An EU-funded project is developing a system to give crisis managers timely and accurate data about the extent and impact of disasters caused by extreme weather events. This could increase the effectiveness of European preparedness and response efforts.
In an emergency, a fast supply of accurate information is critical. The EU-funded BEAWARE project is developing an integrated solution to support decision makers on two key aspects: situational awareness determining what has happened, is happening and will happen next so as to plan and coordinate the most effective response; and command and control getting the right people and resources to the right place at the right time.
The system aims at improving existing crisis preparation and management methodologies by aggregating and analysing data and information in real time to make the response faster and more efficient. It covers all aspects of crisis operations, including forecasting, early warnings, alerting as well as coordination between first responders in the field and authorities.
The first phase of such operations involves predicting and preparing for an extreme weather event. Once one occurs, an assessment must be conducted as soon as possible to determine its expected scope, geographical distribution and scale. This leads into a risk-assessment phase entailing understanding and communication of data from a variety of sources, based on which decisions regarding response efforts are made.
BEAWARE will gather environmental data, existing crisis-management records and input from social media, first responders and people affected, among other sources. Using a combination of visual, speech and text analysis techniques, semantic content integration and multilingual report generation, it will analyse this information to support decision-making by control centres.
The tools are being tested during three large-scale pilot exercises. Each deals with a different type of climate-related event namely floods, fires and heatwaves.
By enhancing decision-support and early-warning services, BEAWARE will shorten response times, increase response efficiency and improve coordination of actions in the field, as well as contribute to furthering EU disaster risk management and climate change adaptation policies.