bluelightcamp1.gifAbout a year ago I sat in an excellent session about social media and major incidents. It was part of the BAPCO 2012 programme. BAPCO 2013 is just around the corner you know, kicked off by BlueLightCamp and the associated hackathon.

I digress.

CC Peter Fahy
Photo courtesy of University of Salford

Anyway I was very struck by Sir Peter Fahey, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and a person who knows a little about social media and major incidents. He was already looking beyond the presenting and, I guess, tactical issues, of the tech to the bigger, strategic issues.

“This is a fundamental change in the way people communicate. Maybe we are moving away from call centres/control rooms” I paraphrased him at the time.

This came back to me the other day when I was reading the public report from the DFUSE project (I’ve already blogged about this). One of their projects looked at applying a game theory approach to distributing ambulances (or fire appliances) in a modeled emergency. Essentially different assets negotiate with each other to decide on resource allocation. The study starts on page 30

With the ability for individuals to communicate directly in a one-to-many formation then the opportunity to look at new ways of tasking and responding to incidents opens up.

Many agencies are already (and rightly) concerned with how to handle the large volumes of data that are now available in a major incident. Our traditional processes of collecting and processing data in a small control room and then tasking resources are not suitable for this world.

Maybe we should look to self-organising responses, mediated by technology and changing as a shared and public information picture develops.

Anyway I’ll be at BlueLightCamp on Saturday if anyone fancies talking about this sort of stuff.

Ben Proctor

Who needs command and control?
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