Introduction to the Conference Issues

Ensuring public safety and security is a key responsibility underlying the existence and operation of many public, governmental and non-governmental, entities. Hence, it appears to be an extremely complex and multifaceted process, which is characterized by a high level of uncertainty, especially in the context of a significant increase in the dynamics of changes in recent years, taking place in a constant manner, in all areas of human life.

 

Both theoreticians and practitioners are convinced that exercising is one of the forms to ensure public safety and security. This is because exercises are the most effective way to prepare disaster/crisis managers and first responders to face the threats originating from the natural environment and civilization development.

 

The process of organizing exercises includes many stages. Nevertheless, due to the significant potential and consequences the exercises bring, evaluation plays a crucial role in the overall process.

 

Evaluation is understood as defining, in a methodological and objective way, the value of an activity, which will allow to identify the tested system strengths and weaknesses (lesson-identified). In a result it should be followed by recommendations and implementations of concrete measures to be taken in order to promote the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses (lesson-learned). If this is the case, then a number of questions arise which demand an answer in order to ensure efficient and effective continuum of safety and security systems continuity. Then shaping an acceptable level of public safety and security appears to be realistically achievable. Thus, it is important to explore what exercise evaluation methods exist(?), what techniques, tools and indicators are used to conduct it(?), what are the criteria for their selection depending on the type of exercise(?), what is the level of their objectivity(?) and usefulness for the process of improving disaster/crisis management and civil protection processes(?). Answers to these questions will allow better preparation of potential organizers for exercise realization, including its evaluation. In consequence, the conference findings will translate into building society resilience in a more rationally justified manner.

 

Evaluation of safety and security exercises is an important element of improving the quality of emergency response to everyday incidents, but also to disasters and crisis. Proper evaluation guarantees usefulness and acceptance of its results by all involved stakeholders. Both can be achieved only if the postulate of thoroughness of evaluation is kept. Therefore using an adequate evaluation method to the set goal of the exercise is a must. It is also important to pay attention to the context of the exercise, which brings certain disturbances, limitations and biases that might affect the evaluation outcome. This should be taken into account at all stages of designing, preparation, organization and execution of the evaluation process, including final conclusions formulation. Hence exercises should be a cyclical mechanism for ensuring the quality of system functioning, by automating the continuous and conscious testing and development of the tested system. The evaluation results of an exercise, but also findings coming out of real adverse events, should reveal the needs, gaps and potential duplications in the system, which naturally become an inspiration for organisation of subsequent exercises. Thus, the purpose of upcoming exercises should be formulated based on the findings from the previous one.



 

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