FORTRESS workshop on developing tools for decision making

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A FORTRESS Workshop was held in London on 10 April, 2015 to discuss the FORTRESS scenario builder and the FORTRESS Incident Evolution Tool, which are being developed to aid decision-makers and crisis responders in reducing cascading effects both prior to and during crisis events. The workshop was aimed at gaining feedback and input into the development of these models from external participants who have knowledge and experience of preparing for or managing crisis situations.

The event was attended by FOTRESS partners and seven external participants that belonged to a range of civil protection and crisis management organisations from across Europe. These included a representative from the Metropolitan Police of Turin, Italy and two Safety Advisors (one representing industrial safety and one for physical safety) from Safety Region Twente, a municipal authority for civil protection in Netherlands. A retired Police Officer responsible for gold level command and control in the UK was also present, along with a Command and Control Consultant from London, engaged in developing public sector response to crises. Also in attendance was an Emergency Manager from the city of Antwerp in Belgium, and a Risk Manager from the Netherlands. All of the external participants had directly participated in managing response to crisis situations, and could be considered experts and practitioners in the fields of emergency planning, response, and management.

Successful outcomes of the workshop included discussion on the need for clarifying the targeted users for each of the tools. Based on the feedback from external participants, the FIET would be of greater interest to First Responders, whereas infrastructure institutions might have a different perspective on the utility of the tools. A second key outcome addressed the scope of both the FIET and FSB tool. External participants advised that a reduction of some functionalities would be worth fewer but better functioning features. Other discussions centred on the temporal scale of crises, and the need to consider the importance of timeframes when constructing scenarios and models. The participants also pointed out the need to focus on the pre-crisis stage as a means of assisting decision making during crises. The role of citizens, and their representation in the models was also considered to be a subject of importance when building these tools. Last but not least, the issue of how such tools could be deployed on an operational level was also debated. The exercise provided an extremely useful opportunity for the exchange of ideas between project partners and practitioners working in emergency management, and will be the basis of building tools that are more grounded and effective in addressing the needs of end users.

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