Date of release: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

IN-PREPA new three-year project aiming to build a system that can respond better to urgent natural and manmade crises has the University of Greenwich as a key partner.

Funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Programme, the project, called IN-PREP, was launched in Athens on 27 September. It will research and develop tools to respond to three urgent challenges related to transboundary crisis management.

These are sharing response planning across borders and agencies, improved sharing of accurate and relevant information in real time, and improved coordination of critical and scarce resources.

The university's renowned Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG), a world leader in computational fire engineering, will provide an urban-scale evacuation simulation capability.

The group's Director, Professor Ed Galea, says: "During natural or man-made disasters, it is essential to have a robust evacuation plan that can be rapidly adapted during the incident, taking account of the constantly evolving hazardous environment, identifying at risk populations and suggesting viable evacuation alternatives that minimises the risk to the threatened population.

"As part of IN-PREP we will be further enhancing our urbanEXODUS evacuation simulation tool to address these needs for planning, real-time incident management and training."

Both natural and manmade crises are changing in scale, frequency and ferocity. Many of these crises do not respect country boundaries. The combination of the impact of climate change, cyber-attacks and targeted terrorist activity demand an urgent improvement in the response to transboundary crisis management.

Through IN-PREP, tools will be developed to respond to these urgent challenges and support those with the onerous responsibility of managing these life-threatening crisis situations. A training platform will be created and a handbook of operations will be delivered covering the training process of practitioners through various crisis scenarios.

Angelos Amditis, a Director of ICCS (Institute of Communication and Computer Systems), and coordinator of the project, says: "The goal of IN-PREP is to implement new training processes by bringing together existing components, knowledge and experience to create a novel tool that can help people share information and resources across country boundaries while responding to crisis situations."

Part of the university's Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, the Fire Safety Engineering Group has unparalleled expertise in aircraft, building, ship and rail evacuation and fire modelling to simulate how people behave in a crisis, and how fire, smoke, toxic gases and heat spread through a burning aircraft or building.

Consisting of engineers, mathematicians and behavioural psychologists, the team carries out a unique combination of leading-edge research, large-scale human factors trials and practical, real-world consultancy. Its projects have included studies of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, the World Trade Center evacuation and the 7 July London bombings.

For more information on IN-PREP and to follow the progress of the project, visit http://www.in-prep.eu/ and @INPREP_EU.

For further information:
Angelos Amditis (Institute of Communication and Computer Systems): a.amditis@iccs.gr

Evangelos Sdongos (Institute of Communication and Computer Systems): evangelos.sdongos@iccs.gr

Johanna Varghese (Carr Communications, Dublin): johanna@carrcommunications.ie

Professor Ed Galea can be contacted on E.R.Galea@gre.ac.uk and @evacguy

Story by Public Relations