Crisis Management and the importance of interoperability

Crisis Management and the importance of interoperability

STRATEGY project aims to strengthen the EU’s resilience against all types of disasters by developing a framework and standardised documents to safeguard first responders and enhance their operational capabilities along all emergency phases.


During a crisis, any intervention phase is pivotal in managing or mitigating a disaster, as well as in providing prompt response and cooperation. Therefore, developing standardised tools and protocols is essential, enabling a vast array of actors – often operating transnationally – to collaborate optimally in every situation. STRATEGY, a project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme, was initiated based on these premises. It aims to enhance the interoperability of systems, tools, and operational procedures in Crisis Management, by establishing a pan-European pre-standardisation framework.



In Europe, risks associated with emergencies and calamities are on a steady rise. The underlying reasons are well known and include issues related to climate change, global epidemics, and critical situations at the borders of countries. These have compelled the 28 member states to address new challenges, on which the STRATEGY project is committed to working through an integrated and inclusive approach.

“STRATEGY aims to improve interoperability of systems, tools, and procedures within Europe’s Crisis Management framework, enhancing the EU’s resilience against various forms of disasters,” explains Andrea Carpaccioli, Senior Consultant at Deep Blue. “To realise these objectives, the project is working on developing a pre-standardisation framework, which will undergo testing under realistic conditions. Several documents are currently in preparation and are set to be approved and released in the upcoming months by CEN-CENELEC, the European standardisation agency.”

Started in September 2020, STRATEGY is set to conclude in August 2023. So far, the project has identified and selected standardisation gaps within 8 specific areas of Crisis Management, by collaborating with first responder authorities and end-users, it has developed 12 pre-standardisation documents, which have to be validated, tested, and published in 2023.



Within STRATEGY, Deep Blue is responsible for coordinating the public Early Warning work. In the domains of Crisis Management competency, Early Warning is a crucial phase within emergencies’ mitigation strategies, and it represents the ensemble of procedures to be executed promptly upon a catastrophic event or potential risks. 

There’s no doubting the importance of alert systems; however, when it comes to standardisation practices, documents related to Early Warning (EW) systems remain limited: among these is the ISO/AWI 21499 “Security and resilience – community-based landslide early warning system”, recently defined as a future standard to be implemented starting from the ISO/TC 292 “Security and Resilience” while, in the European context, falls the ETSI TS 102 900, which gathers technical specifications concerning the public alert system (EU-ALERT) that uses the mobile broadcasting service, and which will be implemented by all the countries of the European Union in the coming years.

The growing audience on digital platforms highlights the escalating need to actively use social media to disseminate alerts and warnings within crisis scenarios. However, common European guidelines that address the first responders’ needs and ensure effective communication between parties haven’t been defined yet.

“Although the use of social media is becoming increasingly important in emergencies, we need to develop standardised protocols to convey coherent, clear, and uniform warning messages,” Alessia Golfetti, Head of Secure Societies at Deep Blue, explains. “In light of this context, we are planning a CEN Workshop Agreement intended to provide practical guidance for designing effective alert messages; and this takes into account the specific features of each social media channel.”

The document “Guidelines for effective social media messages in crisis and disaster management” aims to support authorities responsible for alerting and communicating with citizens during various emergency phases, containing guidelines and recommendations for creating alert messages, considering aspects like content organisation, message accessibility, and graphical and visual contents.


  • Designing the form and contents of messages

Alert messages should be organised in a logical and intuitive way, using short paragraphs and providing the main information in the title, the behaviours to follow in the body of the message, and a call to action or a link for more information. The content of the message must be adapted to the social platform and made accessible through the use of hashtags and multimedia content, formatting the text for the use of automatic screen-reading applications, and using language accessible to everyone.



  • Informing through Graphic and Visual Contents

Whether it refers to images, colours, or other iconographic elements, graphic contents can be used to increase sharing and user attention on any social media platform. Moreover, alert authorities can also define a basic graphic project, by considering all the visual elements that can facilitate the understanding and accessibility of the message.

The current version of the standardisation document “Guidelines for effective social media messages in crisis and disaster management ” is currently available on the CEN-CENELEC website for reviews and comments until March 31, 2023.



All documents are currently under development and are set to be showcased and tested further during a large full-scale exercise (FSX), planned for March 2023, in Italy. The objective is to collect additional feedback and remarks for further integration into the documents, slated for publication in July 2023, upon the project’s conclusion.

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