Thematic Working Group D: Natural hazard mitigation


  • exchanging views across borders,
  • analysing the gaps in the tools they need to operate
  • prioritising future R&D efforts

Main areas

In this area changing environmental conditions (climate, demographic and technological changes) require strategic analysis and constant revision of the status quo of crisis mitigation and its effectiveness as well as a good analysis of technical and operational solutions at hand.

Specific challenges include:

1 “A specific focus on prevention”

  • Having appropriate risk assessment tools for individual as well as affected population at hand
  • Monitoring of national regional and municipal settlement projects and regulations according to risks
  • Monitoring of conformity with international guidelines

2 “Education of the new generation”

  • Education of the practitioners towards a more flexible operational approach and rapidly changing roles in theater
  • Sharing of best practices with the young generation
  • Monitoring of school programs and organize an international prize on school best programs and practices in civil protection education
  • monitoring of recovery program where the local risk has been reduced by specific actions.
  • demographic change (e.g. aging population) and special requests such as handicapped ;
  • change of attitude towards voluntary work and related difficulties with regard to training concepts;
  • increased need in qualifying on a more standardized level “expert consultants” to identify potential risks regarding natural disasters beforehand and having an expert in the command and control team in place if a disaster strikes
  • communication with and integration of civilians; compatibility of communication devices and finding a common language/ signs for respective natural disasters;

3 “Working with the most adequate Tools”

  • testing and evaluating technology that is capable of mitigating the effects of floods and flash floods effectively to prevent harm to humans as well as to economical assets e.g. testing methods for the strenghth of dykes etc.




1st TWG-D Workshop, 26-27 February 2018, Berlin

The workshop included 23 experts from 10 countries, ranging from the very north of Sweden to the southernmost parts of Europe, providing a relatively broad picture of natural disasters across the region. The group included communal fire-fighters and personnel from headquarters as well as community and regional level experts. The experts used two scenarios: floods and flash flood to discuss Common Capability Challenges.

In Europe, flash floods are becoming more common due to extreme weather conditions, as a consequence of climate change. Flash floods are among the most devastating natural disasters worldwide. Around 8% of damaging events worldwide were flash floods.

Floods and flash floods require further attention despite many initiatives to address the consequences of these natural disasters. The latest study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) indicates that changes in rainfall as a result of climate change will increase river flood risks around the world. Scientists have calculated, up until the 2040s, that the United States, parts of India and Africa, Indonesia, and Central Europe will be in the greatest need of adaption and flood protection to respond to increasing fluvial flood risks.

The group developed a new name, gapability, instead of capability, for discussing research gaps and thinking about the exchange of best practices. They also discussed moving forward, what is missing and how response can be improved. The experts discussed the need for more specific training and the standardization of procedures. For example, there was a request for a standardized monitoring system on flood data for Europe; standardized protocol for training experiences and the need for a generic crowdsourcing concept, and a pre-installed early warning app on all mobile phones sold within the EU.

The feedback from the experts who attended was very positive, many said that learning about best-practices and gaining new insights made the workshop a valuable experience.

These are the conclusions of the 1st TWG D Workshop:


FIREIN TWGD Workshop 'Natural Disasters'