European Project Tests Technology Providing Real Time Disaster Data for Emergency Responders

I-REACT, an innovation project funded by the European Commission, has been developing a set of technologies for emergency responders, citizens and decision makers that will be put to the test for the first time during a three-day flood simulation exercise taking place from 13-16 March 2018.

The project is developing a European-wide platform to integrate emergency management data coming from multiple sources. The platform will use data from social media, smartphones and wearables, including data provided by citizens and crowdsourcing, to improve natural disaster management. Fast, reliable information will enable citizens, civil protection services and policymakers to effectively prevent or respond to natural disasters.

The test is taking place in the Region of Piedmont, Italy, the location of major flooding in 2015 that caused €550 million losses, and in 1994 where 70 people lost their lives.

The technological tools provide protection agencies with real-time information before, during and after the disaster situation.

I-REACT said “We integrate and models data coming from European monitoring systems like satellite observations, historical information and weather forecasts, and combine them with data gathered by our new technologies: a mobile app, a wearable, augmented reality glasses and a social media analysis tool, that monitors Twitter to gather real-time information on the disaster situation.”

During the three-day drill, emergency services from France, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg will simulate 25 different rescue scenarios, where volunteers will act as flood victims requiring rescue, medical treatment or evacuation. The volunteers will test the I-REACT app, that allows them to report real-time information allowing emergency coordination services to understand more about the flood situation.

The volunteers will test the I-REACT app during the flood simulation. Using the app, flood victims can report real-time information, such as geolocation photos, that allows emergency coordination services to visualize and better understand the situation.

During the drill, the rescue teams will be coordinated by the “Settore Protezione Civile e Sistema Antincendi Boschivi” of the Piedmont Region, who will test what I-REACT calls the “visualisation software”.

According to I-REACT, this software will allow the experts at the control room will be able to track the position of the people affected by floods, communicate with them and see the information reported by them, shortening the response time and providing the emergency services with crucial information that will help them take the best decision possible.

Once fully tested and developed, I-REACT hope their technologies will be adopted by emergency services in Europe.

“Innovative cyber technologies, like the ones we propose, can provide a more accurate situational awareness and response in flood related emergencies, which improves the response of the European emergency services to floods, and help them save lives”, said I-REACT.

Find out more about the I-REACT project here.