Advanced Emergency Response Management in Smart Environments

Advanced Emergency Response Management in Smart Environments

Gian Luca Foresti (University of Udine, Italy), Manuela Farinosi (University of Udine, Italy) and Marco Vernier (University of Udine, Italy)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch127

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In the last decade, progress in low cost, high performance computing networks and digital communications on heterogeneous, mobile and fixed broadband networks (Abad et al., 2012; Kim, 2009; Hofstee, 2005; Pande et al.,, 2005) have supported the development of innovative systems for emergency management. In the literature, there are several systems able to monitor and manage rescue operations in the aftermath of a disaster event. These systems can be classified on the basis of different input data and logical architectures into three categories: 1) Traditional Emergency Management Systems; 2) Smart Emergency Management Systems; 3) Social Emergency Management Systems.

Traditional Emergency Management Systems

“Traditional emergency management systems” are those systems that do not make use of sensors to monitor the scene during and after the disaster event (Figure 1). In many cases, the alarm is launched by citizens or public operators through traditional communication systems as landlines or mobile phones.

Figure 1.

Logical architecture of a traditional emergency management system

Today these systems are still in use but - given the rapid technological innovation - present strong limitations. Furthermore, in some cases, the information provided to the rescue personnel may be limited, ambiguous and imprecise since that is spread by people who have experienced emotional shock. In addition, the traditional emergency management systems - given that are not based on sensors able to monitor a certain area or situation - can be activated only after the event happened, through a call from the affected area to the fire brigade or Civil Protection that initiates rescue operations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Unified Operative Centre (UOC): A control centre equipped with advanced technologies and able to automatically monitor a given environment (e.g., motorway, metroline, airport, etc.). Hybrid Emergency Management Systems have smart UOC where advanced human computer interaction interfaces are used to display to the operators in an intelligent way multiple data acquired from heterogeneous sensors. Moreover, alert mechanisms signal to the authorised personnel when an anomalous event occurs.

Web Crawler: A software program able to automatically analyse the content of web pages in order to recognize useful information. In the proposed Hybrid Management system, the web crawler is used to detect and extract from social platforms information regarding disaster events. Then, a neural tree-based network is used to automatically classify the information retrieved as belongs to an emergency event or not.

Data Fusion: An integration process, which allows combining different kind of data coming from heterogeneous sensors. The goal is to obtain as output a consistent, accurate and useful representation of data integrated. The most known data fusion model is the JDL (Joint Directors of Laboratories) which offers a multi-level functionality that describes how processing is organized in a data fusion system. It is recognized as a de facto standard in data fusion and is likely to remain so for the near future.

Emergency Management System: Those systems used to manage disaster events and organise rescue operations. The core of traditional systems is represented by an Unified Operative Centre (UOC) which receives information directly from users and/or emergency personnel spread on the territory. Instead, innovative Emergency Management Systems provide solutions based on smart sensors able to monitor the scene and send the information to the UOC which automatically alerts the operators when an emergency event occur.

Situation Awareness: A pre-requisite state of knowledge and cognition of events useful for making decisions in situations involving uncertainty and crisis. Having an accurate situational awareness is essential for successful decision-making across a broad range of complex and dynamic systems, including emergency response, military command operations, air traffic control, etc.

User Generated Content (UGC): Any form of digital material, such as videos, photos, blogs, posts, audio files, produced by amateurs without the expectation of profit and then shared online. It is generally created outside of professional practices and routines and constitutes the key characteristic of the so-called Web 2.0, and in particular of the social media platforms.

Smart Sensors: A category of intelligent sensors equipped by one or more embedded processors used for different tasks in different scenario. They combine a sensing element, an analog interface circuit, an analog-to-digital converter and a bus interface. Video and audio systems which allow to perform embedded processing are considered as part of this category of sensors.

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