Major EU Project
FPC Risk and 11 EU organisations joined forces to work on improvement of incident management of Cascading Effects in EU FP7 project CascEff
In modern society, complex environments and increased threats create risks which often lead to incidents with severe cascading effects. Emergency services face an increasingly difficult task to take pro-active decisions in these environments. Such incidents can have enormous consequences with respect to life, property and the environment for both infrastructure and the general public. These consequences are both direct and indirect and are not limited to the immediate surrounding physically affected area but also may severely impact very large areas, potentially even extending across borders.
CascEff* (Cascading Effects) is an EU FP7 research project which is improving our understanding of cascading effects in crisis situations. This is being achieved through the identification of initiators, dependencies and key decision points. These are developed in the methodological framework of an Incident Evolution Tool (IET) which will enable improved decision support, contributing to the reduction of collateral damages and other unfortunate consequences associated with large crises.
Scenarios ranging from relatively common emergency scenarios to large scale emergency and disaster scenarios have been developed to test the IET methodology and tools. These include: a large scale land slide occurring in an industrial area and impacting a river/rural area, a major tunnel fire, a warehouse fire with a potential for severe environmental impact, a hazmat incident near a music festival, a wildfire, and a cross-border blackout. The idea is to build a methodology and tool that can be used and is useful on a regular basis as well as in exceptional circumstances.
The project, which started in 2014 and will terminate in 2017 aims to achieve the following objectives:
1. Better understanding of the cascading effect in crisis situations.
2. Develop an Incident Evolution Tool for predicting present and future crisis evolution leading to cascading effects.
3. Identification of human activities in the crisis.
4. Improved incident management for present and future threats.
The project will produce models of dependencies and effects in crisis situations (of both physical and human components) causing a cascading effect. It will also provide a methodology to create this model for future threats, and tools to foresee the evolution of an incident, based on the physical effects, properties of critical infrastructures and risks, human behaviour, the decisions taken by crisis managers and their timing. These tool(s) will be available on a real time basis as well as for planning and training purposes, including for cross border crisis situations.
The models of dependencies and effects in crisis situations which have been developed in the project help end users to understand the magnitude of risk in identified and emerging crisis situations. The CascEff scenarios allow us to test the IET against incidents caused by natural hazards; as well as man-made emergencies; where the risks for cascading effects is high leading to complex emergency management decisions.
FPC Risk’s role
As an Emergency Management Services expert and author of the award winning NoKeos incident management system, FPC Risk contributes knowledge, software and experience in aligning public & private partners to create a workable IET. This includes e.g. building the software architecture for the IET, proposing a standard for incident data exchange between the IET and existing Incident Management Tools such as Nokeos, evacuation modelling of large crowds and scenario development and simulation exercises to validate the IET. The finished IET will leverage data from existing incident management tools and databases so that it can capitalize on investments already made by the emergency services and authorities.
The consortium consists of 12 partners, universities and research institutes coming from five EU member states. Involvement of the independent External Expert Advisory Board (EEAB) and end-user Focus Groups in various partner countries assure that the results of the CascEff project and the IET tool developed are truly prepared for end-user needs.
* CascEff – “Modelling of dependencies and cascading effects for emergency management in crisis situations” (Grant agreement no:607665) is performed and funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union (SEC-2013.4.1-2).