Work Begins on European Disaster Preparedness Standard

The Brussels Management Centre of CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, is the site of two meetings today that will lead to creation of a new standard for protecting the populace against natural disasters and terrorist acts. CEN, which develops voluntary standards, was asked by the European Community to address this issue, and it formed CEN BT/WG 161, "Protection and Security of the Citizen," to accomplish the task.

"This requires agreements on the process of Disaster Management and on the interoperability of procedures and technology," the agency said in documents announcing the meetings. "Indeed, throughout Europe, millions of people are working in emergency services, as professionals or volunteers. Most of them operate on the National level or Regional level. However, an increasing number of incidents and disasters occur in the border territory, requiring a close co-operation between the operations of various services in different member states, or indeed within the same Member State. To improve this service, a Management system approach is very important, since this enables the various services and personnel to co-operate on a common basis within a single master process."

The eventual agreement will help responders improve their organizations, procedures, communications, equipment, PPE, and training to mitigate incidents, attacks, or natural disasters through co-ordination and use of trained personal in a timely way.

Simon James Hunt, 43, a fire officer with the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in England, is the proposed chairman of the workshop that will develop the agreement.

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