The S‐HELP project held the first of its evaluation exercises - a biological pandemic scenario - in the headquarters of partners Magen David Adom, Tel Aviv, Israel on 25th September 2016. Participants in the scenario were emergency managers and first responders; target end-users of the S-HELP system whose expertise in the field will provide the development team and researchers with valuable feedback.
The aim of the event was to evaluate the tools that have been developed by S-HELP, with regard to functionality, integration, ease-of-use and relevance to the application domain. The findings and practitioner feedback from the exercise will be used to enhance the tools further.
The decision support system being developed by S-HELP consists of a suite of online tools, which work together and independently to enhance efficient decision making. There are three simulated disaster scenarios outlined to evaluate the system – a biological hazard, a flood and a chemical explosion.
On the day of the exercise, participants were involved in a guided demonstration of the S-HELP decision support system. Each tool was demonstrated using a Biological Scenario and specific injects were presented in order to showcase each S-HELP module. On conclusion of the exercise, participants filled out a survey form in which questions about the overall system were asked before a focus group gathered to deliberate and discuss the S-HELP tools.
The second part of the day consisted of another disaster scenario. Participants were provided with a series of exercises which used the S-HELP tools to respond to a simulated plane crash. To complete each exercise, a system user guide, emergency injects and action list were given for each user. Each inject focused on a specific S-HELP tool and at the end of each exercise, participants were asked to complete an online survey.
The results of the exercise are important as the user feedback about the effectiveness of the tools will be used to improve the S-HELP software. This will go a long way towards defining an interoperability standard which will enable communication and coordination across geographical areas and cultural settings and aid in the development of improved decision support tools.