The standard operating procedures (SOP) of modules and teams play an important role in effective response to disasters. Over the last years, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism has developed in numerous ways. Progress has been made in developing SOPs with the aim of further improving interoperability and coordination of modules and teams. Despite this development, EU Module Exercises and operations have shown a deficiency in the consistency of SOPs. Moreover, the quality of the SOPs within the mechanism varies significantly. This leads to low utilization of SOPs and may lead to ineffectiveness of response missions. All this hinders smooth cooperation between modules and teams.
In international disasters involving a wide array of international teams and experts, the SOPs should be comparable, coordinated and of adequate quality. The goal of the project is to give recommendations to and improve SOPs of modules and teams registered in the UCPM Communication and Information System (CECIS). The project aims at harmonizing the existing SOPs by improving the already existing SOP guidance document, promoting it, and creating a common SOP template that enables the introduction of consistent, relevant and appropriate SOPs for all UCPM modules and teams. The development work is based on a thorough review of the existing SOPs, guidelines and practices, as well as a comprehensive needs analysis. The results of the project and information on the launch of the template will be disseminated within the UCPM in the framework of Modules Working Group, Civil Protection Committee, Civil Protection Forum, and Disaster Management Training Network.
The outcome of the project, a common template that facilitates the writing of SOPs, will lead to coordinated and higher quality SOPs. Consistent SOPs improve cooperation in exercises and missions. The project thus contributes to the improved functioning of the Mechanism and the Union’s ability to efficiently respond to future disasters.
The Assessment Workshop was held on 11 – 13 June 2018 in Oberwinter, Germany and was attended by 22 civil protection experts from around Europe. The aim of the Workshop was to review the current state of the SOPs and the existing guidelines. The result of the Workshop, SOP guidelines for the project, will be finalized in the second Workshop in Portugal in November, and tested in a pilot training in Finland in April 2019. The workshop provided a good foundation for the subsequent project activities. The workshop as well as the general discussion about the role and relevance of SOPs was welcomed by all participants, which was also highlighted in their feedback. The participants expressed their willingness to remain integrated in the project and to review the products.