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Emergency Management
and Information Society
How to improve the synergy ?
Jean Luc WYBO
École des Mines de Paris
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Harriet LONKA
GAIA Group
What is an Emergency?
 An
abnormal situation whose evolution is uncertain
 May turn into a crisis if not properly managed
 Natural/Technical, social, organizational factors
Natural factors
(climatology, combustion, hydrology, etc.)
Organizational factors
Disaster development
(flood, fire, etc.)
(Prevention and Disaster management)
Socioeconomical factors
(Population and values at risk)
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Disaster management: a Complex task
 Several
– Climate, technology, networks, means
 Many
– Authorities, rescue services, victims, volunteers, media
 Several
– Local communities, private sector, state agencies
– Rescue services, police, NGO’s
 Aggravating
– Availability of information, communication problems
 A key
factor: resilience of organizations
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
ICT and Emergency Management
have a great potential to improve efficiency
– In supporting the sharing of critical information
– In providing reliable communications
are designed for well documented situations
 EM practitioners face complex situations
– They use codified procedures and tacit knowledge
designers need a good knowledge of EM tasks
– How do people deal with risk issues in everyday life?
– What are the needs and capabilities during operations?
– Where are the real difficulties related to ICT?
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Emergency managers: what expertise?
 Initial
training, case studies, field exercises
 Continuing education, exercises, specialized courses
 Experience
– Gained during disaster management operations
Particles of experience
Lessons learnt
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Mental image
The particle of experience
 The
smallest meaningful part of experience
– Mental images of practitioners: « episodic memory »
– Corresponds to a key instant of the disaster development
– Contains most of the complexity in 4 phases
Context and event: natural, organizational and human aspects
 Analysis: what may happen, what to do, which solutions ?
 Actions: strategy, planning, decisions, commands
 Effects: success or failure
– A potential for generalization
Almost never two identical disasters
 Quite often similar contexts/events
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Collecting and sharing experience
 Data
– During disaster and after (logfile, sensors, etc.)
 Interviews
of practitioners
– Different responsibilities, roles, levels of hierarchy
– Individual, anonymous, validated
– Search for tacit knowledge: « what else could be done ? »
 Collective
validation of the « objective truth »
– Merge individual experiences in a common story
– Involve all stakeholders in the discussion
 Learn
lessons from positive & negative actions
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Before the crisis
Cleaning of river banks
Perception of an
alarming situation
Procedure for
heavy rains
Procedure for
river surveillance
Alert is confirmed
Preparation of an evacuation
and public information
Routine activity
Preventive evacuation
of threatened population
Establishment of
a crisis command center
Embankment collapses
Evacuation of people
endangered by the flooding
Post-crisis management
(compensations, cleaning)
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
Management of
population sheltering
Management of media
and visits of Officials
Particles of experience
Management of a flood
(France, November 99)
A particle of experience
« Preventive evacuation of threatened population »
– 0.30AM,. The Agly river begins to overflow banks (alert level reached at 23.30PM)
– Roads and streets are still open
– A part of the town is directly threatened by a potential flood of the river, especially a housing area (2000)
– Shelters are open and information means are available (town siren and a loudspeaker vehicle)
– If the siren is used, all the town (8000) will be stressed uselessly and a general panic may occur
– The Mayor delegates the information of public to the cultural service. The notice is given in the housing
with a loudspeaker vehicle in association with fire and rescue people who knock every door. Message:
« there is a risk of flood in your district. Be careful. You can evacuate and be sheltered ». Message
elaborated to reassure people and avoid panic and indifference. Systematic evacuation of disabled.
– Later on, the mayor decides to organize a new information round with a more urgent message.
– It took 2 hours to inform population. Two rounds were needed. Telephone system was saturated by calls.
– 700 families, about 2000 people are threatened. About 1500 accept to be sheltered and evacuate with their
cars. Duration : about 3 hours. Difficulties with persons in « medical beds », with pets (birds, dogs, etc.).
– If evacuation was decided 2 or 3 hours later, there would probably have been casualties (drowning of
people in vehicules taken by the flow) after the collapsing of the embankment.
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002
have a great potential to improve resilience
– Sharing of information and efficient communications
– Simulations, monitoring, resources tracking
 Understanding
of EM complexity is a key factor
 EM Experience is an important source of knowledge
 Collecting and formalizing individual experience
Give access to the tacit knowledge of practitioners
Improve sharing of experiences between people
Provide key knowledge to design efficient ICT solutions
Contribute to increase the resilience of organizations
Workshop « Emergency Telecommunications » - ETSI - 26 & 27 February 2002