Risk is unavoidable, but as we become more exposed, or more aware of the risks surrounding us, the technology designed to tackle these uncertainties has developed rapidly. Incident modelling is therefore a growing field. Once reserved for defence and government applications, these tools are more accessible and widely applicable than ever before, with the tech getting continually faster, lighter, and cheaper.
Now, the people and sectors that need to tackle risk the most have the capabilities within their reach to enhance situational awareness and decision support, allowing them to further optimise how they respond to urban incidents.
Our UrbanAware platform enables users to model the lifecycle of an incident, from advanced preparation to live response to post-incident analysis. We’ll explore these different use cases in this article, outlining how different sectors, including emergency response, insurance, and major events may leverage these capabilities.
Preparedness and planning
Simulating CBRNe incidents supports the creation of strategies, risk assessments, and team training. By modelling different scenarios, and/or altering determining factors, such as weather or location, users can understand the likely outcomes, how the outcomes would differ in different conditions, and how incidents might evolve.
Users can also model response actions to test how certain decisions may affect outcomes. This is an effective solution for optimising response plans and preparing to mitigate the potential impacts of any given incident.
Defence groups, such as the military or navy, are dealing with day-to-day hazards and so must be prepared for an extensive list of possible threats. Teams can use incident modelling to assess risk and plan strategies for upcoming missions as well as major urban incident response. They’ll work to understand how they can keep their personnel safe, understand likely exposure in a CBRNe incident, and how to most effectively manage the population and their safety.
Emergency response groups, such as fire brigade, police, and ambulance must be able to respond in a timely, yet informed manner. Incident modelling can support this when used as a data-driven exercise tool – using simulations for active training and decision analysis.
Teams can test techniques, such as where to place cordons, where to deploy their units, and what routes should be used in order to mitigate the most impact. Or they can use them to understand the incident risks in more detail, such as determining the area that would be affected and how many individuals would be present in this zone. This allows responders to create, and improve, their strategies based on data and lessons learned.
This is especially useful in regions where there is a present risk, such as a nearby energy site, so authorities can establish contingency plans for potential incidents, like a fire, explosion, or leak, in advance. Similarly, regional authorities may use incident modelling for wide-scale disaster preparedness.
Sites handling known, dangerous materials, such as power stations, chemical plants, or weaponry facilities, will use incident modelling to plan for potential hazards. They can also test these plans or other safety measures to ensure their effectiveness, building in greater resilience to their operations. Many of these users may also be required to include contingency plans and precautions to comply with regulation.
Event and risk analysis
Major events that involve large crowds, like the Olympics or a concert, will also have contingency plans in place to mitigate harm to attendees, which incident modelling can be used to inform. For example, security teams may assess the potential outbreak and spread of a fire in different locations of the venue to determine the optimal evacuation and crowd control strategies for different scenarios.
Another use case may be the deployment of sensors surrounding the event venue for monitoring and situational awareness. Ideally, these sensors would detect a CBRNe threat and alert teams to create a response plan.
Incident modelling can also inform live response, modelling the outcomes of an existing or ongoing threat as it evolves. With potential access to live information, users can gain a more accurate view of potential outcomes and therefore reinforce their existing strategies with more tailored actions.
Emergency response and defence
Emergency responders or the military are the most likely users to benefit from this use case. UrbanAware offers a mobile app which pairs with desktops used by strategic operations or commanders, enabling them to track their personnel as well as the hazard area.
Incident modelling can be used after an incident occurs as an investigative tool. In this use case, users can explore exactly how an incident played out and work to determine the potential cause and impact before gaining insights that could inform future response strategies.
A retrospective model can be valuable for studying incidents in a scientific manner. It can offer insight into how an incident began, why materials behaved a certain way, how particular impacts occurred, and much more.
Responders can also retrospectively assess the effectiveness of their actions, comparing preparedness models against reality to identify differences or deviations, evaluate strategies or decisions, and improve in the future.
Insurance and finance
The aim of some external stakeholders, such as insurance companies, will be to understand their exposure and reduce risk and liability after an incident. To do this, they could use incident modelling to investigate the facts, results and impacts of an incident claim. For example, they may want to understand how many people were impacted and to what extent, or what the original cause of an incident was. These answers will determine how this organisation is required to respond.
Incident modelling with UrbanAware gives these users measurable and evidenced metrics to compare against and use to assign value to the incident impacts. For example, the platform can identify the most likely areas of highest and lowest impact, as well as the number affected.
Discover more about CBRN incident modelling
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