Features

Key Features

We are developing a bespoke system that will enable humanitarian agencies and donors to prepare for and respond to disasters in a more effective and coordinated manner.

This page details some of the key features of ALERT.

Risk Analysis

Use INFORM data to determine your priority hazards

We are currently working with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Italy to incorporate INFORM and G-DACS data into ALERT. Importing INFORM data and G-DACS data directly into ALERT will make life easier and more efficient for country users.

INFORM data will be directly imported into ALERT so you will no longer be required to do the hazard prioritization exercise but simply select your priority hazards in ALERT. Of course, you can ignore INFORM if you desire but the INFORM process is recommended and will be the default in ALERT. INFORM country profiles contain in-depth information on each country. Exactly how this data will be displayed will be worked out during the design and consultation process.

ALERT by default will display the top five hazards for your country as predicted by INFORM. For example, in Bangladesh, INFORM (2016) ranks the following hazards:

ALERT will display the data in a similar way except you can select which hazards you wish to prioritize. You can use INFORM, type your own, or a combination of both options. However, using INFORM data gives country users a reliable hazard prioritization based on a robust and reliable scientific process. Country teams will no longer be required to spend hours deliberating over what hazards to prioritize and the Risk = Likelihood x Impact calculation can be avoided. INFORM does it all. Country teams simply review the hazards priorities for the year, select the number of hazards they will be monitoring, and move on to indicators.

PLEASE NOTE: In ALERT the more hazards you select the more indicators you need to monitor. Be guided by your country’s context and situation. The ALERT system leaves the country team in total control.

However, if you would like to do the Risk Analysis on your own or as an exercise in the Country Office then you can manually enter the data and ignore INFORM.

The current prototype demonstrates how the manual Risk – Likelihood x Impact calculation would look like. However, it is unlikely that this will be carried over to the beta version of ALERT since this process has been superseded by the more reliable and accurate INFORM data.

RISK = LIKELIHOOD x IMPACT

  1. Select hazard from the drop-down list
  2. The system uses a “slider fed” input for both impact and likelihood. The input is on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 = negligible and 5 = critical.
  3. Likelihood of event happening. Based on historical data make an estimate on the slider of the likelihood that this event will happen this year and move the slider accordingly.
  4. Similarly using historical data the probable impact can be determined.
  5. The user drags the slider to a position along the scale that they consider to represent the impact or likelihood.
  6. The system, based on the slider position calculates the hazard profile and allocates each hazard a score.

Early Warning - Hazard Indicator Monitoring

Keeping track of changes in your country

Monitoring provides early warning of emerging risks, which in turn allows for early action, such as escalating preparedness activity, reviewing response/contingency plans. Furthermore, early warning derived from indicator monitoring enables the country team where possible to take action that could mitigate the impact of the emerging risk.

Monitoring key indicators means country teams are aware of changes in their context.

For each prioritized hazard (except Static hazards) ALERT will require at least one indicator that will be monitored on a regular basis.

More than one indicator is desirable to provide adequate early warning.

The country team is free to determine what and how many indicators they will monitor.

For each indicator the user must input the following information:

  • What indicator(s) will be monitored – choose from the drop-down list.
    Note on the dropdown indicator list: For each hazard, ALERT will provide a sample of possible indicators but since each country and context is different it is impractical and restrictive for ALERT to provide a definitive list. Instead, the system provides some “suggestions/recommendations” of possible indicators to use for the selected hazard.
  • Determine the trigger values for the selected indicator. The user must insert the trigger value for green, amber and red.
    Note on trigger values: There is a dropdown list that provides some suggestions on what typical trigger values could be for that indicator. However, these need to be specific to the particular indicator for the country and the country users are better placed to determine the trigger value.
    Note: A trigger point for an indicator is when the specified indicator reaches a point where action needs to be taken by the country office i.e. activate preparedness or response actions, refine response/contingency plan, contact partners, alert HQ, etc.
  • At what frequency will the indicator be monitored? Indicators need to be monitored on a regular basis. If the status of the indicator changes for example moves from green to amber then the indicator should be monitored more frequently so that there is sufficient warning to react to rapid changes of the indicator
    Note: When selecting the monitoring frequency a pragmatic approach is needed. Many hazards are seasonal and therefore monitoring can be seasonal and linked to the seasonal calendar.

Minimum & Advanced Preparedness Actions

Preparing for disasters through preparedness actions

Minimum preparedness is a set of predetermined activities that the country team must implement in order to establish and maintain a minimum level of emergency preparedness. The preparedness activities usually do not require significant additional resources and are often part of everyday operations. Implementing preparedness activity will make a fundamental difference to response time, efficiency and capacity. Maintaining preparedness provides the country team with the flexibility to respond to different types of emergencies at very short notice.

Minimum preparedness is a set of predetermined activities that the country team must implement in order to establish and maintain a minimum level of emergency preparedness. The preparedness activities usually do not require significant additional resources and are often part of everyday operations. Implementing preparedness activity will make a fundamental difference to response time, efficiency and capacity. Maintaining preparedness provides the country team with the flexibility to respond to different types of emergencies at very short notice.

Developing preparedness actions “to-do lists” is the easy part of preparedness. It is important to implement the preparedness activities and ensure that the level of preparedness is maintained. Preparedness actions need to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are still valid and up to date. It is important that accountabilities, deadlines and actions taken are recorded so that the country team can clearly monitor the level of minimum preparedness that has been achieved.

ALERT automates the preparedness process in a number of important ways:

  • Mandatory preparedness activities (to-do lists) are preloaded and need only to be assigned and executed
  • A person can be assigned a task, and an agreed completion date is set.
  • Once the task is complete the person can tick “task complete” and upload the document “evidence” of the completed task.<br>
    Note: Uploading preparedness documents archives all preparedness documentation in a single location for the country office. The document can be accessed and downloaded by registered users within the agency.
  • Once a preparedness task is marked “complete” and evidence has been uploaded into ALERT the system assigns a green status.
  • ALERT uses the traffic light system Green – Complete, Amber – in-process and Red – unassigned (incomplete)
  • After a predetermined time (set by the agency administrator) the “green” preparedness action will “expire” and turn back to amber/red
  • When a preparedness action has expired the responsible person needs to review the action, update the activity and finally check the “task completed” box and confirm that uploaded documentation is still valid

Online response planning

Creating a preparedness plan

This section of the service allows for teams to put together a response plan. They are basic forms that cover who they will be helping in the event of a disaster and how they plan to do it.

Various bodies that you would apply to for funding all have slight intricacies or differences in their plan templates. The idea for this piece of the system is to allow for different plan templates to be completed using one central form – allowing country teams to submit multiple plans to different bodies all at once.