Aston University reports on Iceland’s evacuation preparedness


2nd June, 2010

A team from Aston University’s Centre for Research into Safety and Security (CRISIS) has just returned from Iceland where they delivered their findings on evacuating the public during major disasters.

The visit was part of the EU-funded ‘Evacuation Responsiveness by Government Organisations’ (ERGO)’ project. The team also visited Eyjafjallajokull volcano to find out how they evacuated nearby residents during its recent eruption.

Their recommendations focused on more efficient and effective methods to analyse and prepare for mass evacuation. These include:

(1)    Preparing the public through marketing evacuation preparedness

(2)    Disseminating a warning message – using a simulation model to evaluate policy options

(3)    Traffic management during evacuations – to model bottlenecks in the road networks and plan for congestion management strategies

(4)    Streamlining evacuee registration process and shelter management plans – to collect the registration details of evacuees in a centralised database that could help families to locate relatives that are registered at another evacuation shelter

(5)    Contingency planning for evacuation shelters – to identify additional shelter locations as a contingency plan in case the existing shelters are not available

(6)    Supporting decision-makers to assess the information and make the evacuation decision

Professor Duncan Shaw, who led the visit, said:

“We are immensely proud of the impact that the ERGO project is having on the ten countries that are involved in the project. This latest visit to Iceland comes at a time when emergency officials have just evacuated those in the vicinity of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.”

He added: “While much of Europe was brought to a standstill, about 1,000 residents of Iceland were sheltering in Red Cross evacuation centres and they now continue with a major clean-up operation in the aftermath of the ash fall-out.”

Now in its ninth year, CRISIS, which is based at Aston Business School, provides evidence-based advice to safety and security-related organisations both at home and abroad.

Notes to Editors:

The Aston CRISIS Centre emerged from a need in government and private organisations for high quality support in preparing their operations and their people for new global challenges. To find out more about The Aston CRISIS Centre visit www.astoncrisis.com.

For all media enquiries please contact Dhiren Katwa, Press Officer at Aston Business School, on 0121 204 4553 or email d.katwa1@aston.ac.uk.

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