Communicating a crisis

European nations are improving the way they cooperate in a crisis following Cranfield University’s first ever UK user demonstration trial of OASIS.

European nations are improving the way they cooperate in a crisis following CranfieldUniversity’s first ever UK user demonstration trial of OASIS, the Open Advanced System for dISaster and emergency management.

The trial comes after the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre recently played a key role in the EADS led consortium surrounding the project.

According to a statement, OASIS aims to change the process of information flow in command and control systems that are set up to support rescue operations. This is particularly important in the case of large-scale emergencies such as the New Orleans flooding or the Buncefield oil depot fire.

The trial, held at Cranfield’s Shrivenham-based Resilience Centre, brought the seemless communication between emergency services in Europe closer to reality as more than 50 senior users from the emergency services and an international team of civil contingencies experts, gained hands-on experience of a proof-of-system demonstrator.

The three-day practical simulation included a real-time disaster scenario and gave control room and field staff the opportunity to share over 150 separate pieces of information with their French counterparts, also testing the system at EADS in Bois d’Arcy, Paris.

The trial marked the mid point of the four-year project, co-funded by the European Union and successfully demonstrated the potential of OASIS in identifying capability gaps for development in the second phase of the project.

Speaking on behalf of the City of London Police, Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley said, ‘The principle behind this exercise is excellent. Since 9/11 we have identified that we, (the police) could not send messages to the fire brigades. If this kind of system could form part of our mobilising system even within the UK alone, it would be a tremendous tool.’

To support the trials, BAE Systems developed a methodology for the evaluation process; the information collected is now in the process of being analysed and the results will be used by the consortium to define the next phase of the project.