Redningsselskapet, The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (RSRK), is a nationwide humanitarian association whose purpose is to save lives, salvage assets and protect the coastal environment of Norwegian waters, as well as undertaking outreach and accidentprevention initiatives to improve the safety of those at sea in Norway and abroad.
RSRK works to expand cooperation with sister organizations around the world Throughout our their 125 years long history they have built up a strong expertise in search and rescue work at sea. A knowledge that can pose significant difference in the everyday lives of people outside Norway.
The rescue vessel «Peter Henry von Koss» entered the Frontex operation Poseidon in Greece in the summer of 2015.
Peter Henry von Koss joined the Frontex ‘operation Poseidon’ headed by the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) in Norway. In addition to assisting in border monitoring it conducts search and rescue operations. So far, it has assisted more than 7,000 people in need. Although NCIS heads the operations the National Society for Sea Rescue records and continuously updates information on their vessel, the vessel crew, machine time and the number of people they have assisted.
Proactive and continuous contingency planning is essential for the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue. In 2015, to simplify and coordinate the logging for standby personnel, CIM was selected as their key tool for logging and reporting. In order to obtain the information they needed during the Frontex operation they have set up a predefined reporting template. The vessel crew fill out the report and send it home via mobile broadband, every day.
”To save lives, we must be prepared... always. In CIM we have the tool that makes it easier for us, both at home and in operations abroad”.
Contingency planning is second nature for the Rescue Society. In 2015 they decided to use CIM as a logging and reporting tool, consolidating existing information for use by emergency responders. At the heart of the organisation is the The Operations and Emergency Situation Centre where the emergency control room is located and where all decisions are made. It was they who pioneered the use of CIM. An important function of the control room is to have a complete overview of all rescue vessel deployments, plan strategic movements of resources and handle planned or unplanned events.
- We need to be hands-on, and for us it is crucial that we are operational at all times, says Thomas Skarstad, Maritime leader at RSRK. - It has been important to simplify and make our procedures more effective so we can focus on our main mission, which, is to save lives.
RSRK is available all day, every day, all year round and has an emergency response system where emergency operators report and record all events in CIM. To make the information available to everyone, both in the emergency room and out on the boats, they have created a single reporting form customised for mobile digital platforms. It simplifies reporting and provides more timely information for control room operators.
- We are extremely pleased with the use of CIM for logging incidents which makes the exchange of information much easier, explains Thomas Skarstad. - We chose to be cautious when introducing CIM into the organization and began by using the logging function for control room operators and then adding on more and more features.
For RSRK it is essential that the tools they use are simple, always available and work as expected. There are many other providers who make a recording tool but only CIM allowed RSRK to organise their information and have the opportunity to design the presentation of information, as they wanted. Incident Logging and reporting form the basis of briefing meetings which are held three times a week. The new routines have significantly increased efficiency.
The RSRK depends on a continuous flow of information regarding major incidents, emergencies or situations that will require media management. They can use data from incidents to send out notifications to individuals or groups using pre-defined message templates and this has made communication much better.
“At present we only use a small subset of the functionality in CIM and we are looking forward to testing additional features to determine how effective they are”, says Skarstad
With 1500 rescue personnel, 50 vessels and 4 ambulance boats it goes without saying that efficient logistics and good practices are required to have a complete overview of the crews and ongoing operations.
RSRK has begun to organise contact information and resources within CIM. The advantage of this is that they can consolidate all this information in one system. They can record details of staff, boat crews and unpaid volunteers under various categories in CIM including their email address and contact telephone numbers. Using these contact categories enables alerts and warnings to be send out by SMS or email with just a few keystrokes.
“We maintain distribution lists for email and SMS contacts for all vessels, operational managers and crew. Here we have specific requirements and by working closely with One Voice we have been able to use their experiences and knowledge to achieve this”, explains Skarstad.
RSRK has also begun to use CIM to organise and structure its contingency and emergency plans This ensures that the plans and actions to be taken are always available to the operators, reducing the time taken to implement the control measures.
In the spring they will carry out their first emergency exercise using CIM that will test how the system works in a fictitious scenario. All personnel involved in the exercise will given refresher training in CIM.
- We will use the time to become better acquainted with CIM, what consequences or implications using CIM entails and how we can use this tools to solve our needs and challenges in the future, explains Skarstad.
As a humanitarian and voluntary organisation with limited funds, it is important for the RSRK to utilise streamlined solutions that increase efficiency, provide better visibility, enhances control, and saves precious time.
“To save lives, we must always be ready, and with CIM we have found a tool that makes it easier for us in everyday life”, said a delighted Thomas Skarstad.