INTERNATIONAL PLATFORM AIMS TO CONNECT FIRST RESPONDERS
EFRIM (European First Responder Innovation Managers) Platform is a new platform for European first responder organisations. EFRIM aims to connect first responders, to exchange knowledge and experiences, and allow joint action in an international context in order to improve safety in Europe.
Incidents, crises and disasters are not stopped by borders between countries. Emergency services are expected to be prepared to provide full assistance if incidents occur. The incidents in question are becoming increasingly more complex. Current political and societal developments, such as the threat of terrorist acts, cyber crime, climate change, or the influence of social media during a crisis, have their impact on emergency assistance organisations.
These developments call for a joint approach. First responders will be better prepared for their tasks if they have a mechanism by which they can share experiences and knowledge on a national, and international level, and by conducting research together.
In order to achieve this, an initiative was taken to set up an international platform to connect first responder organisations (EFRIM). It is hoped that this collaborative working can be extended to include safety partners, government authorities and universities. This would enable the sharing of societal safety issues and knowledge that matches the current needs of first responders.
The EFRIM platform aims to promote the fact that emergency services can rely on European schemes that are important in order for them to carry out the tasks they have been assigned. However, this will only be possible if the agendas of the EU and its committees also feature safety-related topics, based on joint objectives and priorities.
EFRIM is a joint initiative of:
- the Netherlands (the Netherlands Fire Service, the Netherlands Institute for Safety, and the Dutch National Police)
- Belgium (Community of Geel)
- the United Kingdom (JESIP, SMARTEU)
- Germany (Technisches Hilfswerk. VfdB, DHPol)
The main step towards achieving the objectives of EFRIM is expanding the platform by adding members who represent their own organisations or countries. The members of the platform will jointly decide which activities are needed in order to:
- Achieve the connection between the different emergency services organisations so that experiences can be exchanged and knowledge can be shared.
- Match supply and demand: identity the European schemes to which emergency services organisations can make an active contribution.
- Influence the political agenda of the EU. The eventual goals are that the contributions made by emergency services organisations become leading for any safety issues, and that the necessity of EFRIM is recognised and promoted by the EU.
What are we going to do?
- Expand the platform
We are going to further expand the platform together with stakeholders from the European emergency services organisations. We will be involving umbrella organisations, such as the Federation of the European Union Fire Officers Associations (FEU), the International Association of Fire and Rescue Service (CTIF), and government ministries of the different countries in developing the platform.
- EU agenda setting
We will be presenting ourselves at the Benelux meeting in January 2017. And we will study the need among current partners to join European schemes.
- 2017 working conference
We are organising an international working conference for emergency services organisations in the spring of 2017. Our focus will be on strategic leads and managers who are responsible for innovation and/or R&D policy in their organisations.
You can find more information about EFRIM on: www.efrim.org
First responders are teams of emergency assistance providers who are deployed at the scene of an incident, such as an accident, a crisis or a disaster. They are police officers, fire personnel, paramedics and other emergency assistance providers. A first responder team includes emergency assistance providers from different disciplines who can provide all the assistance needed to remedy the crisis and to restore a normal situation. However, there are differences: the Netherlands and Germany see first responders as a chain of people/organization (team), whereas Great Britain sometimes perceives them as the people at the scene of the incident.
Mission of EFRIM
The EFRIM Platform intends to improve safety in Europe by connecting emergency services organizations together and jointly studying what first responders need in order to anticipate social, economic and technical developments, and to actively take action in this regard internationally. The question(s) that result from this should be used to gain knowledge and get industrial institutions involved in the implementation.