The role of local elected officials in France-Belgium cooperation on the management of civil risks: an ALARM webinar

Paris, France, April 2021 – The ALARM project, which is led by the fire and emergency response service of the department of Nord in France (SDIS 59) and in which Efus is a partner, organised a webinar on the role of local elected officials in cross-border cooperation between France and Belgium regarding the management of civil risks, on 25 March.

It gathered elected officials from both countries and various civil security officials: representatives of public administrations, of emergency services, of emergency planning, as well as Efus members.
The online seminar was one of the project’s main dissemination tools. ALARM started in January 2017 as part of the Interreg V France-Wallonia-Vlaanderen territorial cooperation programme and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Three main objectives

The ALARM project has three main objectives:

  • To put in place an integrated risk management system (for natural, technological and man-made risks) on both sides of the border;
  • To design a cross-border scheme for the analysis and response to risks that enables French and Belgian fire services to respond in case of emergency on either side of the border;
  • To mobilise French and Belgian elected officials on their responsibilities regarding civil protection and awareness among the population. Efus is in charge of this strand.

The project’s main results

The half-day seminar was moderated by Yves Van de Vloet, Associate Expert with Efus, and concluded by Roger Vicot, President of the French Forum for Urban Security (FFSU), Mayor of Lomme and Vice President of the Lille European Metropolis.

Seven speakers from various disciplines* presented the project’s deliverables, two of which were produced with the aim of raising awareness among mayors in both countries: the regulatory manual on civil protection in France and Belgium and the Handbook of good crisis communication practices, which includes factsheets on a number of issues classified by topics, such as coordination and training. 

For its part, SDIS 59 presented the ‘GeoAlarm geographic information platform’, which includes information on potential risks (floods, Seveso sites, etc.) and the available emergency response stations resources in the cross-border region. The information is visualised through a map of the zone, which contributes to facilitating the exchange of information among civil protection services (local authorities, fire and emergency services on both sides of the border, and other institutions) on both sides of the border.  

Disseminating a ‘prevention culture’

The project is on-going and now focuses on disseminating a ‘culture of risk prevention and management’ among as many local communes as possible and on raising  awareness among local elected officials on the importance of fostering a common culture on the management of civil risks. To this end, the project will organise an (online) event before the summer on good practices for implementing a local emergency plan.

ALARM will conclude in September with a final conference that will present the outcomes of five years of work.

* Frank Coquel, fire and emergency response service of the department of Nord in France (SDIS 59)
Sébastien Descamps, Lieutenant-Colonel at the fire and emergency response service of the department of Nord (SDIS 59)
Aurélie Gustave, Associate Director, KOTARIS
Nour Kanaan, researcher and professor in crisis management, University of Paris-Dauphine
Marie Nicodème, directorate of security, Préfecture du Nord
Laëtitia Quenon, Head of the civil security bureau, Governor of Hainaut province
General François Vernoux, President of the Club Gestion de Crise, Club Inter-mines professionnel

> More information on the ALARM project

Leave a Reply