IN_PREP logo EU logo H2020


An INtegrated next generation PREParedness programme for improving effective inter-organisational response capacity in complex environments of disasters and causes of crises

September 2017 – August 2020

The IN-PREP project has received funding from Horizon 2020 (H2020/2014-2020), the European Union’s Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement n° 740627

Abstract  The occurrence of transboundary crises in Europe is an ever more often phenomenon. These crises can cross national borders as well as policy boundaries with speed and ease, threatening the continuing functioning of critical infrastructures and the well-being of many citizens. Some European examples include wildfires, flooding, the spread diseases, the financial crisis, and the migration crisis. The persistent threat of international terrorism, climate change and political upheaval in the near future virtually guarantee more of these crises. A transboundary crisis is defined as an urgent threat to core values, key institutions or critical infrastructures that stretches across one or more types of boundaries (national, organizational, political, economic, legal or conceptual). Such crises, by definition, affect multiple sectors, groups or countries. Transboundary crises pose a specific set of complex challenges for which Europe is – despite a number of recent policy initiatives – still ill prepared.

IN-PREP recognizes three challenges that need urgent attention in order to support an effective EU-coordinated response to transboundary crises:
  1. As large-scale crises require the timely and efficient sharing of scarce resources, member states need to develop shared response planning.
  2. Countries need to share information in real time. This sense-making challenge requires a way to have multiple countries and agencies create a shared picture of an emerging crisis based on multiple sources (different countries, many agencies).
  3. Countries need to coordinate the use of critical resources to ensure a timely response and to avoid waste and misspending.

Project Objectives   The aim of IN-PREP is to provide a novel framework

To safeguard societies and prepare them for large-scale natural or man-made disasters and complex crises requires an intelligent, multi-faceted, systematic and coordinated preparedness programme. The IN-PREP project capitalises on integrating novel technology tools to support various preparedness activities and to interlink a wide range of stakeholders including firefighting units, medical emergency services, police forces, CP units, command & control centres and assessment experts, for a collaborative response.

IN-PREP addresses two main preparedness challenges:
  • Improving transboundary response planning
  • Enabling a novel and holistic approach for scenario building
IN-PREP will establish and demonstrate a next generation system as a reference implementation of tools and processes, applicable to the entirety of crisis planning stakeholders aiming to achieve realistic cross-organisational coordination at all levels of operations (strategic, tactical, operational) before and during an incident. The proposed framework will not only improve preparedness and planning but can be also applied during joint interventions, thus improving the EU’s joint capacity to respond to a crisis. The project is funded by the European Commission involving twenty partners from seven countries, experts in various aspects of the crisis management sector.

FSEG’s role in IN-PREP The agent based EXODUS evacuation simulation tool represents the current state-of-the-art in evacuation simulation. It is able to simulate large numbers of people within large complex geometries and has been used in different design and forensic applications including underground stations, clubs, airports, high-rise buildings, etc.

Very few agent based models exit that can be used for large-scale or urban-scale applications. Several models have been developed to simulate large-scale evacuation from floods and earthquakes but these are limited in their ability to read GEO-data and to link to Command and Control systems. Current evacuation models have severe limitations to accurately and adequately simulate characteristics of large scale evacuations such as different types of terrain (e.g. paved paths and rough ground, terrain with steep gradients or hills) and are limited in representing the influences of different terrain types and gradients on the movement rates and behaviour of people travelling large distances. The models are also limited in how they can incorporate complex map data, such as terrain type and elevation information to describe the physical environment. Evacuation models are also limited in how they can incorporate reasonable population profiles describing the actual population demographics, spatial and temporal distribution. Existing models have difficulties to run very large simulations at or faster than real time rate and have limited capability to adapt to events that occur during the unfolding of an incident. Improvements in all these aspects is essential if evacuation simulation is to be used in planning, training and real-time support for an incident that can occur at an arbitrary time and location. These are essential features if the model is to be used for real time support during an incident.

Picture of large scale evacuation using urbanEXODUS Picture of large scale evacuation using webEXODUS
Large scale evacuation using urbanEXODUS Large scale evacuation using webEXODUS

The identified limitations in the current state-of-the-art in large-scale evacuation simulation will be addressed. IN-PREP will further extend the state-of-the-art EXODUS evacuation model so that it can address large urban scale evacuation scenarios. These enhancements include:
  1. Enhancement of the urbanEXODUS evacuation simulation tool through: Ability to read Digital Terrain Model (DTM) data; Improved representation of space (incorporation of different terrain types (paved/unpaved paths), terrain gradients, hybrid spatial representation of geometry to improve run time performance); Ability to represent the effects of different terrain types and gradients to people’s movement rates and behaviours; Ability to modify geometry information and agent behaviour due to changing hazard information derived from a flood or earthquake incidents; Ability to readjust predicted population distribution on the evacuation model based on live feedback from the field.
  2. Coupling to Command and Control (C2) environment; Ability to communicate with C2 environments via webEXODUS; Receive input from flood or earthquake scenario;
  3. Coupling to Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform (MRPP): Ability to modify scenario with live data inputs.
The integration of EXODUS with the C2 and MRPP will provide a unique advantage to incident managers when assessing the available evacuation options of the affected population by providing the tools to assess the evacuation procedures and adapt them to accommodate the peculiarities of the unfolding incident.

Work Packages and FSEG’s role
Work Package FSEG's contribution
WP1 Consortium Management & Innovation Development Coordination FSEG will contribute to periodic, interim and final reports and deliverables
WP2 User Needs and Ethical, Legal and Human Factors in System Development FSEG will capture end-user requirements (civil protection, fire and police departments, health emergency units and regional policy makers for crisis management). FSEG will analyse the user requirements and prepare the technical specifications for the evacuation modelling component. FSEG will also contribute to the use cases and the specifications of the table-top exercises and demonstrations.
WP3 IN-PREP System Design FSEG will design the evacuation simulation layer and its integration within the Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform (MRPP). Existing capabilities will be specified as well as the maturity level and architecture of urbanEXODUS and webEXODUS. The focus however will be on webEXODUS as the tool that will be integrated into the IN-PREP system. The scenario editing capabilities of webEXODUS will be specified. A description of how an evacuation scenario can be prepared prior to an incident taking place and how it can be edited and modified live while an emergency is unfolding. The inputs and outputs of urbanEXODUS and webEXODUS tools in relation to the MRPP will be defined. The role and information provided by the evacuation layer to MRPP will be specified.
WP4 IN-PREP Scenario Building Developments on webEXODUS interface, addition of new features and capabilities to be able to represent the table-top exercises and demonstration cases. This will include the development of the library models and scenarios to be used during the exercises and demonstrations. Develop the webEXODUS output information that will be displayed on the MRPP.
WP5 IN-PREP System Developments and Adaptations FSEG will develop protocols to enable communication between webEXODUS and the IN-PREP system, allow for data exchange and provide evacuation related data in an appropriate form for display in MRPP. Improvements will be made in both webEXODUS and urbanEXODUS to accommodate new features and capabilities, input from and output to other IN-PREP modules and components, import of hazard modelling data and results, provide evacuation related data such as evacuation times, clearing times, evacuation routes and usage of those routes, population density, safety times, areas of critical population density, etc. Develop the ability to receive real world input data (population, hazards) and provide the tools to modify the evacuation scenario accordingly. Development will also be made on urbanEXODUS simulation tool with new features and capabilities to be able to represent the required scenarios for the table top exercises and demonstrations. urbanEXODUS will receive input from web
WP6 IN-PREP System Integration Define the integration requirements and architecture of webEXODUS within the IN-PREP system, specify technical aspects of communication protocols and interface to the IN-PREP system.
Testing and verification of webEXODUS integration with IN-PREP system for all the table-top exercises and demonstrations that will include an evacuation modelling component.
WP7 IN-PREP Training Programme - Exercises & Demos Provide input and support of the table-top exercises and demonstrations involving the evacuation simulation component. This work will include the design and preparation of the evacuation models that will include the evacuation area, population distribution and scenario specific information. Contribute to the assessment of the evacuation component and agreement with end users’ requirements and project objectives.
WP8 High Impact Communications and Networking Participating in workshops, conferences, provide information regarding developments for evacuation module and prepare a web page providing a description of the IN-PREP project as well as FSEG’s role in the project.
WP9 Exploitation of Results, Management of Intellectual Property and Standardisation Preparation of papers and communications for submission to international conferences, workshops and exhibitions.

Project Partners
 Name Website Logos
Fire Safety Engineering Group
(University of Greenwich)
Carr Communications
Italian Ministry of Interior Department of Fire Corps, Public Rescue and Civil Defence
Crisisplan BV
Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei
IES Solutions
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Municipality of Rhodes
SAMU de PARIS – Emergency Medical Service

Satways Ltd
Veiligheidsregio IJsselland
Trilateral Research

Further Information Prof. Ed Galea
Fire Safety Engineering Group
University of Greenwich
Greenwich Maritime Campus
Old Royal Naval College
Queen Mary Building
Greenwich SE10 9LS

Tel: +44 (020) 8331 8730