Thursday, December 09, 2004

EENA and the status of 112 Emergency Services in Europe 

Last week the 2nd European 112 Conference & Exhibition took place in Brussels. The presenations given are available here.

Jeff Pulver posts in Emergency Calling in Europe: 112 Update the satus of E112 in Europe and also presents an e-mail sent to him by Oliver-Paul-Morandini with the conclusions of the conference.

I copy here the whole posting from Jeff, which is not very encouraging regarding the emergency calling situation in Europe.

Back on November 8th NEENA (The European Emergency Number Association) announced that it has issued a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the European Commission for misadministration concerning the implementation of the European emergency call number 112. This is in response to what EENA considers unacceptable answer from the European Commission to its concerns.

Olivier Paul-Morandini, founder of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) just send me an email containing the conclusions from the 2nd European 112 conference and exhibition which concluded last week.

"Conclusions of the 2nd European 112 Conference and Exhibition

Issues pertaining to the 112 service chain. The 112 should ensure for all European Citizens the fundamental right to the same high quality service in case of emergency. This should be a political objective of the European Union the achievement of which should be judged on the basis of results obtained and not on the basis of available means and resources. To this respect it is very encouraging the fact that already the EU co-finances projects submitted on the initiative of several Member States in view of establishing integrated systems. However, the total response time of emergency services in case of intervention should become a European standard as soon as possible. Furthermore caller location and multilingual response should also become standard services offered to citizens throughout the EU.

Technological issues. Most of the technologies already exist to support location enhanced 112 services (E112), both in the network and the control room. To implement them only the political will is missing. There are a range of network based solutions to wireless location that can provide alternative solutions and complement each other. Activities towards the implementation of advanced technological solutions should be facilitated or coordinated at a European level, BUT the drive and desire must come from each of the Member States. Furthermore for 112 to be adopted throughout Europe greater direction from the EU is required. Of course technology should not be the driver but the consumers should get what they want. There is a requirement for European training and standards on call handling. Again it is clear that accurate location information is required but implementation of this will create additional pressures on emergency services.

Issues pertaining to emergency services. The 112 constitutes an essential element regarding the management of big crises like the Madrid bombing. However the cornerstone for a better coordination is the interoperability between the emergency services. Given the presence of 12 different nationalities amongst the victims, the following are very important elements to ensure proper and timely response: existence of a common number to call, establishment of a European system of health cards, and the possibility for the multilingual response to emergency calls.

The main elements of the EENA's work program for 2005. EENA underlines the leadership vacuum which exists in the field of emergency communications, mainly because emergency services have not been organized at European level in such a way as to express their common requirements vis-à-vis the industry. EENA is ready to face the challenge and fill in this gap by becoming a central (final and professional) user platform for emergency communications. EENA will thus undertake during 2005 actions towards the accomplishment of this objective. Furthermore EENA will continue and reinforce activities related with the information of citizens by continuing the operation of the existing communications tools as well as by promoting its action for multipliers (namely the e-mergency project). EENA will also continue playing its role as a discussion platform for citizens, emergency services and the industry via its website and online discussion groups, its 112 Newsletter and by organizing the Third European 112 Conference & Exhibition in 2005. The Association will further intervene with all available means to the national and European Authorities (European Commission, European Parliament, Ombudsman, etc) by requesting firm action to be undertaken.

On the basis of the above the following priorities will be considered in EENA's strategic planning for 2005: the education of political authorities and of the public, the establishment of a non-partisan scientific committee (which will undertake the drafting of at least two «Best Practices Guides») and the establishment of a strategic alliance / partnership with professional user organizations."

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