The EU-funded H2020 PROACTIVE project, led by the UIC Security Division, held its first workshop with members of the public last week. This workshop had been planned for June in Malmö, Sweden at the kind invitation of the European CBRNE Center at Umeå University, but in light of the global COVID-19 context, it was postponed and subsequently adapted to be an online meeting.
Participants included PROACTIVE consortium members, members of the project Civil Society Advisory Board (CSAB), and relevant eNOTICE partners based on the cooperation agreement with PROACTIVE. About 40 participants from 14 different countries attended the online event, representing Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The attendees covered the main categories of the PROACTIVE CSAB and included representatives of key vulnerable groups: deaf, blind, mental and physical disabilities, senior citizens, and research groups.
To facilitate the participation of all attendees, the content of the workshop was made as accessible and inclusive as possible through the use of live captioning (i.e. written subtitles) and one sign language interpreter. In addition, the speakers were especially careful to describe any images displayed on the PowerPoint slides.
Members of the public who were unfamiliar with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNe) threats had the chance to learn about these, thanks to a short public information video developed by PROACTIVE.
The attendees then reviewed and gave feedback on a draft field exercise scenario – a chemical attack at a railway station – and analysed how PROACTIVE outputs could meet the diverse needs of all groups within society, in an inclusive way.
The workshop discussed public perceptions of, and responses to, CBRNe threats, as well as the current policy for mitigating and managing such incidents from the perspective of civil society, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. A key discussion point concerned the results from the PROACTIVE literature reviews and the 37 recommendations for practitioners when dealing with the public during a CBRNe incident, highlighting that first responders need to use multiple communication methods (e.g. written, sign language, pictures, pictograms, etc.) to reach all members of society.
Towards the end of the workshop, PROACTIVE partners explained the further involvement of CSAB members in three upcoming PROACTIVE activities: a questionnaire for Civil Society Organisations on CBRNe preparedness and response; the PROACTIVE mobile app for citizens; and finally, the involvement of citizens in the three field exercises that PROACTIVE will be organising jointly with the eNOTICE project.
The PROACTIVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 832981.