IDRC Davos Kuula 27.8.2014

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5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice 24-28 August 2014 in Davos, Switzerland

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IDRC Davos Kuula 27.8.2014

  1. 1. Enriched Crisis Communication with Smartphones in Escalated Emergencies Jaana Kuula University of Jyväskylä Department Of Mathematical Information Technology Finland Email: jaana.kuula@jyu.fi The International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 24-28.8.2014 Davos, Switzerland The project has been funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, University of Jyväskylä, Magister Solutions Ltd, Pardco Group, Jämsän Apteekki and European structural funds.
  2. 2. From emergency alerting to crisis communication − The purpose of emergency alerting systems is to get people in safe fast − In prolonged and escalated crises invloved people need to get informed and they need to interact with rescue operators continuously as long as the threat is on, and even beyond that − Most alerting systems are not designed for and they do not have the technical abilities to do that − Current smartphone technologies have rich technical features which enable flexible and focused communication into all relevant directions from and with rescue operators with true and confirmed information − Social media might be of help as well, but as long as it is not managed and controlled by rescue officials, there is a high risk that it will be full of rumors which do nothing but harm and disturb the rescue operation
  3. 3. Emergency alerting and crisis communication / management system developed in the University of Jyväskylä Electronic bulletin boards tablets - Fast alerting with personal smart mobile devices + interacative communication with true and confirmed information with all relevant parties through all available technologies and applications
  4. 4. Geographical focusing in the emergency area Range of the alert / emergency area 0,1 - ∞ km Different alerting icons for different emergencies
  5. 5. Alerting with four senses at the same time Recognition of alerts is ensured by activating 4 senses at the same time: • auditory • visual • sensory • cognitive Additional information about the emergency and operation/ rescue instructions are seen (or heard) on the second screen Siren alert will be played even if the phone is muted
  6. 6. The location and status of casualties shown on the situation map User is ok User needs help No contact has been received with the user
  7. 7. Case Vihtavuori explosives plant on 9-11.7.2013 - A serious explosion threat situation emerged at the Vihtavuori explosion plant in Central-Finland in the 9.7.2013 evening by leading into Finland’s largest evacuation (couple of thousands) of civilian people since World War II and lasting nearly three days - The cause for the threat was a container of chemical waste, which started uncontrolled heating, possibly leading to explosion near large amounts of explosive materials - The chemical waste had been returned from the customer for disposal and by the customer wrong chemicals had been put in the same container which ignited a dangerous chemical reaction in the container - There were 150 tons of explosives in the other buildings nearby, with a risk to explode and cause a major disaster with huge material and human damage
  8. 8. Course of action 1 - 9.7. evening: uncontrolled chemical reaction and heating of a container was noticed - security alert was given at the plant and to regional rescue authorities - 9-10.7. night: representatives of the explosives manufacturer, rescue department, police, defence forces and municipality followed the heating of the container and decided together about the evacuation and cooling and transfer of the container - the police made an evacuation plan and the defence forces brought a robot into the site for starting the cooling of the container with the rescue department’s fire fighting equipment
  9. 9. Course of action 2 - 10.7. morning: the central hospital was asked to be prepared in case of large number of casualties of a vast explosion accident - police and defence forces evacuated the whole area and people were transferred with buses into the evacuation center at a local school - 10.7 day: the voluntary group of Red Cross provided all food, resting, medicating, child and elderly, mental, information etc. care for the people at the evacuation center during the whole time since the beginning of the evacuation - reporters tried to get information in all ways that they could and the rescue authorities, explosives manufacturer, municipality leaders and even private people were disturbed by the fuzz - emergency alerts and extra news were read repeatedly in radio and television during the whole day even if the basic situation was not changed - at the evacuation center people were not given any direct or focused information about the situation and the only information which they got was the radio and tv news, which gave unconfirmed information ; people were afraid of loosing their homes and everything they own so they wanted desperately know what the situation was and when it would end
  10. 10. Course of action 3 - in other parts of the country people got irritated about the repeating alerts and news on radio and tv of the situation hundreds of kilometers from them, because they were in safe and had nothing to do with the explosion threat - at the rescue department additional rescue officers and fire fighters were prepared for action in case of vast explosion and got frustrated because no one had realized or had no time to inform them about the details of the situation - volunteers of Red Cross were supposed to inform and calm down people at the evacuation center but they had no additional information except the unconfirmed news on radio - many people were at work or somewhere else during the evacuation and could not return to their homes and families either - some of the elderly people did not have their medication with them, one mother could not brestfeed her small child, people’s cattle and pets were left behind without care - the police and army secured the area against robbery and other intruders - in the 10.7 evening the unstable container was made harmless and people were transported back to their homes - in the 11.7 morning the authorities ended their crisis management operation and crisis management team and returned to the normal situation and work - crisis help was provided to the people during the whole operation by health care professionals and church
  11. 11. What JYU’s smartphone system could have done - Detect the chemical leak in the container and give a security alert at the plant - Give an internal security alert in the explosives manufacturer’s organisation - Give additional information to the rescue depeartment in addition to the obligatory 112 call - Alert the preparedness groups inside the rescue department, police and defence forces organisations and call them to duty - Alert the central hospital and advice them to be prepared for possible casualties in case of massive explosion at the plant - Alert the managers and security officers of the municipality - Alert the voluntary group of the Red Cross and call them to work - Alert all residents in the threatened area and advice them to be prepared for the evacuation - Inform media of the incident - Inform people who have property of family members in the area - Locate rescue officers and volunteers and inquire whether they can participate the operation - Locate residents and inquire whether they need special assistance - Inform evacuated residents in the evacuation center and elswhere outside the area during the whole operation about the situation and course of action - Inform the volunteers of Red Cross of the situation so that they would be better able to help the evacuated people - Give to the evacuated residents a chance to directly ask from authorities of critical issues which they had on their minds - Keep a log of the rescue officers’ action during the operation for afterwards reporting and briefing - Inform all parties that the situation is over - Inquire people if they need consultation after the incident and advice them how to proceed
  12. 12. The end of the story - The heated container was made harmless and 150 tons of explosives did not explode - Rescue department, police, defence forces and Red Cross were thanked of good work - The only thing which was in public declared to have failed was communication - In the social media people criticised heavily the Ministry of the Interior of not using mobile emergency alerting in these kind of situations - All rescue departments of the country, police, defence forces, municipality, explosives plant etc. were invited to a briefing and learning event within 2 months in September - Chemical waste containers were removed from the plant and security processes were improved - JYU (J Kuula’s research group) sold the smartphone based emergency alerting system and started to develope a hyperspectral based CBRNE detection system – including organizing controlled explosions with TNT and other explosives with the police and defence forces 3 months after the Vihtavuori incident - One year later in July 2014 JYU and the explosives manufacturer started R&D cooperation and first explosives tests have already been made with successful results - Both the authorities and the explosives plant have been cooperative and open about the incident and many seem to have learned a lot about it - The only official crisis communication media in the country yet still is the national broadcasting company Yle..

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