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Intelligent software and hardware systems connecting European disaster management

International relief supplies and personnel support during earthquakes, floods or hurricane incidents are seen as a matter of course today.
The work of relief forces, however, is impeded not only by language barriers and unfavorable weather conditions, but also by the lack of standards, equipment and execution regulations.

Everyday work of fire rescue services and humanitarian organizations in Europe is increasingly influenced by modern information and communication technologies (ICT). Such innovative systems can facilitate, for instance, the search for people in danger and the optimized planning of the use of rescue equipment, pumps and other resources.

The difficulty is increased if relief forces from various countries have to work together in large-scale crisis situations. The multitude of different IT systems causes the electronic communication of information across organizational boundaries to be inefficient or not possible at all, as unified standards for interfaces or, in some cases, the necessary infrastructure for data transmission are lacking.

The EC-funded project IDIRA addresses precisely these issues. 18 organizations from 7 EU countries are searching for solutions over a project duration of four years. German partners involved in the project are the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI and the German Red Cross, Saxony branch.

On 22nd November 2012, an official review meeting was held in the German Red Cross headquarters of Saxony in Dresden, where the first IDIRA results were successfully demonstrated to representatives of the European Commission. This important milestone is paving the way for the project consortium to continue their work in the coming months. The project results will be tested and validated within small and large-scale exercises in 2013 and 2014. Thereby, flood scenarios in the bordering regions in Poland and Czech Republic will be the main focus for the partners from Saxony.

After completion of IDIRA in 2015, it will show in how far European countries have become closer in the field of disaster management.

Elke Sähn | Fraunhofer-Institut
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