On 10th October, emergency services and disaster management experts from Safety Region IJsselland gathered in Kampen, Netherlands, to take part in a major table-top exercise to train and plan together for future disasters. Using new technology developed by the EU-funded IN-PREP project, participants took part in responding to a simulated flooding of the city. Safety Region IJsselland is one of 25 regional safety regions in Netherlands set up under the direction of the Ministry of Justice and Security to improve disaster and crisis management.
During the exercise participants tested the new IN-PREP Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform (MRPP). The MRPP is a novel IT training platform that aims to overcome insufficient links in transboundary disaster management by allowing disaster managers to share response planning across borders and agencies securely, communicate vital information in real-time, and better coordinate resources.
During the table-top exercise, participants used the MRPP’s scenario-building features to simulate a large-scale flooding of Kampen caused by a significant downpour in the catchment area of the Rhine river. Associated high winds added to the scenario.
“The objective of the table-top exercise was to strengthen collaborative response training and to allow emergency service personnel to work on a multi-agency basis in responding to emergency and disaster management situations”, said Evangelos Sdongos Project Manager of IN-PREP. “The Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform (MRPP) tool combines many types of technologies to integrate how responders perceive information on the ground and how they can most efficiently direct resources in responding to crisis situations where timing is critical.”
IN-PREP is a research and innovation project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. Scientists, disaster management experts and emergency services, including Safety Region IJsselland, are working together as part of the project to improve collaborative response planning in Europe. In addition to the MRPP, IN-PREP is also developing a crisis management handbook to evaluate the current status of crisis management across the EU, and training modules which can be used by both professional and voluntary agencies in testing their emergency response plans.