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Disaster Management WHITE PAPER

Corvinno Technology Transfer Center

The necessity of conscious disaster management Collaboration and communication Coordination Decision support Role of the private sector Assessment of system and processes

Disaster Management Problems and solutions The European Union consists of already 27 countries, and in these countries the safe and secure producing, working and living environment should be provided. Therefore the conscious management of risks is essential for stability and continuous economic growth. These risks include natural disasters (flood, earthquake, fire, storm, etc. ), technological hazards, transport safety and accidents, terrorism, IT security. After the expansion of EU, the risk areas also expanded, and the cooperation of countries became essential. Related to risk management we concentrate on natural disasters and man-made accidents.


The necessity of conscious disaster management


In the case of emergency, harmonisation of work of different services from different countries is necessary, for example: police, ambulance, fire services, disaster recovery, civil defence, national security, military, environmental protection, disease control. These services have different priorities, different working methods, different language and codes, different approaches for problem management. The coordination of these services includes also a cross-border problem: disasters may affect different countries, regions, therefore jurisdiction and language problems may occur. Moreover the political will, and political coordination of disaster management areas can be slightly different in each country, with different priorities and procedures. Disaster management activities face with the following main challenges:  Heterogeneity of Monitoring Systems: There are several monitoring systems that are collecting data for different organisations and for different purposes, using different sensor technologies. Although the different solutions collect huge amount of data, the interpretation and analysis is not consistent. There is a vast need of standardisation of data collection processes, including applied technology and data storing formats.  Lack of Common Interpretation Framework: The interpretation of same data can be different by different authorities, regions and countries. These players can have different goals and different points of view even if data sources, or data interpretation are same. The interpretation of data is ambiguous even on the EU level, therefore the development and wide dissemination and acceptance of an Common Interpretation Framework is required, with a supporting domain specific ontology.  Problem of Cross Border Collaboration: Disasters know no borders. Communication of different authorities and countries can be complicated. Not only because of the differences in natural language, but also due to the differences in goals, approaches or interpretation. In case of collaborative problems, the EU can not provide efficient support, because the EU does not deal with separated local problems. Cross-border disasters can not be stopped with the help of technology, but it can induce cooperation between relevant players. Since language differences are the major obstacles of collaboration, any solution should have language mutations.


 Lack of effective and predictive decision support: The goal of decision making determines what kind of data is required. At present, these monitoring requirements are separated, therefore results are mostly used in only one decision making process, and since the purpose of monitoring is not transparent, the interpretation of collected data by other users is not possible. Moreover decision support solutions lack the ability of integrating data from heterogeneous sources, and lack the ability of run simulations on the possible scenarios. These solutions are required to support a more conscious interpretation and management of disaster situations.  IT solutions are not used for supporting the full disaster management lifecycle: Technological solutions concentrate on detection, reaction and coordination of disaster situations, while preparatory and recovery activities are mostly neglected. However IT solutions, like risk monitoring, simulations, scenario analysis and alternative solutions can be also useful in these preventive and final phases.

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Disaster Management Collaboration and communication Collaborations have to include different cooperation activities:

Regional cooperation of regional authorities (e.g. police and ambulance)

Cross-border cooperation of regional authorities (e.g. police departments);

Cooperation between different authorities of different countries (e.g. police of one country and ambulance of another); In these cooperative activities it is essential to define the jurisdiction of authorities (countries), the coordination body, the methods of disaster recovery, the right order of disaster recovery steps, i.e. the coordination activities. And its not only the problem of coordinating different authorities, but providing the required background infrastructure as well: hospitals, shelters, food and drink, etc. It is also important to provide the required platforms for monitoring (e.g. satellite surveillance) and communication (e.g. TETRA), working language, and the definition of concepts, signs, marking for cognitive understanding. In order to avoid ambiguity, the development of domain ontology for disaster management is required, that enables clear communication, clear understanding, therefore better coordination. This ontology can be also the basis of a knowledge based system to support disaster recovery activities.


Coordination During the coordination activities (Command and Control - C&C), the coordination body should match the possible actions of authorities with the disaster situation. Satellite base surveillance, sensor and other source based information should be gathered and integrated in order to support the decision making process, and the coordination activities. Therefore the management of a disaster situation is the combination of possible actions, based on the situation information. The coordination for interoperability of the authorities is required for avoiding situations in which different services detain each others instead of helping. Focus points can be discovered by the development of the architecture of disaster recovery. In disaster recovery there are initiatives to develop an open service-oriented architecture. It is required to customise these recommendation for cross-border and cross-regional disaster situations.


Collaboration and communication A model of cross-border cooperation

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Disaster Management Predictive risk analysis


Risk analysis is a preventive, preparatory activity of disaster management activities. Not only the unique risks should be analysed, but also the interrelations of different risk areas. In the case of the correlation of just 3 risk areas provides a complex problem situation, that cannot be analysed without IT support. Therefore the simulation of multi-risk environments are essentials. Decision support In real situations the coordinating body (C&C) has neither time nor energy to collect all the relevant information prior decision, decisions are made based on inadequate information, therefore conscious and well-grounded problem solving risk management is required even for decisions. There are the risks of solving the wrong problem (effectiveness) and solving the right problem improperly (efficiency). This is the risk area of problem solving, but it should not be forgotten, that management of disaster risk is also essential. In order to support the decision making process, and complete the missing information, the development of a dynamic, knowledge-based, real-time simulation tool is suggested, that can be used as expert system. This tool can be useable as coordination and problem solving advisor in real situations, and as training tool for the possible users. In the development of the tool the suggestions of the ORCHESTRA standards for risk management application should be revised and adapted. Disaster management must end with disaster recovery, but recovery is a much longer process than just reacting a disaster situation. During recovery authorities should assess the impact of the disaster and suggest countermeasures. Recovery actions have several properties (time, resources, impact, dependencies), therefore recovery actions should be performed with the central coordination of C&C. The achieve the optimal order of different recovery actions, the help of the simulation tool is once again required.

Roles of the Command and Control Center

Possible Action Package

Simulatated Scenarios Monitoring Information

Command and Control Center (C&C)

Disaster Situation

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Disaster Management Role of the private sector During recovering disasters there is a role of not only governmental authorities, but civil organisations and private companies (e.g. private hospitals, private ambulance choppers). In this project the possible interaction between the actors of society and economy, roles of actors of society and economy are researched. This is a typical area of Public Private Partnership, because authorities have responsibility on disaster recovery, but civil and private organisation have high role in prevention of events, in risk assessment and management, and after disasters in restoration (e.g. alarm systems, distance monitoring). It is not only a possibility for such organisations, but it is also a requirement for the private sector to provide efficient and effective solutions. In the case of cross-border and cross-regional disaster situations, public safety communication has higher importance, and higher difficulty: authorities should communicate public in understandable language and terms, and clearly order public the requirement behaviour. It is also a coordination activity of the communication of different authorities from different countries, based on the processing and analysis of the information, provided by these authorities. In disaster situations there is the risk, that the traditional communication devices do not work, therefore alternative solutions are required. Assessment of systems and processes Public Safety Communication and Information Systems would highly benefit of the establishment and standardised control of good practices appearing in general IT Governance frameworks like CobiT. After being established, emergency and crisis management processes should be subject to measured improvement to gradually reach higher levels of maturity. The newly published ISO/ IEC 15504 standard provides an appropriate framework for this measurement based on a Reference Model for Emergency and Crisis Management Processes we suggest to develop.

Based on the recent OECD study the following key lessons learned can be formalised related to Disaster Management: Lesson 1: Governments can and must be better prepared to mitigate the economic and social impact of disasters. Lesson 2: The public’s trust and consumer and investor confidence are key ingredients of recovery; they need to be strengthened through credible communication and effective action. Lesson 3: Governments need to work in partnership with the private sector, which has key roles to play in disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. Lesson 4: Major disasters or harmful events can have global implications and call for international co-operation. Reza LAHIDJI in Large-Scale Disasters, Lessons Learned, OECD, 2004

Cooperation of sectors: research, industry and government In development and innovation of efficient disaster recovery and management activities, the participation of research institutions, industry partners, and government authorities is necessary (from several countries). Because of the complexity of disaster management situations, real-life tests cannot be avoided. A possible frame of such an innovative development is the open Living Lab initiative of the European Union, that provides the possibility of cooperation of different sectors, real-life tests, and the involvement of the possible end-users, that are in this case the citizens.

Š Corvinno Technology Transfer Center Ltd.


Corvinno Technology Transfer Center Ltd.

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Corvinno Technology Transfer Center was born when a group of erudite people decided to create an organization that completely focuses on the exploitation of the gathered knowledge and experience. These people have demonstrated their aptitude and efficiency in leading organizations from the public and the private sector. The common feature of Corvinno team is possessing a unique combination of innovation, management and technical expertise and above all sharing the same professional and ethical values. In accordance with the innovation life cycle, Corvinno is proud of:  leading prestigious research projects in the field of ICT,  disseminating its results through conferences, publications and trainings,  offering consultancy and solutions to its clients. Our Mission As an independent innovation and consultancy company Corvinno is strongly committed to perform the highest standards in order to meet the expectations of its maximalism and of its partners it collaborates with. As change is the general constant, Corvinno is dedicated to innovation activities and knowledge transfer as the only factors that shape the landscape of global economy. Corvinno seeks to combine the traditional values with the provision of innovative, creative and state-of-the-art services and approaches. It helps to achieve the main objective to become a reputated innovation organization recognised for its eminent human capital. Our Services Consultancy areas

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Disaster Management whitepaper  

Corvinno Technology Transfer Center

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