Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Forest fires and terror attacks. Norway and the rest of the world must be prepared for catastrophes.
The recent terror attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya have shown that both individuals and society at a whole must be prepared for the unthinkable. Other recent events include the petroleum catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the earthquakes and tsumani in Japan, and forest fires in Greece and Portugal.
Large-scale multidisciplinary rescue services are put into effect in much the same way as they were 20 or 30 years ago. This contrasts with the state of affairs in other areas such as medicine, where new methods of treatment are constantly being developed, with important consequences for public health.
Research and development projects concerning emergency services are urgently needed, and the EU has met this challenge by financing BRIDGE (Bridging resources and agencies in large-scale emergency management). In the course of four years, € 18 million will be put into improving our ability to save lives and property when catastrophes occur.
The subject of the EU’s BRIDGE project is transnational and interagency cooperation in the event of terror attacks, natural disasters and industrial accidents. The project is being led by SINTEF and was launched in April 2011.
BRIDGE has brought together 14 partners from seven different countries. In addition to technological research and development, the project will examine European laws and regulations and how these affect cooperation and the management of major disasters across agencies and national boundaries. Ethical and social aspects of the use of technology will also be central topics of the project. In order to ensure that appropriate solutions emerge from the project, the emergency services will be involved in the development and evaluation of the solutions.