th of February 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Welcome by Carl Daniels, JESIP UK
Welcome and an introduction to the event to discuss various aspects of flood response, shared challenges and the potential for shared solutions.


Introduction to the EFRIM platform by Peter Duin, researcher at the Dutch National Police.

The EFRIM platform aims to build an informal EU network community for first responders to share information and gain understanding of common issues being faced by first responder organisations across Europe. This in turn could lead to multiple countries working together to develop share knowledge, consider solutions and stimulate innovation.

This peer-to-peer platform will create special interest groups around certain topics. These groups will then develop solutions and voice their needs to the policy makers in the EU and to the research centres and to industry.

Building the EFRIM platform is in the early stages and work is underway to establishing an appropriate structure and appropriate sustainable funding.

How do we respond to floods and what innovations have there been?

German approach by Ansgar Stening, Head of Resource Planning, Joint Operations, Civil protection and research, Rescue Department Gelsenkirchen.

History shows that Germany is faced with flooding threats coming from the sea (1962 Hamburg) and from the rivers like Rhine, Elbe and Oder. The 2013 flood threatened vast areas of about 7 (central) European countries causing severe social and economic damage of about 13 billion euros lost and about 4 billion of insured damage. The 2014 flood in Münster was an exceptional rainfall flood and the current thinking is this may be a new phenomenon caused by climate change.

The command structure of the first responder organisations in Germany is based on 16 federal states with the federal government in Berlin. The tasks of the Federation are carried out by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, by other ministries within their remit, by the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance and by the Federal Agency of Technical Relief (THW). In case of a flooding, districts and towns are responsible for on-site crisis management. Regional commissioners support the district and could take over the responsibility in case of a major incident but this is very rare. The fire service takes a dominant role in the case of a flooding but the majority of the fire service staff are volunteers. As the German police has a different structure than the fire service, there is a liaison officer coordinating the communication between the services.

Within the German civil protection coastal and inland flood protection are the main drivers. Coastal and inland flood protections have a different approach, have a different responsibility and have different views. In Germany there is no centrally directed training on flood protection and states have their own training. The training is based on a general approach.
In the technical approach (large) pump logistics and sandbag logistics play a dominant role. The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) can assist with their large pump systems.

Recent floods provided some notable practice. As fire service staff are volunteers, the duration of the floods caused some challenges having to replace volunteers because they had to return to their main jobs. The gathering of information via social media was faster than via official bodies. Operating with mobile command teams/forces worked very well. Incorporating spontaneous helpers raised some crucial questions about how long they can do the work, which tasks can they do and what is needed by the organizations and how best to inform them?

English approach by Nick O’Key

Nick O’key is Area Manager responsible for Risk Management at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service. Cumbria is a rural county and one of the most sparsely populated in the United Kingdom.

At the end of 2015 the UK experienced the effects of 4 storms in close succession. On 5 December, the Met Office issued a red severe weather warning for rain in Cumbria, with 150 millimetres (5.9 in) to 200 millimetres (7.9 in) expected in some places. This storm was given the name Desmond.

The exceptional heavy rain led to the fire and rescue service deploying a range of flood protection measures including sandbags, 6 high volume pumps (from other parts of the country), 12 type B boats. They used a coordination centre in a local town (Penrith). The news made national headlines and there was a lot of press coverage. Authorities used the media to help reassure the public they were doing everything they could to get the floods under control but also had to call in the army and other civil protection organizations such as the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, Bay Search and Rescue service, the Salvation Army and 4×4 volunteers.

In Cumbria over 7000 properties were flooded, one man lost his life and about 18,132 properties were without power. Around 1000 sheep were lost and two bridges washed away which caused significant damage to the main road that runs through the county. Road diversions had to be set up causing a lot of disruption to local residents and the emergency services. Overall the total cost of public sector is currently estimated at £500 million pounds.

The first responder organisations were very happy with the help of the local resilience forum who provided help in a number of ways. . One of the challenges was the number of volunteers that wanted to help along with boats to rescue people, however, there was no way to know if these people were equipped properly and may end up needed rescuing themselves. It was difficult to manage these well-intentioned individuals.

A new system was used during the flood response called SARCAL. This system was developed by the Coastguard and allows resources to be deployed more effectively and provides a continual log of activity and resources.  Use of SARCAL led to more efficient deployment of resources.

Dutch approach by Marcel Matthijsse, Managing director “National Project water crisises and evacuation”
After extensive flooding in 1953 which resulted in 1836 casualties, the Dutch government developed the Delta Plan to shorten the coastline and strengthen the dikes. This plan consisted of a series of construction projects in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a large area of land around the Rhine and Meuse Scheldt delta from the sea.

Since 1953, the land protected by this work has been built on and communities established on the land, but this has increased levels of vulnerability in this area due to an increase in citizens with less flood awareness. In addition there are interdependent systems and a very complex society. Increased occurrences of flooding along with the latest research has raised awareness of the potential damage caused by floods (health, economy, society and ecology) within the civil protection and infra organizations. They have now started to better prepare for floods. One of the major issues is the need to raise the awareness amongst the Dutch population and improve the resilience.

In the Project Water and Evacuation the Safety Region Councils, the Ministry of Safety and Justice along with the Steering committee of Water Crises and Flooding work together. This project focuses on analysing the direct and indirect risks in the vulnerable areas, they have developed a strategic evacuation decision process, information exchange protocols, increasing self-reliance and developing a common language.

Central in the risk assessment is the multi-layer safety approach. Preventing flooding by enforcing the dikes is the first layer. Realizing 100% prevention is not possible, smart designing of the infrastructure can help to deal with the event of a flood in very extreme conditions and will lower the damage. The third layer is developing an emergency management plan now, which will help authorities decision making when evacuating people either from above (via their attics or by helicopter) or at ground level. If the plan is followed it is anticipated the effects of the flood will be reduced. Part of the emergency management is raising the awareness for flooding and improving the resilience of the community.

The role of the UK Military in flood response & recovery, UK Military Wing Commander Rich Langley OBE RAF

In the UK, military support for civil emergencies can be requested by the local authorities. The standing Joint Commander (SJC) is responsible for command of Ministry of Defence resources when they are deployed to respond to national crisis. Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) is the collective term used by the Ministry of Defence referring to the operational deployment of the armed forces of the United Kingdom. This support of the civilian authorities helps in areas such as assistance in emergency situations and the maintenance of public order. The military can play a role in preparation, during and with the recovery from flooding.

The military can provide other capabilities such as disposal of explosives, stand by battalions, imagery and aircraft, niche capabilities (helicopters) and other capabilities like divers.  The task of the military is determined in cooperation with the local community, through the local authorities, central government and the Ministry of Defence.

During the recent flooding, the presence of the military was of interest to the national media. This continued focus by the media meant there was awareness of the flooding and its affects were known amongst the public and it did help to ensure further assistance was provided with the recovery operations.

Keith Strickland AD Resilience Training & Doctrine UK Civil Contingencies Secretariat

Making decisions in the early stages of a multi-agency incident is essential and requires reliable information. Sometimes not all the relevant information is available in the early stages of an incident and even then information has to be verified before it can be relied upon. However, when information about the incident is confirmed, it’s important that all relevant parties are aware as quickly as possible. This is why establishing a Common Operating Picture (COP) is important.
Keith discussed the challenges for staff in making decisions about emergency response based on a common operating picture. How many factors can affect what commanders do in these situations until information is verified and fully understood by all.
He discussed that technology can help in terms of gathering or providing information but the key part has to be the interpretation of all information by the people involved in the response. A common platform for information sharing is useful but technology alone cannot be relied upon. Keith provided many examples where language and the incorrect interpretation of it, can actually be a barrier to establishing shared situational awareness. This is not necessarily the fault of an individual or group of individuals but we have to remember the human factor when interpreting data.

Using vague words, abbreviations, unclear graphical representations and sharing information without a clear context can make the process of establishing shared situational awareness very difficult.
As part of the work the Cabinet Office have done to encourage information sharing across communities in the UK, it has developed a platform that can be used to help emergency services and others involved in community resilience. It is called ResilienceDirect and Keith discussed how part of this tool can be used to help responders get an individual situational awareness to a shared situational awareness with a focus on things like terminology, procedures and improved communication. In this process there is a shift from focussing on IT and technology towards people/organisations. In summary it is important to remember that technology and data are enablers, but people and communication between them add meaning.

Information Sharing in a crisis, ResilienceDirect, Luana Avagliano

ResilienceDirect is an online network that enables civil protection practitioners to work together – across geographical and organisational boundaries – during the preparation, response and recovery phases of an event or emergency.

During the Cumbria flooding, ResilienceDirect was used to share information, which was especially useful where bridges were closed and where infrastructure such as main roads were destroyed. The system was able to use a mapping facility to allow local authorities to plan diversions where there were closed roads or bridges. This system also provides information on the extent of the floods including addresses via its aerial images.

The information the system can provide is very useful for local response teams who have to report into the national Government committee that meets when there are national emergencies in the UK. The system can help ensure all involved have a shared understanding about what is happening which helps build a common operational picture and make appropriate response plans.

Facilitated Discussion Flooding – Common Lessons and a way forward, Megan Anderson, University of Leiden

During a workshop Megan Anderson asked the participants to fill in the value proposition canvas model indicating the problem that needs to be solved, the “customers” pain and “the customers” gain. On the other hand the participants could address what EFRIM could do for them, how EFRIM could address the challenges and help to create a gain.

From the discussion, it became apparent some key innovation areas in EU flood management include improved management and coordination strategies for volunteers and third party organisations, better outreach strategies for raising awareness among public and improved evacuation management strategies.

There is significant overlap in terms of challenges in flood response across the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. These challenges include sharing information across organisations and regions, in terms of day-to-day operations and real-time response phases; integration of volunteer groups and ‘spontaneous helpers’ and raising awareness among the public; keeping the public engaged and prepared in between disasters.

Some countries had developed some notable practice with systems or processes to address certain challenge areas. These were of interest and potential inspiration to other countries. For example, Germany has struggled with managing ‘spontaneous volunteers’. The UK has developed an approach to address this in the UK, which provided the German representatives attending with inspiration for a similar volunteer management framework. The Joint Organisational Learning (JOL) concept (launched in the UK in 2015) and its supporting structures and technology were of interest to representatives from other countries struggling with similar issues of failing to learn from past incidents.

EFRIM could be particularly valuable as a mechanism for sharing notable practice and inspiration, and directly linking various stakeholders across particular interest areas. The key benefits that EFRIM could develop include:

  • building connection and coordination of stakeholders both online (website, social media platform)
  • offline network (conferences, networking opportunities, workshops for end-users)
  • facilitation of document/template sharing and compilation of EU notable practice
  • support for calls for funding for end-user driven innovation projects.

Digital technology aiding interoperability, Gavin Young EBY Design

EBY is a design agency helping companies and organizations with connecting their clients to their audience by their design services, develop digital products for effective communication and communicate brand values by providing marketing and PR services.

  • After the initial two year programme, the JESIP website needed re-focus. They had produced the guidance (Joint Doctrine), a range of supporting products and information over the first two years and needed those products to be the focal point of the website.
  • The website and the new mobile app should communicate the five principles of joint working and supporting models. EBY developed an intuitive, functional website communicating the JESIP brand.
    JESIP needed to ensure a broad range of people working in emergency response could understand and apply the guidance JESIP had produced. If JESIP is used by all emergency responders then it would help provide the public with an improved multi-agency response to incidents.

EBY developed a mobile app for JESIP to broaden awareness about JESIP, act as a prompt for staff dealing with incidents and be used as part of refresher knowledge after training.

Why is organisational learning important – why & how can we learn across Europe? Hugh Deeming, Research consultant, HD Research

The aim of the Embrace project is to build resilience to disasters amongst communities in Europe. Resilience can been seen as the capacity of social, economic and environment systems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain their essential function, identity and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation learning and transformation.

Within the context of change and disturbance the EMBRACE team developed a disaster risk governance model based on learning (e.g. risk/loss perception, critical reflection), actions (e.g. civil protection and social protection) resources and capacities (e.g. Financial physical and human). A report into major incidents in the UK written (by Dr Pollock) showed that it is important to have a system to ensure that lessons are learned on an on-going process and staff trained in changes required.

The flooding in the North of England showed that the communities were well prepared and flood-aware because of past flood events and some property was saved. Support teams were praised by their ability to operate largely autonomously and connect people to resources.

The Embrace team adapted the three loops of learning:

  • are we doing things right?
  • Are we doing the right things?
  • Is the defined “right way “becoming too forceful?

It developed support tools for triple-loop learning. Embrace emphasize on on-going process of learning both in formal and informal networks.

How JESIP has developed Joint Organisational Learning (JOL) for the UK Brian Welsh, Area Manager. JESIP – FRS Senior User – Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

As part of JESIP developed to improve multi-agency response in the UK, a new Joint Organisational Learning (JOL) process and application were developed. It has been recognised that in the past emergency services in the UK have not acted on lessons identified from many past incidents and emergencies. It has also been noted that there is not point in reviewing events from the past unless you intend to act on any issues identified.
JESIP launched JOL in 2015 and identified a single point of contact in each service to ensure that can submit any issues they identify following involvement in multi-agency response. The intention is to ensure joint working amongst emergency services, other response organisations and partner agencies can continually improve.  Services can submit learning onto JOL where all the lessons are monitored, carefully analysed and risk assessed against the probability of the issue occurring again and its impact.
Based on this input the interoperability board approves actions to be embedded onto service policy, procedures or training activities. JESIP has an assurance mechanism to confirm change has occurred.

Examples of the JOL activities are sharing identified lessons, influencing key changes to command and control at counter terrorism incidents and an active involvement of JESIP in a number of recent major incident debriefs to ensure any learning is captured.

How could EFRIM help? Potential funding sources – Horizon 2020 Dirk Oberhagemann, German Fire Protection Association

EFRIM is preparing a Horizon2020 network proposal for funding in response to a recent call for bids for funding. Dirk Oberhagemann and Michiel Poppink will write this proposal. It will be sent out to the EFRIM community with the invitation to comment and support the proposal.

From the information provided by the EU and comparing it with the intentions for EFRIM, there are some challenges, which need to be addressed. The call is focussed on practitioners in the same discipline, which is not a realistic approach due to the fact that in case of an incident all three services are involved. Instead of positioning the end-users in the same discipline like only fire fighters or police or paramedics, the proposal will be positioned as task oriented first responder organisation working from one control centre dealing with 3 service teams. The call asks for proposals monitoring research and innovation projects. The EFRIM proposal would want to see a solution provided and then being implemented.

It is suggested that the EFRIM proposal will try to ensure our requirements are met within the scope of the definition of the call. The output will be broader then only technical innovations and reports but may include guidelines and/or requirements for social innovation projects. As risks are often interconnected, the objective of EFRIM is to concentrate on natural risks and interconnected failures.

EFRIM – how can it help? – Michiel Poppink, Dutch Safety Institute
The innovation landscape of the European first responders is highly fragmented and dominated by commercial organisations and research organisations. The challenges first responder organisations are faced with are increasingly common from country to country while budgets are declining.
In addition, the first responder organisations are underrepresented in the European Union.
Therefore several first responder organisations took the initiative to use the collective experience by building a European platform for end users/practitioners (EFRIM). By coming together as a forum, the intentions and ambitions of the practitioners can be aligned and special interest groups can be developed around certain themes like flooding, terrorism and resilience.
Based on the outcome of the meetings of the special interest groups, the needs of the first responders can be voiced to the European Commission. EFRIM focuses on sharing knowledge and learning, identifying common problems and developing end user focused (EU) projects. EFRIM will co-ordinate these special interest groups, liaise with EU departments and facilitate funding bids.

Agenda EFRIM 4

Dear Sir, Madam,

The 4th European First Innovation Managers meeting will take place on February 23rd and 24th in Manchester, United Kingdom. Please find below the agenda for this workshop.

Hope to welcome you at this EFRIM meeting in Manchester.

Kind regards
Carl Daniels
EFRIM team & JESIP team

Please note this is a first responder only meeting.

Agenda day 1 February 23rd 2016
 Time Presentation
 12:00 – 12:30 Arrival, registration and lunch
 12:30 – 12:40 Welcome Carl Daniels, Deputy Senior Responsible Officer of JESIP
 12:40 – 12:50 Introduction to the EFRIM platform, Peter Duin, Researcher Dutch National Police
How do we respond to Floods and what innovations have there been?
 12:50 – 13:20 German approach by Ansgar Stening, Head of Resource Planning, Joint Operations, Civil protection and research, Rescue Department Gelsenkirchen
 13:20 – 13:50 English approach by Dave Winchester, Head of Contingency Planning– North West Ambulance Service
 13:50 – 14:20 Dutch approach by Marcel Matthijsse, Managing director “National Project water crisises and evacuation”
14:20 – 15:00 Coffee & Networking
 15:00 – 15:30 The role of the UK Military in flood response & recovery, UK Military
Wing Commander Rich Langley OBE RAF
 15:30 – 16:00 Building a Common Operating Picture, Keith Strickland
UK Cabinet Office
16:00 – 16:30 Information Sharing in a crisis, ResilienceDirect, Luana Avagliano
 16:30 – 17:15 Facilitated Discussion Flooding – Common Lessons and a way forward, Megan Anderson, University of Leiden
 17:15– 17:35 Digital technology aiding interoperability, Gavin Young
EBY Design
 17:35 – 17:50 Conclusions & closing remarks from Day 1, Carl Daniels and Michiel Poppink, Project Manager EFRIM Dutch Safety Institute
17:50 – Drinks reception with thanks to EBY Design, all are welcome
19.30 – Dinner, at Albert Square Chop House, at own cost, all are welcome
Agenda day 2 February 24th 2016
 8:45 – 9:00 Making of group picture in front of Manchester Central Library
 9:15 – 9:45 Why is organisational learning important – why & how can we learn across Europe? Hugh Deeming, Research consultant, HD Research
 9:45 – 10:30 How JESIP has developed Joint Organisational Learning (JOL) for the UK Brian Welsh, Area Manager. JESIP – FRS Senior User – Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service
10:30 – 11:00 How could EFRIM help? Potential funding sources – Horizon 2020 Dirk Oberhagemann, German Fire Protection Association
11:00 – 11:15 Coffee and networking
11:15 – 11:45 EFRIM – how can it help? – Michiel Poppink, Dutch Safety Institute

  • Connecting countries through membership
  • A platform for identifying issues and innovative solutions
  • Maximise funding opportunities
11:45 – 12:00 Conclusions & Next Steps Carl Daniels, JESIP UK
12:00 – Close & Lunch before departure
14:00 – Steering Group – post lunch
Midland Hotel


Central Library Manchester, meeting room 3, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

Manchester Piccadilly is the nearest mainline station and the following are some nearby hotels (covering a range of budgets) you may like to consider (the JESIP team are at the Ibis):

Information and reservation:
For more information and reservation, please contact or visit

Co-organizers of this workshop:
Beschrijving: Beschrijving:
Beschrijving: Beschrijving: Beschrijving:



Outcome 3rd EFRIM meeting

The 3rd European First Innovation Managers meeting took place on the 17th and 18th of November in Münster Germany.

Outcome of the meeting:
After the welcoming words of Dr.Ludwig Frühauf of the Federal Police Germany, Michiel Poppink of Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid gave an introduction about the history and essence of EFRIM.

Carl Daniels of JESIP explained in detail how this interoperability program was developed, how it was structured and how EFRIM could get inspiration from this.

Key points in the following discussion were:

What is EFRIM?
EFRIM is a European first responder network for research and sharing knowledge.

What is EFRIM doing?
By investigating past incidents, new circumstances and changes in society on a European basis, this platform can help the European first responder organizations to broaden their perspective to deal with challenges they are faced with. Focussing on the notable practices, lessons learned and the lessons the organizations didn’t learn, EFRIM helps to improve the learning process. The outcome helps both to improve the organization of the services and to articulate the needs of the organizations which knowledge centres and industry can help to fulfil. This way EFRIM can initiate practitioners driven projects and represents the multi services on a European level. Several steps to be taken to formalize the network are discussed.

Possibilities for a Horizon2020 call:
Dirk Oberhagemann of the German Fire Protection Association shared his experiences with filing Horizon2020 calls. EFRIM will investigate the possibilities to apply for a network call. First responder organizations of European countries are invited to join this meeting.

During the second day the group discussed how to develop cooperations with other organizations like CTIF and the Community of Users.

Call for action: 
Based on the discussion steps are being taken to further structure the organization and to start the research.

Extra information:
Powerpoint presentations and extra information are available by sending an e-mail to

We welcome representatives of the first responder organizations to join EFRIM. Please send a mail to

Safe the date:
The 4th EFRIM meeting will be organized by the JESIP organization on the 23rd and 24th of February 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Hope to welcome you there.

Kind regards
Michiel Poppink

Minutes of second EFRIM meeting


Minutes second EFRIM Meeting June 30 and July 1 The Hague The Netherlands

European cooperation of innovation managers of first responder organizations

“EFRIM give the European first responders a voice”

EFRIM is a platform for European First Responder Innovation managers. The final goal is to improve the safety and security of the European society. To do so the tri services should improve their cooperation to facilitate the first responder in the street to better deal with new threats and the change in society. Moreover EFRIM could better influence the European safety and security agenda. “Industry and knowledge centres are much better organized to deal with European projects. First responders should improve their organization to maximize to outcome of the EU projects. Elle de Jonge of the National Police says: We are going to change that and want to realize more end-user driven projects. The Dutch, Belgium and German first responders and Infopol are amongst the initiators of the EFRIM platform. June 30 and July 1 EFRIM had their second meeting in The Hague.


EFRIM by Elle de Jonge.

EFRIM sees a strong need for a more balanced position of the end users in the European safety and security domain. A lot of the European tri services struggle with the sub optimal participation in European R&D projects. Quite often the services are asked to participate in a project at a later stadium or at the end of a project as that is a requirement of the European Commission. Very rare the responders are involved from the start of the project. Industry and knowledge centres are more dominant in that phase. As a result the solutions are often shelved, as they don’t meet the fundamental requirements of first responders in the street. EFRIM wants to help European First responder organizations to voice their needs and share their expertise with the projects in a structured way from the start of the projects. According to De Jonge the unique aspect of the EFRIM network is that although the organization is structured, the meetings are informal and open to intrinsically motivated people. The boss does not send us but we rather want to be part of the network to work on a shared ambition.

Beside improving the position of the first responders in Europe, EFRIM brings together innovation managers of the first responder organizations to share knowledge and stimulate cooperation on innovation or research projects to better anticipate on incidents and changes in the society. Special interest groups(SIG) work out specific theme’s and activities. For example the tri services of Belgium and the Netherlands will start a special interest group RPAS. Other European countries can participate in this SIG. Michiel Poppink of Instituut Fysiek Veiligheid, one of the co-founders of EFRIM, is happy with the outcome of the EFRIM meeting in The Hague. It is all about improving the safety and security of the European citizens. With that end goal in mind we have to work on how to improve the service of the first responder organizations.  We want to reduce the fragmented landscape of these organizations and see how we could better coordinate activities by bringing together these entities. This will make the tri services more efficient and more effective.

A new vision for the Dutch Fire Service by Ricardo Weewer.

The Dutch Fire Service invests a lot of time and money in innovation and research at the moment. About 5 years ago, a lot of  projects to improve certain aspects of the organisation and the performance  were going on. It became almost impossible to manage. Therefore the Dutch board of chief fire officers developed a vision for 2040. In his presentation, Ricardo Weewer, professor of Fire Service Science at the Dutch Fire Service Academy gave an update on the developments in The Netherlands: “innovations are an important part of that vision. Beside technical innovation the focus is on product, cultural, organisational and financial innovation.  One of the key innovations is the strategic doctrine for fire safety. We have discovered that fire safety is not only achieved by fire fighting but there had to be more attention on fire prevention..

Research and innovation
In 2008 three fire fighters died while on duty. That led to a big change within the Dutch Fire Service organization. We came to the conclusion that the fires changed in time due to the use of new materials in buildings while our procedures were still the same. In case of a fire, we enter the building to fight the fire. We call that offensive inside attack. If we can’t enter a building, we try to minimize the damage and prevent the fire spreading to other buildings. This is what we call defensive outside attack. We added two new forms of fire attacks to that. The first is offensive outdoor attack in which the fire fighters improve the tenable conditions and prevent the fire to spread outside the building. The fire is attacked from the outside without going inside but how do you do that? We don’t have equipment for that and we haven’t much experience with that. Therefor we focus our research and innovation on this tactic. The second tactic is the defensive inside attack. With this tactic we try to prevent the fire spread to other buildings. To do this we are looking for new innovative technologies. Innovation without knowledge of fire dynamics and fire spread is impossible according to Weewer. Therefore the Dutch fire service has developed a multi year research and innovation program that fits the strategic vision on the fire service in the year 2040. One of the innovations that has already been developed is the Quadrant Model for Building fires. Research is, amongst other topics, aimed at the development of techniques to attack fires from outside.

999EYE by Warren Melia

A emergency call indicates two fire fighter trucks are needed. Arriving at the incident the fire fighters immediately requested for 8 more trucks. Warren Melia of the West Midlands Fire Service described this event for which the Fire service attracted a lot of criticism: we haven’t sent enough trucks. Everybody agreed on that.  If we have had the right information, this wouldn’t have happened. The 999EYE project was developed to improve the allocation of the right information. West Midlands Fire Service has developed a smartphone system that would allow people making 999 calls to stream video directly to operators and give them a first-hand glimpse of the scene to better determine what response is needed. The 999eye system will be an “enhancement” to the existing 999 system, for use when operators believe they could gather more useful information from seeing the scene themselves. The video stream can be initiated during a normal phone call via a special SMS.
“999EYE” brings us a step closer with the situational awareness and command & control” says Melia. Moreover it helps us in a joint first responder operation. Due to this project the tri services have the same images of the incident which improves the interoperability.  The information allocation project 999EYE uses command and control software Panda from the US. The despatch centre streams the  images to the devices of first responders who are at the location of the incident. At these devices the first responders have geographic information like maps, which are automatic updated. It is also possible to plot a certain area in case of CBRN threat. A first responder who enters that area will be warned automatically by the system.

Interoperability project JESIP by Carl Daniels.

“First responder organisations are there to save lives” says Carl Daniels, Deputy Senior Responsible Officer of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Program (JESIP). The 2005 London bombings, floods and Cumbria shootings make it very clear that interoperability amongst the emergency services needs to be improved. This improvement is the aim of  JESIP. Daniels states “Interoperability should be routine”. The JESIP Programme introduced new ways of working, underpinned by key principles to develop that routine. It is mainly a culture program. A report collating the interoperability lessons from a number of inquiries and reviews into major incidents over the past three decades stated: lessons identified from the events are not being learned to the extent that there is sufficient change in both policy and practice to prevent their repetition.  We don’t adjust and synchronise our processes and procedures. Therefore we first developed joint doctrine for Emergency Services: the interoperability framework. It is the bedrock for present and future joint working. In order to help increase use of commonly understood language within the emergency responders, the Civil Protection Lexicon was adopted and developed with a view to defining and clarifying the terminology used within the emergency response sector.  Moreover we developed one decision making model for all emergency services.

One of the most important parts of JESIP is the testing and exercising. In one year we trained over 11.000  emergency service commanders and around 1600 control room staff.  The training  is delivered in a multi-agency environment with representatives of all the emergency services present., which further improves the interoperability.  A further 50.000+ first responders have completed the e-learning packages for first responders and Commanders.

To deliver this training JESIP developed a network of  540 interoperability trainers who were licensed  to deliver JESIP courses, with validation of the training being provided through 24 days of live exercise. Interoperable working has to be fundamentally ingrained in the culture. Therefor training is very important and cooperation has to be the golden standard. Other JESIP tools are the  website ( which is currently being redesigned and an APP will be launched in around Sept/Oct 2015.

To ensure that lessons do become learnt, JESIP has developed a secure Application for Joint Organizational Learning which enables responders to share lessons and notable practice anonymously.  This is a real boost for the project. Discovering problems and implementing solutions is very important. Daniels doesn’t talk about “best practices” but rather like to use “notable practices”. He explains: “A good practice might work very good in one part of the country but might not work in the other part of the country”. Therefor we focus on the used principles. “Use those principles and translate them to your situation”.

Within the UK JESIP is widely recognized the support of the relevant government departments and the professional associations, linked with an appetite at the ground level has contributed to its success.  Strategic support is vital as they are the decision makers, however critical to the success is to provide a clear vision, good management of expectations, robust communication and efficient stakeholder management.

Community of Users by Philippe Quevauviller

Mr. Quevauviller works for the DG Home of the European Commission. He came to the EFRIM workshop to support this initiative. He wants to further improve research programming, in particular the Security Research Program in the area of disaster risk reduction, by bringing together science, industry, governments and first responders. He sees a big role for the emergency services. Although there is a will to get the first responders involved, at this moment they are not well represented in EU projects. There is a obligation to get the first responders involved to get funding for research projects but in fact they don’t have an active role as users. As a result, the outcome of these research projects is rarely interesting for the emergency services and developed technologies are rarely purchased by them. This is a waste of money paid by the taxpayer. The Security Research Program intends to empower the position of the end users and to develop a work program in such a way it provides solutions to problems the first responders are facing. First Responder’s involvement is needed from the start of the programs until the end when results are to be tested in operational situations. DG home is thinking about helping to network existing training centers to be used for testing and possibly validating technologies and methods issued from research. This initiative could enable first responders to test technologies in such networked centers.  Quevauviller is very positive about the EFRIM initiative because it really represents the operational first responders, which is not necessarily the case of participants in EU projects at this stage.  A platform like EFRIM is from the first responders, is a bottom up and can help to bring forward representatives for all kinds of specific subjects. That is what is needed. The European Commission cannot work without your involvement. Through EFRIM you can voice your needs in Europe.

EFRIM works by Koen Depreytere:
“EFRIM was initiated in Belgium and the Netherlands” explains Koen Depreytere of the Infopol Foundation. The Infopol exhibition in Kortrijk brings together government, knowledge centres and the enterprises.  Together with Michiel Poppink he developed the idea to involve the first responder organizations, empowering their position and develop the dialogue with a focus on developing solutions the European First Responder organizations are really looking for.

The German Perspective by Marius Halbach:
Marius Halbach of  the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is an enthusiastic ambassador of the EFRIM platform. He sees quite often there is too much talking instead of real action to solve problems. Our people in the street have to take important decisions in a split second. If they have a problem, it should be solved swiftly. He sees EFRIM as a platform helping the first responders to articulate their needs and to give them a position in the national and international research and innovation programs. “Through EFRIM I found new contacts within the Dutch first responder network for a EU project we are working on. That is tangible proof EFRIM works.”

Discussion on how to further develop the EFRIM organization and the EFRIM Lead Group by Michiel Poppink.

During the discussion the group expressed their wish to develop EFRIM from an informal group into a formal structured organization to establish and accommodate informal networking and participants.
EFRIM should develop a close relation with the Community of Users of the European Union. It should be a clearinghouse for information sharing, organize conferences and cooperate in end-user driven(EU) projects(research, purchase). EFRIM could establish Special Interest Groups related to subjects like interoperability, UAV’s etc.  First responders of 5 countries signed the letter of support.

Please find two videos giving you an impression of the workshop and about EFRIM. Presentations and more information will be available upon request.

By Martin Bobeldijk, Turnaround Communicatie

Welcome to the European First Responder Innovation Managers (EFRIM) platform!

Dear visitor, European First Responder Innovation Managers Platform (EFRIM) strives to make European countries more safe and secure by improving the cooperation between Police, Fire Departments, and Emergency Medical Services and helping tri services to anticipate more effectively and efficiently on new circumstances and incidents in Europe. EFRIM is an European multi disciplinary network bringing policy makers, innovation/R&D managers and stakeholders of first responder organizations (including Civil Protection) together to deal with strategic, tactical and operational challenges of first responders. We do this by:

  • Developing an European platform of multi disciplinary chapters of innovation managers;
  • Organizing European expert meetings to set the strategy and translate it to clustered innovation projects by interacting with knowledge centres, the industry and other organizations.
  • Develop knowledge and a structure to generate a constant flow of funding for R&D projects and pre commercial procurement projects.
  • Cooperate with community of practice platforms to share best practices on how to improve culture, skills and processes.
  • Disseminate gathered knowledge.