The “Working Community Galicia-Norte de Portugal” covers the euro-region of Galicia and the North of Portugal. It has been the generator of many cross-border initiatives and projects since 1991 and has taken the form of an EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation) since 2008. One of the fields covered is the emergency services. The three main partners (the regions of Galicia and Castilla y León, ES, and Norte de Portugal, PT) jointly developed the ARIEM-112 Project to deal with several difficulties identified, including:
Legal and administrative barriers for the permeability of borders during emergency interventions.
Absence of institutionalised channels of communication and exchange of information between the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).
Need for training and adaptation to the new context of cross-border collaboration.
The main objective of the ARIEM-112 Project was the establishment of a mechanism for collaboration between emergency services for a coordinated mobilisation of resources from the border areas of Galicia, Castilla y León and the North of Portugal.
Development of Mutual Aid Agreements and Joint Action Protocols to provide a legal framework which can facilitate the mobilisation and involvement of the resources of a country on both sides of the border with the appropriate legal protection and coordination of joint actions.
Design of an application to systematise the coordination of resource mobilisation in the ARIEM area, providing the PSAPs a stable network of information exchange and communication in real time.
Development of joint training activities to enable staff specialisation in the new reality of mobilising shared resources and cross-border risk management. This training should enable the pooling of efforts, experience and knowledge, while establishing a networking to support formal and informal communication and strengthen cohesion and collaboration.
The ARIEM-112 Project has managed to raise the pillars of a common space for emergency management and the establishment of a mechanism for collaboration between the management and mobilization of emergency resources in the border area, and has contributed to the promotion of a culture of solidarity and cross-border cooperation.
The main results consist of the establishment of a collaboration mechanism between different Services in charge of Emergency and Civil Protection over the three border regions through the mobilization of the available equipment on site, joint action procedures and communication (a specific computer application and head phone numbers) and just-in-time information about the need for help between the three managing entities. With this project the cross-border population can have assistance in much shorter delay.
The challenge now is to consolidate the project in the coming years, continuing the legal and educational framework developed at this point.
Proposed steps for the consolidation of ARIEM 112:
Going on with the promotion and deepening a training programme in order to increase the exchange of experience and knowledge, and also to get into contact with media and specific intervention materials. These training activities will enable the pooling of efforts, experience and knowledge, and also support formal and informal communication, strengthening unity and cooperation between the various PSAPs and emergency services.
Setting among the three partners a common communication channel for cross-border emergency management by taking advantage of TETRA technology. The terrain of the region implies some difficulties that can be overcome by this system and the provision of special vehicles from the partners. This communication system will facilitate coordination and adjustment costs.
Seeking to standardise materials and equipment to facilitate the joint work of the various emergency services on both sides of the border. For instance, buying adapters which could easily sort out the incompatibility problem of using different types of hoses, mounting systems and clamps.
Aspects of good practice
The project built on long-standing and ongoing cooperation between the relevant authorities / stakeholders in the three regions concerned.
Its development, financing and implementation was conducted in a fully integrated manner.
Tangible benefits to peoples’ lives on both sides of the border.
It will be of lasting value to the border zones involved and its benefits will continue to be felt long after its completion.
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