Alert4All, a step towards a pan European effective alert communications' system
Europe is a reality made of 27 countries and a common emergency number (112), where you can communicate any emergency situation everywhere within the European territory, despite the fact that 23 different official languages are spoken. Each country has its own emergency system and, up to day, there isn’t an harmonised approach to alert the population in Europe.
“The Alert4All goal is to improve the effectiveness of public alert and communication during crisis situations in European member States. This implies that Alert4All intends to reduce the impact of disasters (in terms of losses to health and life, as well as economic impact), by informing efficiently and on time the population at risk”, explains Cristina Párraga, Alert4All project manager.
“On the one side, this means that Alert4All is directed to the civil protection officials that shall inform the population, but also, and more importantly, to the European citizens that shall benefit ultimately from improvements in public alert systems”, adds Párraga.
You can also watch an interview in Spnish with Cristina Párraga here.
Relevant improvements in public alert using different technologies
Alert4All “improves communication features, cooperation between authorities and situation awareness. On the communication features’ side, Alert4All allows disseminating alert messages over many communication technologies directly to the citizens own devices, such as digital and smart TV, mobile phone and navigation device, but also over in-building security systems, such as the LED screens in railway stations, voice evacuation systems in malls, or schools and mass notification systems, such as public screens.
The recipients’ will received the alerting message in their own language and in text or speech and in a harmonised way, “so that the alert message would look the same way regardless from the official, civil protection office or country from which the alert message is issued. This shall improve the familiarity of citizens with the public alert system and their trust on and understanding of the message.”
Alert4all fosters cooperation among several protection agencies
“Alert4All provides means for rapid and efficient information exchange when several civil protection agencies are involved in the same crisis situation, which in turn improves coordination and cooperation”, explains Párraga.
Based on Social Media to improve the decision making process
“Alert4All has developed a screening of new media tool that observes how the population understand the situation and, based on this knowledge, to improve the decision making process. The impact that the crisis situation has on the population is inferred from the information that people generates on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and collaborative web sites).”
Sentiment analysis to enhance situational awareness
“The information is analyzed to extract that are presented to the civil protection officials as sentiment trends over time, namely how people feel about the crisis and the communicated alert messages. This implements and indirect feedback channel in public alert communications, which have been unidirectional up to now. “
Estimating the message’s impact
It is also possible estimating “if alert messages have been transmitted to, understood and believed by the relevant people and not only to technical devices, taking into account not only technical aspects but also social behaviour of the individuals and crowds“ using an alert impact simulation tool.
“This alerting effect simulation is considered by the involved crisis managers to be very useful both in preparedness planning and for investment decisions about additional channels for public alert purposes.”
Welcome to this new platform, as an important step needed to unify the emergency system in Europe. Don’t you find it necessary?