Digitalization, one of the matchs to be won towards resilience.

Often associated with climate change, social issues or the reduction of major disasters, the concept of resilience and integrated risk management must now be even more present in the safety, security, business continuity and civil contingency services of our organizations and territories. To do so, it is vital to provide professionals in charge with innovative technological tools to help them in their contributions to the resilience of their organizations, a process that have been accelerated recently and that can also be supported with digitalization.

We are facing new ways of living, with the obligation to take up challenges and provide answers to our day to day activities. This situation requires adaptation and boldness and forces us to accelerate the operationalization of the resilience of our organizations and communities.

It is therefore necessary to make the best technologies such as REZILIO available to all stakeholders involved in crises management as quickly as possible. With new technical solutions and specialized services, we can help organizations in charge of health, safety, security, defense and in every country, region and city to meet the enormous challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic and improve their coordination. Governments, local organizations, responders, industries at risk, buildings receiving public, hospitals or large companies need a set of capabilities and effective digital platforms to ensure the resilience of their organizations.

Governments, local organizations, responders, industries at risk, buildings receiving public, hospitals or large companies need a set of capabilities and effective digital platforms to ensure the resilience of their organizations

In the case of cities, each city service that intervenes in a crisis is not alone. It is part of a larger team and a more cross-functional response to what society asks of it. This local and field observation is validated by high-level strategies such as the 2015-2030 UNDRR Sendai framework, which in its latest technical report about hazards[1], provides us with recommendations on this systemic multi-hazard approach, and talks about a shift from from managing disasters as events to managing risks with an integrated/systemic/holistic approach. The UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to make communities more resilient to climate hazards and natural disasters also show us the path towards more resilient municipal emergency and business continuity services that will contribute to its goals 11 and 13[2].

In Europe, this new vision of risks is beginning to be adopted by European legislation as shown by last year’s update of the European Union’s civil protection mechanism. It is also in the EU that a reform of the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CI) Directive is expected, [3]which could emphasize the need to think about the entire CI as a system and its respective interdependencies. National governments in Europe and abroad[4] are also gathering good practices and lessons learned in different handbooks to improve their resilience capabilities. [5]

On the ground

But how do we prepare for the coming weeks/months/years and at the same time transpose these long-term ideas and strategies to the reality of operations on the ground in our organizations? Like football coaches working to improve their team’s classification, we can adopt a “match by match”[6] strategy and try to win our first match with the adoption of a digital crisis management solutions that will allow us to improve different aspects of our crisis management. This type of solutions have been developed in highly demanding organizations (Ministries, regional agencies, Fire and Rescue Services, large communities, industries, etc.) but can be very simple to use for elected officials and technicians, or other stakeholders in small and medium-sized towns, public facilities, or critical infrastructures.

Like football coaches working to improve their team’s classification, we can adopt a “match by match” strategy and try to win our first match with the adoption of a digital crisis management solutions

There are different options on the market for the emergency and crisis management “all in one” accessible via web (SaaS) or smartphone, the so-called Logbook tools very relevant in the current situation as REZILIO. Some benefits of this type of tools can be stressed: Working digitally will make it easier for us to keep up to date and gather the information disseminated to ensure its sustainability. For example, the Community Backup Plans, business continuity frameworks (adapted in every European county and region) need to be updated and shared among various organizations and departments. When a crisis is triggered, the city and the other administrations in charge can quickly set up a virtual situation or tactical room with rapid feedback, a global vision of the issues at stake and monitoring of the situation’s evolution. In the case of the disruptions that we are experimenting all over the world or the accidents affecting city centers it’s always necessary to mobilize different responders such as local police, cleaning services, hospitals … and to cope with these situations, interoperability between organizations is key, with, for example, a police department having access to a school’s Special Intervention Plan in a risk situation, as deployed in Quebec. Here again, REZILIO technology can help the interaction between the national, regional or local level and the different players (local authorities, hospitals, schools, firefighters, police, prefectures, but also citizens and critical infrastructure operators). Our municipal services will then be able to optimize resources with a significant reduction in the time required to return to normal. Our elected officials, department heads and other officials will be able to limit legal proceedings and mitigate reputational risk by demonstrating responsible risk management. We citizens will be well informed via our telephones, and in some cases other stakeholders such as associations will be able to help improve the situation, for example cabs that mobilize or hotels that make themselves available as improvised reception centers. All of this information and data can be integrated into an interoperable ecosystem, with event simulation or cascade effect scenarios oriented to decision making in situation/tactical rooms or control centers.

But before we can really have these capabilities and use the latest “buzzwords” to initiate real innovation, we must win “Match by Match”. Let’s win our first game with the digitalization of resilience thanks to technological platforms as REZILIO and help our emergency and risk management services to become more resilient organizations in the face of crises and natural disasters.)

 

Ignasi Fontanals, Director Europe REZILIO

 

[1] Hazard definition & classification review- Technical report (UNDRR 2020)

[2] Report on Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2019)

[3] Council Directive 2008/114/EC of 8 December 2008

[4] Public Safety Canada https://www.securitepublique.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/mrgncy-mngmnt-strtgy/index-fr.aspx

[5] Cabinet Office, UK,  https://www.gov.uk/topic/public-safety-emergencies/emergencies-preparation-response-recovery/latest

[6] Guardiola, FC Barcelona (2008-2012)

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