Outcome of 5th EFRIM Exchange of experts meeting

Minutes of day 1, April 5th 2017

12:00 – 12:30 Arrival, registration and lunch

12:30 – 12:40  Start of the meeting and welcome

ü  Elle de Jonge (chief inspector of the Dutch National Police) and Michiel Poppink (secretary of EFRIM) welcomes everyone to the 5th EFRIM meeting;ü  Elle de Jonge chairs the meetings for the next two days;

The presentation of Elle: What is the status of interoperability in Europe?

  • Due to international developments there is a strong need for cross border cooperation between the first responder organizations in Europe;
  • The European Tri Services are fragmented and don’t have a joint European approach;
  • The industry and research centres are much better organized in Europe and have more influence on the European innovation programs;
  • EFRIM is a bottom up peer-to-peer platform for European first responders to:
    • Share knowledge;
    • Create special interest groups around certain themes;
    • Articulate our needs;
    • Voice the needs of the first responders to the national and European authorities;
    • A link to the EFRIM video clip;
    • Join the tendering to buy special equipment.
  • With this improved joined approach, the participation of the first responders could be improved and the outcome of these projects would meet the requirements of the first responders in the street;
  • Interoperability could be defined as a measure of the degree to which various organizations or individuals are able to operate together to achieve a common goal;
  • Department of Homeland Security and CITIG developed both interoperability approach and model. A link to the CITIG video clip;
  • If first responders in Europe could adept to an international standard, the cooperation with first responders in other areas like Asia, USA and Canada could be easily improved.
  • We could see these models as a starting point and possibly amend them to the European situation;
  • Elle brought two printed versions of the CITIG interoperability continuum, which he put on the wall. He asks all participants to plot their own country at these pictures to create a general picture where countries are when it comes to interoperability. This and the outcome of the interoperability survey from Rob Testelmans could help to voice the need for improving interoperability in Europe.

12:50 – 13:20 “Interoperability and the management of major incidents and disasters” Jean Paul Monet, Lieutenant Colonel from the French Fire Service

Presentation Jean Paul Monet:

  • There is a change in natural and man-made incidents. Climate change brings more bush fires, floods and hurricanes while there is a constant threat of terrorism.
  • In the same time, new technical possibilities like social media and unmanned systems (for example) introduce some new needs for incident commanders, in order to discriminate relevant strategic information.
  • The US Incident Command System (ICS) was developed several decades ago to deal with forest fires and natural hazards. After 9/11 the concept was widely spread in the US;
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency is responsible for organizing, teaching and training the first responders in the US;
  • Together with his colleagues Jean Paul compared the incidents command systems of the US to EU ones. A paper will be translated from French into English and will be distributed as soon as possible;
  • The scale of operations and the approach are different. For type 1 (major) incidents the US has a team of 46 persons available within 48 hours at the incident;
  • The US approach strongly focuses on dealing with logistic (sleeping, eating etc.), planning and finance (accountant on site);
  • For long lasting incidents these Incident Management Teams are working in cycles of 24 hours, giving briefings each 24 hours and planning for the next 24hrs;
  • Jean Paul would like to respect the existing national European systems, the sovereignty of each country in combination with the enrichment of those systems with the strong elements from the American system, and an integration at EU level;
  • The European Civil Protection Mechanism is based on modularity but not to replace the crisis management team during long lasting incidents.
  • Having a similar approach would even allow to replace the exhausted crisis management team by (inter)national colleagues;
  • Having such an interoperable system in place allows first responders to assist their international colleagues across the globe in case of major incidents and to be fully connectable with others (continents) teams.
  • These changes in command organization could be integrated and taught by the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

13:20 – 13:50 “Scottish interoperability training” by Douglas Sterling, Head of Unit Scottish Multi-Agency Resilience Training & Exercise Unit Service SMARTEU

Presentation Douglas Sterling:

  • Traditionally the tri services in Scotland were highly fragmented. Due to the shift to a single service a joint training program was put in place;
  • SMARTEU started to combine training and exercises for Police, Fire brigade and Ambulance service. This helps to identify gaps, lack of knowledge and created friendships on all levels;
  • The direct feed back and the attendance of representatives of the government at a large exercise helped to get a strategic buy in;
  • Douglas reports directly to the board of chief officers which helps to change for instance SOP’s easily if needed;
  • Smarteu created one training course using one language which improves efficiency, interoperability and the use of a similar language;
  • There is standard debriefing strategy with a tri service logist trained in the same way and using the same rational;
  • Currently there is a strong focus on developing a cross agency strategic leadership course and a Scottish Emergency Response Team;
  • In the SERT the tri services work closely together with other organizations like local authorities, Red Cross to get an integrated approach improving on logistic and technical assistance;
  • On the technical site they see there is a shift to massive data processing. Getting involved in innovation projects they saw the academia and industry developing technology for the first responders not knowing what the first responders are looking for. Due to their involvement there is a change to the project where the companies and academia are more listening to the needs of the first responders;
  • Douglas sees a big role for EFRIM to facilitate the general articulation of the needs from the first responders and get the industry and Academia to solve these issues;

The model: Elle shows the interoperability models.

13:50 – 14:20 Dutch approach, Speaker to be confirmed Bart van Leeuwen _ innovation security and safety –

  • Bart is both a fireman in Amsterdam and the CEO of Netage;
  • He fears something will happen to him or his colleague that later is find out that there was data which could have prevented the incident to happen but was not provided in time to the fire fighter;
  • Currently the information provided to the fire fighters about building is unstructured, not well connected and is too much;
  • To deal with this, available data should be linked in a better way and provided more easily;
  • He introduced a concept that could solve this issue to his boss but his boss said that he doesn’t need it. Bart was so angry that he decide to developed it by his self and started his own company;
  • The problem is that within the safety and security domain there is a lot of implicit terminology within the same organizations and amongst the other first responder organizations;
  • To define terms Bart co-developed the firebrary.com. This is an open electronic dictionary to give definitions for terms used in the Dutch first responder community;
  • Data systems for all disciplines have to speak the same language and have the same definitions and symbols.
  • Maps: border to border; understand what is on the map – nobody used this because the icons are very different in every department, organization and country.
  • Bart developed a system in which open data is linked and the meaning of the data behind the map is exposed so that everybody can easily understand the meaning of it;
  • Symbols or icons are translated so that cross border cooperation could be facilitated;
  • Bart is member of the “W3C Spatial data on the web working group” to clarify and formalize the relevant standards for publicly available data for the fire service standards on the web.
  • Bart will send the paper with the definitions to the EFRIM community
  • The word “critical” on a map of the water infrastructure people means something else then “critical” by the fire brigade. We don’t speak the same language although we were all Dutch people;
  • He is creating a public available open standard on the web, for all the disciplines. OGC making location count with W3C;
  • Concerning innovation culture in the Netherlands Bart thinks this culture must change. Innovation projects in the Netherlands may are not allowed to fail– the managers don’t want to be responsible for failure. The procedures of innovation have to change in the Netherlands. Elle thinks that innovation is not allowed to succeed. Cross Border and Cross agency.

14:20 – 15:00 Coffee & Networking
15:00 – 15:30 “Vision on interoperability in Belgium” Rob Testelmans, Head of General Management and emergency planning, Municipality of Geel, Belgium

Presentation Rob Testelmans

  • Rob works as a contingency manager at the Municipality of Geel in the Province of Antwerp and is doing research for his study at Campus Vesta on the state of interoperability in Belgium;
  • Starting point was the first shared building for Police and Fire Service in Belgium;
  • 2 control rooms of the fire brigade and the police room to share the information quicker, but they started to focus more on themselves;
  • Interoperable services are capable of communicating and understanding each other, they work together, build up capacity and jointly reach common goals and gives answer to how well the first responders work together as a matter of routine;
  • CITIG, DHS, NATO, JESIP and SMARTUE are examples of interoperability projects;
  • Security clusters principals imply interoperability by sharing standards, joint teams, joint procurements and joint strategy.
  • Focus points of interoperability are:
    • Technical Interoperability’s (communication standards, demand driven technology);
    • Organizational Interoperability (difficult because of egos, cultural differences), Information sharing (standard operating procedures Y joint processes);
    • Semantical Interoperability (same language and symbols);
  • Becoming interoperable is complex. The Interoperability continuum is a handy tool. It gives a good indication where you are and what road is ahead; This continuum is much focussed on the technical interoperability;
  • Rob has send out the survey to the gold commanders of the Flemish local and federal police, fire department, civil protection agency, contingency and disaster services, the federal crisis centre and the medical and ambulance services with 126 responses;
  • Some key results are:
    • More then half of them meet more then 12 times per year;
    • 95% agrees to a framework for shared procedures and processes;
    • There is an informal coordination and with the use of a national program the coordination could be improved;
    • The answers show a phase 2 for SOP’s with some elements of phase 3.
    • Phase 2 for training and education as 46% say they only train once per year with other organizations and all first responders recognize the importance of training together. The inquiry commission on the terrorist attacks recommends more multi organizational trainings in Belgium;
    • Between phase 1 and phase 2 for usage as 77% hasn’t participated in a joint purchase of technology although there are some recent examples. Half of the first responders say the technology is not entirely adapted to the specific needs of the organizations, there are very few joint standards and technology is often supply driven;
    • Phase 2 for organizational development. Exercises and incidents are evaluated but there is little focus on lessons learned and it has a mono disciplinary approach;
    • Phase 2 and 3 within reach for information sharing. Metrasso helps streamlining the flow of information while legal barriers permits free sharing of data;
    • Between phase 1 and 2 for usage dimension. In Belgium there is a strong multi organizational planning for festivals so 74% says they are interoperable for planned events. However 71% being interoperable in local events is surprise to Rob. Belgium just launched their incident and crisis management system it could help them further in the usage dimension;
    • The Herald of Free enterprise disaster of 1987 in Zeebrugge gave the first push for multi disciplinary thinking. The Brussel terrorist attack showed again the need for more interoperability. Several hurtles must be taken like more formal agreements on joint procedures, more standardization, more joint training and development of a common culture and structure;
  • Two best practices in Belgium are:
    • IBOBBO – is writen by Ilse van Mechelen and it helps to streamline the decision making process on a strategic, operational and policy level.
    • Metraso is a building block usable for any 1st responder organization arriving first on the scene. It improves interoperability for first responders and allows control rooms to get a good image of the incident.

Elle thanks Rob and he shares the need of semantical interoperability. He invites Rob to put post-it’s on the continuum where he thinks Belgium’s the status of interoperability is. When the others will do this for their country, we can compare the countries and give our governments an indication where we stand with interoperability in Europe.

Rob has been using the questionnaire from JESIP. JESIP has done two of these questionnaires in England and Wales to measure the effectiveness of their training. Rob Testelmans and Michiel Poppink are working together with Sergio Felguiras, Sonia Morgado and Lucai Pais from the Police Academy of Lisbon to make some amendments to the questionnaire. We will share the questions with the participants so they can get a feeling for the questions, check if they want to participate in this questionnaire and see if they need to make some amendments to it. In general the participants see the value of evaluating what the status of interoperability is in their country and in Europe. It is key to have strategic support or tell the strategic level you are at a certain level and you need to improve on several issues. Top down in combination with bottom up could be a good combination in this process. Rob’s work shows the current status of interoperability and gives recommendations to his government.

To voice the need for interoperability several obstacles and approaches are discussed.

Several obstacles are:

  • Risk reverse or closed cultures of first responder organizations;
  • Fragmented structures of organizations;
  • The gap between perceived level of interoperability and actual level of interoperability;
  • The seize of the country;

Possible approaches to improve interoperability are:

  • A combination of top-down and bottom up approach;
  • Invite higher level/politicians to visit multi disciplinary exercises to inform them about the gaps of what is going right and wrong;
  • Giving presentation about interoperability by EFRIM at the Community of Users meeting Q4 2017.

Bestand 29-05-17 16 30 33Bestand 29-05-17 16 30 3315:30 – 16:00 “Interoperability Continuum model DHS” Elle de Jonge, Chief Inspector Dutch National Police followed by a group discussion and the closing remarks for day 1.

  • The group splits up in 2 smaller groups witch each a poster size interoperability continuum model.
  • They are asked to plot post-its where their first responder services are concerning interoperability in their countries.
  • There is a discussion about:
    • Do we need to improve interoperability for all types of incidents;
    • The difference of importance of different sub elements of the continuum;
    • Scotland benefits very much from first focussing on multi disciplinary training & exercises to prove to senior level the importance of interoperability;
    • Technology and usage seems to follow the others.

Agenda day 2
April 6th 2017

8:45 – 9:00 making of group picture in front of the hotel
Photo is taken with the camera of Rob (Belgium)

9:15 – 9:45 Workshop: “How can we help our governments to improve interoperability?”

Michiel started the discussion about how to reach your government to improve the Interoperability

  • Italy and Scotland –try to reach their government more bottom up
  • Scotland: after the bombing incident in London the minister came to talk with the emergency during multidisciplinary training and was impressed. She saw the importance of the way they work and brought it to the parliament.
  • Germany has a very complicated structure.
  • A network with colleagues in Europe is very important to make a progress.
    We have to send a letter to the governments to bring the importance of interoperability in Europe of the threat of terrorism.

10:30 – 11:00 “How could EFRIM help to improve interoperability?” Michiel Poppink, Dutch Safety Institute

Michiel advice is to spread out the lesson learned and the best practices of what we already do. And how we can save lives if we work together.

  • EFRIM should facitilitate sharing information about incidents, best practices and lessons learned;
  • In Belgium and Scotland sharing knowledge about chemical suicides helped first responders to create a multi agency approach and to protect the first responders for the threat of the chemicals;
  • Scotland would like to develop a “proces” to share knowledge across the first responders in Europe. It would be very helpful if general feed back of for instance terrorist attacks would be shared across the services. Although specific information is difficult to share, more generic information could be shared;
  • Mayors of European cities will have a conference in Edingburgh. We might want to voice the need for interoperability;
  • Somebody explains ICC (www.crisisgroup.org ?)in Brussel is such an European platform to exchange info, but it seems only few use it. ICC analyses the big incidents in the world like weather alarms, fires, flooding- they share the analyses of the incidents with Europe;
  • Develop a process to adopt and develop a cross border scenario for a multidisciplinary training with other countries. Use the standards that already be used and try expand the standardization and spread the knowledge;
  • Sharing information should be starting small, with small stories, briefings or a 1 chapter with bullets email or a drawing or a short film. We have to brainstorm with creative people about what is the best way to share and to reach the target audience;
  • In Italy they sharing data within 24 hours to the first responders;
  • We have to make a sharp and short paper about interoperability and to get attention from the higher level;
  • In these two days we have to look where we stand with our countries, but EFRIM have to expand. Other countries should be involved. Sweden expressed their interested to join.
  • We have to make a list of meetings and congresses where all countries of Europe are presented and we have to try to get EFRIM at the agenda.

Presentation Italy Davide Pozzi
The presentation is how the fire department works on major incidents like Earthquakes. In Italy the police shares only a little information with the other first responders. Davide Pozzi, from Italian home office, gave a very interesting speech on data sharing through a specific process, CAP items and a data encapsulation protocol called EDXL. The discussion is about building trust amongst your first responder partners to share information. Belgium is running against some legal limitations. For example medical information is difficult to share. Hospitals don’t give information about their patients. There are laws that make it impossible to share information.

Presentation of Jan Willem Westerhof, student of the Police Academy in Holland. He

  • Jan Willem made a synopsis of the meeting so far;
  • Definitions of interoperability may vary but the core is cooperation between organizations which creates more then the individual parts;
  • Semantics plays a big role;
  • We can learn from the interoperability examples from Scotland, Italy, Belgium;
  • Benefits are clear to the first responders but the advantages should be calculated and presented to our governments to make it more clear why interoperability is so important;
  • Make a top down plan with monitoring and evaluation components;
  • High standards of communications is important;
  • The yellow sticky notes let us see where we stand;
  • Work together to form universal Interoperability.

Presentation Laura Birkman – Security affairs –Ecorys research and consulting

  • 2014 DG Home took the initiative to launch the Community of Users to improve the communication around innovation research in general.
  • Community of Users on Secure, Safe and Resilient Societies responds to the realization by the EC that the transfer of information from the Researchers to the users was not effective;
  • The landscape is very complex and fragmented as there are so many different projects and initiatives which limits the impact of these initiatives;
  • As there are so much different policy area’s there is a need to more integrated management of all this and combine the different initiatives and projects by the European Commission.
  • There are a lot of European Programs but there is a limited participation of the practitioners;
  • A mechanism should be designed to create a better interface for a more effective communication between the EU, the policymakers, the practitioners, the researchers and industry.
  • The Community of Users is mainstreaming and combining a broad scope of various thematic areas in a “community” and an information management system so that various players can find tailor made information which fits their needs;
  • The CoU brings together various thematic expert groups and to communicate via policy briefs about they are developing and visa versa;
  • CoU improves the way the information is distributed to motive the involvement of the practitioners;
  • To ensure these exchanges of information between policy makers, researchers and practitioners are ensured the objectives of the CoU are:
    • Create a physical space to meet people in person on a regular basis to deal with a variety of topics like CBRNE, Crisis management, border control and standardization;
    • Improve the synergies between all initiatives, dimensions and databases;
    • To make it easier for industry and end users to know if it is suitable for them to bring it to the market or to start using the outcome of the research program by showing what is the technology readiness level(TRL). This information will be brought together on a new and easy accessible website;
    • Enhance the involvement of practitioners both practitioners who already participate in consortia but also for other practitioners who are not involved yet. The idea is to make it easier for practitioners to meet at a national level and communicate with relevant sub communities that can represent their interest at the CoU if they can’t visit themselves. Practitioners are invited to join the CoU meeting in September to voice their needs;
  • H2020 consortia should have at least 4 or 5 practitioners;
  • Elle de Jonge shares with the audience that EFRIM will be give a presentation about Interoperability at a DH Home meeting later 2017.
  • Jean Paul is asking Laura about the formal status of CoU. Laura explains that it is an informal platform. Laura advice EFRIM to come to the Community of Practice(sub group of experts) meeting in May and explain the importance of interoperability.
  • Jean Paul wish if it would be possible for the commission identify in the research topics what is security and what is safety.

11:45 – 12:00 “Conclusions & next steps for EFRIM 5 exchange of experts” Elle de Jonge, Dutch National Police:

  • EFRIM is trying to get at the agenda of all kind of European meetings and conferences. To give a presentation about EFRIM and the importance about interoperability. Spread the word
  • We have to decide which model we are going to use; (for example the American model or Rob his model)
  • Important things is to do: inform your governance, organize multi –trainings and SOP (is related to the training) and Semantics to speak the same language.
  • The sticky notes on the model – the most notes where to the right, but that is based on our own reference. The actuality it’s more to the left.
  • Issues to solve:
    Sharing information between Fire brigade, Police and medical world, because of trust, legal, culture and language problems.
  • Cross borders – Alert protocol, multi-channel, sharing mechanism
  • We bring the police academy of Holland in contact with the police academy of portugal to work on a questionnaires’’. England a d Belgium has already a questionaries’ Is is good to move forward with the police academies.
  • We are invited for the Communication meeting about the Website
    Action point Laura: Elle is giving a presentation about EFRIM in Talin – Laura will remind Bosco to confirm this.

12:00 – Close & Lunch before departure



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s