Note: The SHERPA project has received funding from the European Union’s Internal Security Fund - Police under grant agreement no. 815347. Coordinated by UIC, the project began on 1 November 2018 and will run for 24 months. Its objective is to improve the overall protection level for stations and trains in Europe against terrorist attacks by implementing multiple synergistic actions aimed toward the relevant stakeholders. The SHERPA Consortium is composed of six partners: UIC, DB AG, FS SpA, PKP S.A., SNCB, and SNCF.
Following a first session on transport sector threat analysis on 16 September, the second SHERPA training session was held on 23 September and focused on crisis management and business continuity.
The first presentation of the day was given by the Italian civil protection authority, focusing on disaster and emergency planning. In Italy, the national civil protection authority is responsible for the prediction, prevention and management of emergency events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. Various services are provided to the population in the event of an emergency, such as rescue, evacuation, recovery assistance (hosting people in camps), and restoration of order (in schools, for example). Preparation and cooperation with all stakeholders, including operators, is crucial and it is essential that the role of each stakeholder is clearly defined.
The second presentation was given by the Security Operations Centre (SOC) at the Belgian Railways (SNCB). The SOC’s role is to manage all security operations and interventions at national level. It serves as a single point of contact for emergency services and police. The SOC has recently been fully redesigned on a basis of a comprehensive ergonomic study.
The session ended with a lecture on crisis management organisation for managing emergencies in the railway system, given by FS Italiane. Here, the focus was on cooperation with civil protection, highlighting cooperation agreements, training and exercises and sharing of emergency management activities.
Key elements for crisis management were highlighted by the speakers during the very fruitful session. These included:
- Ensuring a high level of preparedness: defining scenarios and performing exercises with the involvement of all stakeholders: first responders, civil protection, police, and operators such as the railways.
- Developing strong networks and knowing who to call for each kind of crisis.
- Taking advantage of technologies such as sensors and communication systems to enable a good overview of the situation and to help decision-makers.
The next session SHERPA international training session will be held on 30 September and will focus on terrorism threats and awareness.