Emergency situations and mass casualties involve several agencies and public authorities, which need to gather data from the incident scene and exchange geo-referenced information to provide fast and accurate first aid to the people in need. Tracking patients on their way to the hospitals can prove critical in taking lifesaving decisions. Increased and continuous flow of information combined by vital signs and geographic location of emergency victims can greatly reduce the response time of the medical emergency chain and improve the efficiency of disaster medicine activity. Recent advances in mobile positioning systems and telecommunications are providing the technology needed for the development of location-aware medical applications. IMPRESS is an advanced ICT platform based on adequate technologies for developing location-aware medical response during emergencies. The system incorporates mobile and fixed components that collect field data from diverse sources, support medical location and situation-based services and share information on the patient’s transport from the field to the hospitals. In IMPRESS platform tracking of victims, ambulances and emergency services vehicles is integrated with medical, traffic and crisis management information into a common operational picture. The Incident Management component of the system manages operational resources together with patient tracking data that contain vital sign values and patient’s status evolution. Thus, it can prioritize emergency transport decisions, based on medical and location-aware information. The solution combines positioning and information gathered and owned by various public services involved in MCIs or large-scale disasters. IMPRESS solution, were validated in field and table top exercises in cooperation with emergency services and hospitals.
The use of UAS by the emergency services has been received with great interest since UAS provide both informant and helper support in a flexible, effective and efficient manner. This is due to the fact that, UAS can strengthen the operational capabilities related to: prevention (e.g., patrolling of large and hard to reach areas), early detection (e.g., mapping of vulnerable elements), disaster preparedness (e.g., incident inspection), response (mapping damages, search and rescue, provide an ad hoc communication network, monitor evacuation, etc). Through PREDICATE, a project concerning civilian use of drones, the necessary methodologies to guide the selection and operational use of UAS in emergencies, are developed. To guide UAS selection, the project performed a detailed needs assessment in cooperation with civil protection and law enforcement agencies. As a result of this assessment, currently available technologies and market solutions were reviewed leading to the development of an online user-friendly tool to support selection of UAS based on operational requirements. To guide the use of UAS, PREDICATE developed an intelligent path planning toolkit to automate the operation of UAS and ease their use for the various civil protection operations. By employing the aforementioned tools, emergency services will be able to better understand how to select and make use of UAS for watch-keeping and patrolling of their own disaster-prone Regions of Interest. The research, innovation and applicability behind both these tools is detailed in this work.