Challenges identified in the 1st FIREIN Cycle

High Flow of Responders in Hostile Environment

To sustain efforts in time inside a hostile environment, the flow of resources should be organized and tracked from outside, forecasting changes in the scenario and in available resources. Responders tactics should order these efforts, maintaining a balance between the reduction of actual and potential damages and responder’s risk, and between gathering relevant information and managing the known risk.

The more challenging, probable scenarios should be pre-planned and drilled locally with relevant information gathered about the risks, the level of self-protection negotiated with the managers of the scenario, the networks of experts and agents, for a fast mobilization of prepositioned resources. At a larger scale and for specific risks, procedures and guides of best practices should be prepared and trained, and flexibility in operations should be exercised. Information on lessons learned in practices and emergencies should be integrated.

Also, safety is a big concern, and several specific issues can be considered: rest-work balance, specific skills of specific roles such as safety officer, crew cohesion, communication and location of victims and responders, …

High Impact, Low Frequency Emergencies

To develop capabilities in fire services and society in front of low frequency emergencies that exceeds firefighter´s capacities, the focus in operations is on anticipating the evolution of the scenario, on using available opportunities to reduce total vulnerability in the whole scenario, and on communicating to the public to raise the awareness of their own vulnerability and self-protection capacity.

Main efforts are in preparing and learning, as an organization. From anticipated, complex, probable scenarios,  solutions and level of risk should be negotiated  and exercised with stakeholders, capabilities in the fire service should be either standardized or specialized, and make communities aware of the limits of protection from the fire service, and their role as agents in the emergency.

A shift is needed toward a more proactive approach, improving the capacity to recognize, communicate and respond to changes of behaviors. Building tools for exchanging information and practices between responders and specialist from all big events in Europe and the world. Have the capacity to adjust doctrine to new learnings to protect firefighters and the public, pushing for better prevention and specially self-protection.

Multi-agency / Multi-leadership Environment

To integrate a more distributed decision making from different agencies and stakeholders with overlapped competences and different interests and cultures, and do it in a short time, and simultaneously at different scales and levels in the hierarchy, at least a shared understanding should be agreed, as well as some strategic shared objectives.

Most of the capabilities should be prepared with time and effort. From defining common information management processes, enhancing synergies at different scales, and training on interagency scenarios to planning interoperability, and establishing an interagency framework that allows flexibility and autonomy to get assigned objectives.

Cross-border scenarios are a good opportunity for building capabilities  to integrate this distributed decision- making in the fire agencies, but a larger European Framework  that facilitates building this capacities in the agencies should be build.

High Level of Uncertainty

In highly dynamic emergencies, where unexpected risks and opportunities emerge, where changes are greater than the capacity to communicate about them, we need to maintain the initiative and the credibility.

Strategies during the emergency focus on resiliency of the society as a whole, on maintaining the initiative over the emergency, providing a predictable environment for operations, involving the public as agents of the emergency, and on reducing potential uncertain chain events.

Most effort should be done preparing for and learning for this scenario, this time as a society. When this event occurs, there is a small window of opportunity to focus on cultural changes in risk tolerance and resiliency, building capacities in the whole emergency system towards a more integral risk management, and focusing on governance for resiliency.