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Unified Emergency Management in the port of Antwerp
                                          Xavier Criel
       Fire Pro...
1. Information about the emergency situation is
managers find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. As such, they will rely on their „instincts‟
or what others tell them...
Incident Commander

5. Medical Aid                                                                                                         20....
remote, at the fire station, municipal or national Crisis Centres. The scenarios are loaded into
the software platform whi...
resources to stop the incident, the system will suggest a Large Gas emission scenario and
escalation to the government. Li...
3.7 Conclusion and Lessons Learned
During the project we were able to align the crisis management processes of more than 1...
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Unified emergency management paper


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paper on joining emergency management practices from private and public sector as implemented in the port of Antwerp

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Unified emergency management paper

  1. 1. Unified Emergency Management in the port of Antwerp Xavier Criel Fire Protection Consultants (FPC), Noorderlaan 133, 2030 Antwerp, 1 Introduction This paper describes a case study of the Calahan project in the port of Antwerp where industry and government joined forces to build unified emergency response scenario‟s for the crisis management level of the operations. The port of Antwerp is the 2nd largest petro-chemical cluster in the world. No fewer than seven of the ten largest chemical companies in the world have one or more production sites within the Antwerp petrochemical cluster. Nowhere in the world are more chemical substances produced than in the Antwerp port area. About 70 Seveso companies are within the vicinity of the villages, the city of Antwerp and the Dutch border, potentially affecting over 1 Mio people when a large scale incident occurs. Today these companies, civil aid services and authorities prepare themselves individually in order to deal with the diversity of risks. In this project a common Emergency Response Management (ERM) framework and scenarios were developed to support the decision making process throughout the Emergency Management (EM) organisation. The project was jointly developed by BASF, PetroPlus, Solvay, Total, Vopak, the fire brigade of the city of Antwerp, the fire brigade of Beveren, the city of Antwerp, the town of Beveren, the emergency management agency of the province of Antwerp, FPC and Safety Center Europe. 2 Problem description Seveso1 companies prepare themselves for emergency situations based on various Risk Analysis methods. Cause-consequence models and event tree analysis are commonly used techniques in the preparation phase of emergency response management. QRA and safety reports, site specific data, general practices in ERM and regulatory requirements form the basis of the site ER plan. Every industrial site will have a somewhat different approach to the ER plan and uses different processes and procedures. The EM organisation of every Seveso site needs to integrate its ER plan with the ER plan of the authorities: fire brigade, local police, medical aid, civil defence, the mayor and governor‟s EM organisation. The authorities need to do build an ER plan for all Seveso sites in the port. When an incident occurs the EM organisations of all parties need to collaborate seamlessly at operational, tactical and strategic level. The complexity of all those stakeholders working together when an incident occurs is enormous. Large scale incidents such as Ghislenghein, Buncefield, etc... have demonstrated that the decision making process is complex and, if not streamlined properly, results in large scale consequences towards people and property. Experience shows that crisis management decisions are often taken too late, based on incomplete or incorrect data, based on lack of experience, not well communicated or controlled. The lack of a uniform picture and processes make that the outcome of a crisis situation is largely dependent on the level of experience of the crisis manager(s) and not on a systematic, reproducible approach. Whilst at the infrastructure level there are recognised standards for safety, when it comes to defining processes, roles & responsibilities across organisation boundaries standards are missing. Within this project companies and government have worked together to build a standard framework for Emergency Response Management. 2.1 The decision making process Crisis management decision making is an ongoing process that can be divided in the following 6 steps2:
  2. 2. 1. Information about the emergency situation is gathered; 2. Based on this information the situation is visualised by the decision makers; 3. A judgement about the situation and potential appropriate actions is made; 4. A decision is made after consulting all stakeholders; 5. Commands are issued to the executing parties; 6. The decision makers need to control whether actions are executed or any issues that prevent the proper execution of the actions arise. Figure 1: Decision making process The quality of the decisions is determined by a number of factors. The 3 most essential factors are ;  The Quality of Information;  The experience of the Crisis Management Team;  Common understanding of the situation at all levels of the EM organisation; 2.1.1 Information Quality Crisis situations are continuously changing by their very nature. The timeliness and quality of information is paradigm to the quality of the decisions that will be taken. Information needs to be captured at the start of the incident in order to present the Crisis Management Team with accurate data at the start of the crisis management meeting. Information quality is determined according to the following dimensions 3:  Intrinsic IQ Accuracy, Objectivity, Believability, Reputation  Contextual IQ Relevancy, Value-Added, Timeliness, Completeness, Amount of information  Representational IQ Interpretability, Ease of understanding, Concise representation, Consistent representation  Accessibility IQ Accessibility, Access security Often information gathered from the operator of the process installation, the victims and hazardous materials and escalation scenarios are not immediately available to the company crisis management team. Valuable time is lost by trying to evaluate the situation. When civil aid services and the government are requested for help they need to be provided with quality information in due time . Time is critical in situations where every minute counts. 2.1.2 Lack of experience Another issue is that the emergency management expert for a specific incident is often not on site when the incident occurs. Crisis managers therefore need to deal with a situation they often unfamiliar with. In addition, there is always a risk that management is „sucked‟ into operational tasks, distracting them from their primary task: developing a crisis management strategy and taking measures for business continuity. In small EM organisations crisis management teams are less experienced, have fewer team members and need to accumulate tasks. A checklist describing the crisis management processes, their roles & responsibilities and a dashboard with an overview of the situation is lacking. With this shortage of expertise and information in the first minutes and hours of the incident, crisis
  3. 3. managers find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. As such, they will rely on their „instincts‟ or what others tell them to do. 2.1.3 Common understanding of the situation Having the same understanding of the situation at all times throughout the different levels of the EM organisation is crucial to an effective emergency response operation. Today all parties involved work with their own tools to gather and visualise information. Examples of this include using different:  sources of information (personal contacts in the field, ...)  site specific data incl. Contact data, hazmat data, safety reports, maps;  maps of source and effect areas (sharing of map data at different locations is very difficult, outdated layers, ...);  methods to store, track and visualise incident data;  communication methods (radio channels, telephone, video, email, instant messaging, ...); 3 Methodology used The FIRES4 methodology, as developed by FPC formed the basis of the methodology used in this project. Whilst Risk Analysis is mostly quantitative, building a EM organisation requires a more qualitative approach. A first step in the process is the identification of credible incidents. Incidents are categorised by type (fire, explosion, leakage, terrorist act ...) and size (small, medium, large). The next step is to develop scenarios for these credible incidents. A scenario describes the EM organisation its roles, responsibilities, tasks and relevant incident parameters (hazmat, weather, location, victims ...). In the project 4 different scenarios have been developed:  Tank fire  Gas Emission  Fluid Emission  Nuclear Transport Accident In these scenarios the required resources and several alarm phases are defined according to the incident severity in terms of business and social impact or affected area. The alarm phase determines the EM organisation structure. For smaller incidents with no external effects, the EM organisation will consist of management and staff from the plant. The incident commander is a company official (fire chief, plant manager, ...) who leads the EM organisation and who can call in external help for specific tasks. Once an incident develops outside the fence of the plant, the authorities take over the incident command and the company and governmental EM organisations need to collaborate. Roles and responsibilities vary dynamically according to the current alarm phase. An example of the organisation for a municipal phase can be found below:
  4. 4. Incident Commander (mayor) Emergency Response official Press Logistical Services Director Operations Fire brigade officer Medical officer Police Force officer Communications Plant Manager officer officer Director fire brigade Company Fire Marshall Medical Director Company First Aid services Director Police Force Company Security Director Logistical services 3rd party services Figure 2: EM organisation Chart The next section describes an overview of the different processes of ERM, how roles & responsibilities of the joint EM organisations are defined and how a common Operational picture was achieved in the project. 3.1 ER processes The EM organisation is driven by ER processes. These processes describe:  the topics that require management level decisions;  the information needed for those decisions;  who should provide that information;  the actions that need to be taken;  who should execute those actions. As there are no standard cross-boundary emergency response management processes available in Belgium the Dutch governmental guide „leidraad maatramp‟5 was used as a model. From this model the following framework of 27 main processes was derived: 0. Alarming & escalation 13. Deceased identification 1. Fire fighting and emission control 14. Victim‟s registration 2. Rescue & technical support 15. Funeral 3. Measurement 16. Claims registration and processing 4. Contamination check and 17. Crisis information and communication decontamination of people, vehicles 18. Alert of the population and infrastructure 19. Alert staff and contractors
  5. 5. 5. Medical Aid 20. Clearance and evacuation 6. Mental health care 21. Sheltering and medical care 7. Preventive public health 22. Primary needs 8. Maintain public safety 23. Environmental care 9. Criminal investigation 24. Accessibility 10. Traffic control 25. Collection of contaminated materials 11. Perimeter security 26. Leadership and control 12. Guidance 3.2 Roles & Responsibilities matrix For every process the management decisions needs to be taken around specific crisis management issues. An example is the decision to shut down a process or to evacuate the plant. Information is needed from the tactical level of the operations in order to build an accurate picture of the situation and all parameters that can impact the decision. A simplified version of RASCI6 matrices7 is used to describe:  The role accountable for a process;  The role responsible for the decisions to take;  The role responsible for the correct information:  The role(s) to be consulted when gathering the required information;  The role(s) responsible for the execution of the tasks. An example8 is shown below: Table 1: example of a RACI matrix for crisis management Incident commander Emergency Center Company medical Company security Logistical support Medical services Company firigae CC government management CC company Fire brigade Information CP-OPS services Police (112) Alarming & escalation A What is the expected economical R and social impact? What is the incident type and I I I I I I I I R size? Time of the start of the incident I I I I I I I I R What objects are affected by the I I I I I I I I R incident? Escalate to a higher phase I I I I I I I I C/I I C/I C R Alert fire brigade R Alert police R Alert Port security R Alert company crisis team R 3.3 Decision Support Crisis Information Management Software Platform We used a software platform (NoKeos) to provide all parties with the same tool that functions as a decision support system. It is an internet based platform which provides all participants in the EM organisation with actual information no matter where they are: on site, at HQ,
  6. 6. remote, at the fire station, municipal or national Crisis Centres. The scenarios are loaded into the software platform which can then be used by all members of the EM organisation. 3.4 Assuring Information Quality It is crucial to capture information from the start of the incident. Therefore NoKeos can either receive alerts from detection systems or an operator can manually start an incident using a software wizard. Crucial data such as location, hazmat, weather, victims, etc... are captured and an alarm phase is selected. The system then automatically alerts the different parties in the EM organisation. In order to assure the Information Quality after the start of the incident, Questions are grouped and sent to the roles indicated with an „R‟ in the scenario matrix. Answers are supplied to the crisis management level as suggested values which the incident manager needs to validate. The difference between „validated‟ and „suggested‟ is shared with the whole EM organisation so that everyone knows what is the actual situation and what changes are coming down the line, but are not yet approved. In order to assure the timeliness of information, questions can be asked on a repetitive basis (eg every 15 min) or after a specific time after the start of the incident. Timers can be put on question groups so that crisis management has accurate information for their regular steering meetings. Also crisis communication to external parties such as media, staff, family of victims, customers & suppliers need to be based on validated facts that are consistent between the company and the government. Below you can find a diagram depicting the information flow between the 3 levels of the EM organisation and the outside world. Blue boxes represent the company EM organisation, white boxes are governmental. Figure 3: Crisis Information flow 3.5 Capturing knowledge in scenarios Knowledge about incident types, phases, data and processes are captured in scenarios. Based on validated data the system will suggest incident type, size or phase. E.g. if the company fire brigade indicates there is a Chlorine leak and they don‟t have enough
  7. 7. resources to stop the incident, the system will suggest a Large Gas emission scenario and escalation to the government. Likewise if there are more than 10 victims validated then the system will suggest starting a Medical Intervention Plan process. The power of this scenario driven approach and the suggestions of the system is that knowledge on what to do for specific types of incidents is now captured in a system and can be made available to EM organisations with less experience from the start of the incident. Also for more experienced crisis managers the system will help to structure information, supporting the decision process and serving as an intelligent assistant in the chaos of an incident. Below you can find a screenshot of the Command & Control centre that provides the incident manager an overview of the current situations and requests him to validate information and suggested actions to take. Figure 4: Command & Control Centre 3.6 Providing a Common Operational Picture The information flow assures that all incident data is captured from the right source and made available to all parties at the same time through an internet based platform. Next to data maps are also a crucial piece of information as we‟ve discussed before. By providing a common map where all parties can add data such as location of the incident, dispersion model plots, evacuation areas, location of command posts etc... everyone has the same understanding of the situation. This alone was an enormous value add in the project. Figure 5: Common Map of the incident
  8. 8. 3.7 Conclusion and Lessons Learned During the project we were able to align the crisis management processes of more than 10 different parties that need to work together in case of large scale incidents. It proved that a common framework between companies and government is not only possible but necessary in order to deal more efficiently with the variety of risks in a complex industrial cluster such as the port of Antwerp. A very strong point in the project is the common operational picture that is made available to a crisis manager at the push of a button. Structured, validated data helps to improve the quality and speed of decision taking. We also learned that developing the first scenario took 3 months but that 90% of all scenarios is the same. This is logical as the differences in scenarios are more at the operational level than the strategic level of the organisation. Now the scenarios need to be fine-tuned by using them in different situations by different users during exercises and trainings. More scenarios dealing with different types of risks need to be developed. The project group will grow to include more companies and government parties so that knowledge can grow and can be shared amongst everyone. The project also demonstrated that in a short time period standards can be built from the ground up. Acceptance at national levels will probably take a little longer. 4 References 1 The EU Seveso directive applies to all companies with a minimum quantity of hazardous materials. The Seveso II directive was created after the disaster which happened with a large industrial plant in the village of Seveso, Italy in 1976. More info can be found here: . 2 Lt. Colonel Chris Addiers, Training course „crisissituatiebeheer‟ from the Fire Brigade of Antwerp 3 Wang, R. & Strong, D. (1996) "Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means to Data Consumers". "Journal of Management Information Systems", 12(4), p. 5-34. 4 FIRES : Fire Initiated Response and Evacuation Scenarios 5 Ingenieurs/Adviesbureau SAVE & Adviesbureau Van Dijke, “Leidraad Maatramp”, p 23, ( 6 A commonly used technique to describe responsibilities assignments in business processes. RASCI is an extended version of RACI. It is an acronym which stands for: Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted and Informed. 7 Wikipedia, “Responsibility assignment matrix” , ( 8 FPC, (2009) “CalaHAn: Efficiënt calamiteitenbeheer in de haven van Antwerpen”, p. 8