Risk management is a crucial activity of communities. They have the responsibility to prevent risks and to inform citizens in the event of a crisis. In practice, however, this is complicated to implement.

How can the cultural divide in the prevention of risks in France be overcome? What tools can communities rely on?

In France, community leaders have a reluctance to alert their fellow citizens in the event of a crisis, as it is up to the State to do so. Despite alarming news and the multitude of risks we face, “we lack a culture of vigilance cruelly, unlike many other countries,” says Michel Sacher.

Communication & Awareness

France is not accustomed to so many risks. Training is required for all at the local level, and considerable efforts in communication are needed as well. “It is necessary to alleviate this weariness and the lack of interest on the part of the population” adds Michel Sacher. He continues that “The solution would be to carry out a communication adapted and focused on the knowledge of these risks, with each region, each Department, and then for each city. This will lead to an individual awareness of these risks through targeted and geolocalized messages.”

Prevention: a priority

The foundation of risk management remains prevention. Prevention is based on 4 essential elements*. Risk awareness and evaluation will help organize the priorities. It will then be possible to mitigate the consequences of the risk, to develop a prevention strategy and to design an appropriate warning system. This is followed by surveillance and predictive capacities, the dissemination of information through modern communication systems and finally a response adapted to the crisis.

Regulation and new technologies

Regulations require communities to protect their citizens. The General Code of Local and Regional Authorities, for example, requires the mayor to take all of the measures designed to ensure the protection of its citizens. But the question of the means is always a sensitive point. It disrupts the application of these obligations. Mayors do not always have the tools to inform the population in real time. This is where new technologies can play a role. For example, the device deployed during the 46th edition of the international festival of fireworks held in July on the Costa Brava in Spain. More than 900,000 people flocked to the city for 4 to 5 nights. Tightened security was needed. Steps were taken to inform the participants of the safety instructions. In case of an alert, the objective was also to be able to send them notifications in real time, in 6 different languages.

So the Notico SAFE solution was tested throughout the event. “The alert system allows the authority to send localized notifications to users who have downloaded the application to their smartphones. ” according to Notico. The 2016 pilot should give birth to a tool deployed on a larger scale next year.

*Excerpt from theTIGRE co-rédigé par l’ARRI (Agence Régionale pour l’Innovation et l’Internationalisation des entreprises) et le Cluster Safe.

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