Analysis of the state of play
The project started by mapping existing knowledge and practices in coordination and response to multi-site, multi-risk, multi-hazard incidents. Carried out in collaboration with the LATTS research institute, the resulting report defines the concepts related to this type of events in large urban contexts and reviews the ways in which various European countries are currently organised when it comes to crisis management. To support this study, an online questionnaire was sent to national authorities and civil protection organisations working with volunteers in EU Member States. A range of questions explored the concrete roles played by voluntary civil protection actors, as well as how they are perceived by other crisis-management stakeholders.
Development of common resources
The second phase of the project focused on designing guidelines for planning and response protocols. Based on the “State of the Art” and a comparative analysis of existing protocols, project partners identified commonalities, specificities and gaps in this area. They went on to develop a set of guidelines containing methodological tools and protocols, mainly dedicated to voluntary civil protection organisations. Finally, in accordance with these guidelines, a common structure of shared operational protocols was established to be integrated into the local contingency plans of each organisation.
Implementation of the tools
With the support of all partners, a common training programme was designed. The objective was to create a replicable tool that partners could adapt to their organisational specificities and national contexts. To implement these new training tools, a first Training of Instructors was held, gathering instructors from each partner country. These trained instructors consequently replicated the training with responders and operations managers in their respective countries; reaching at least 40 people in each partner National Red Cross Society. Lastly, in order to test the tools elaborated during the MERCI project, a small-scale exercise programme was designed and implemented in each participating country. Initially developed in English, the tool was translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian and Portuguese.