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Systems mapping for technology development in CBRN response

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journal contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 09:34 authored by Graham Hancox, Sue HignettSue Hignett, Hilary Pillin, Spyros Kintzios, Jyri Silmari, Paul Thomas
Purpose This project aimed to develop an EU sociotechnical systems map to represent a harmonised concept of operations (CONOPS) as a future development platform for technologies used in multi-services emergency responses to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) incidents Methodology AcciMaps were developed to locate where technologies are currently used, and opportunities for new technologies. The AcciMaps were iteratively co-designed with End Users (Fire, Ambulance, Police and Military) across three EU countries (UK, Finland and Greece). Data were collected using document analysis and interviews with senior ranking (Gold or Silver Command level) representatives of the participating end users. Findings Despite differences in terminology and between service sectors, consensus was achieved for the command structures (Gold, Silver and Bronze), and Hot Zone responders (Specialist Blue Light Responders and Blue Light Responders). A Control Room was included as the communication spine. Blue Light Responder activities were limited by their scope of practice and available equipment, for example breathing apparatus. The harmonised EU AcciMap offers a high level sociotechnical systems map of CBRN response. Critical segments have been identified which offer opportunities for technology developments that can add value in terms of response capabilities (e.g. tag and trace). Originality/ Value A large scale major CBRN incident may need cross-border and cross-professional engagement where efficient interoperability is vital. This research is the first EU consensus of a sociotechnical system map for CONOPS. It supports future research for technology development e.g. detection and decontamination equipment design and use, communication, diagnosis and response technologies.


This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation programme under the Grant Agreement No. 653409 (http://toxi-triage.eu/)



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International Journal of Emergency Services


HANCOX, G. ...et al., 2018. Systems mapping for technology development in CBRN response. International Journal of Emergency Services, 7 (2), pp.111-119.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This article was published in the International Journal of Emergency Service [© Emerald Publishing] and the definitive version is available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-08-2017-0044.