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A4EU Decision Support System (DSS) for PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) organisations


A4EU (ANYWHERE for Europe) is a novel multi- Decision Support System (DSS) able to process high resolution local impact models combining them with the regional layers of exposure and vulnerability, being able to automatically identify the affected critical points, including their characteristics and location. A4EU is able to integrate data and information from various sources (usually available but not interconnected), processing it by means of AI techniques to integrate it to the hazard forecastings served by the ANYWHERE’s Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MH-EWS) with high resolution local impact models. The predicted hazard escalation and impact is automatically combined with the regional layers of exposure and vulnerability in the Command Centres (EMCs). This enables and management specialists to focus on local IMPACTS, without the necessity to look into the details of the meteorological forecasts and triggers, selecting the most vulnerable locations (i.e. Schools, Train stations, Hospitals, Seveso facilities, etc.) instead of vast regions, supporting them to magnify their capabilities.

The A4EU prototypes have been deployed, verified, tested and operationally demonstrated during more than one year in 7 Pilot Sites involving Centres, covering all the climatic range in EU, showing excellent results in a number of events. The A4EU DSS have demonstrated to be able to operate in any location in Europe, also having different geographical extension and scope (from a region to an entire country). Each prototype deployed received a specific name linked to the region/country/ under where it operates.

The system has been designed under with the collaboration of involved first responders from Pilot Sites under a co-creation environment, allowing the needs expressed and expertise from operational guiding the entire innovative process, from the design to the implementation and the operation. The most remarkable is to have supported the participant EMCs to move forward towards a “new paradigm” in emergency response, transforming it from reactive to proactive (starting before that the emergency occurs), which allows a better management of the emergency (being able to predict hazards' escalation and impact) and a significant reduction of damages.                                                   

The main features of the A4EU DSS are described below:

  • Translation of the meteorological forecasts into impact forecasts located in time and space.
  • Integration of the impact forecasting products served by the ANYWHERE Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MH-EWS) with high resolution local impact models in one single platform.
  • Capacity to combine regional layers of exposure and vulnerability information to provide a local of the potential impacts.
  • Connection to different local sources in real-time: sensors, high resolution radar observations, meteorological warnings, among others.
  • Automatic detection of regions at (based on impact forecasting products) in a near future, issuing the corresponding alerts in the Centre.
Supported Use Cases

ANYWHERE Catalonia Pilot Site: Floods in south Tarragona 19th October 2018


The ANYWHERE A4CAT prototype (A4EU version for Catalonia) implemented at the Catalonia regional Pilot Site has been co-designed with the operational practitioners from Catalan Civil Protection (Department of Interior, Generalitat de Catalunya) and the Catalan Water Agency (ACA). A4Cat prototype was deployed at at the Catalan Operative Coordination Centre (CECAT), where the platform’s impact forecasting capabilities to enhance decision support to better manage climate and weather-induced emergencies were tested for a one-year demonstration period.

As an example of use-case, the heavy rain and floods episode that affected the southern Tarragona on 19th October 2018 is presented (see picture 2). The rain discharged heavily in some locations during a very narrow time windows (>100 l/sqm in 2 only hours), as shown in the attached pictures (see picture 3). The main impacts that the event provoked are summarised below (see picture 4):

  • Cut roads.
  • Suspension of school transportation.
  • Suspension of train traffic.
  • More than 500 calls to 112 (12-hour time frame).


Improvements in the management of climate and weather-induced scenarios with A4EU-A4CAT:

  • The main improvement consists in a deep change of paradigm in the CM derived from meteorological scenarios, moving in advance to the damages: A4EU early warning system allows the management evolve from reactive from proactive (before the event occurrence).
    • Picture 1 shows the workflow and timeline of , depicting the change of paradigm in CM derived from the use of A4EU: providing an early warning with high-accuracy and thus enabling practitioners to better prepare and tackle the emergency before its occurrence.
    • Picture 5 shows nowcasting samples and early warnings issued by A4EU beforehand, pinpointing impacts expected for specific areas and times.
  • Translating event magnitudes (in this case rain) into IMPACTs (focusing on critical and vulnerable points). Civil Protections are interested in the impacts generated by the water that reaches and accumulates in the field (where, when and how?), not on the magnitude (mm) of rain poured.
  • High-resolution real-time forecasting within a short time frame (nowcasting) allows predicting the impacts with high accuracy in a very local scale.


. Chronology of events

  • 17:15 h A4CAT rain and river warning advanced detection – radar based 

  • 17:45 h Heavy rain threshold detection (Meteo CAT Service) 

  • 17:50 h Civil Protection broadcasted alert issued based on A4CAT warnings
  • 18:00 h A4CAT rain and river warning advanced detection confirmation – radar based.
  • 18:30 h increase of 112 emergency calls by population. 

  • 19:00 h maximum number of 112 emergency calls by population.
  • 20:45 h heavy rain threshold detection (Meteo CAT Service) 

Related CM functions

A4EU enables an improved workflow timeline for the emergency management
Heavy rain and floods episode that affected the southern Tarragona on 19th October 2018
Timeline detail of precipitation poured and 112 emergency calls register
Impacts on infrastructures provoked by the heavy rain and floods episode (Tarragona 2018)
A4EU successful early accurate detection (nowcasting) and corresponding alerts issued
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ANYWHERE A4EU prototype sample
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
ANYWHERE A4EU screenshot
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Video illustrations
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