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COST Action ES 1006 summary

The aim of the Action was to enhance the security of European citizens by promoting further development and improved use of hazmat dispersion modeling in local-scale emergency response.  The technological and socioeconomic challenge addressed by the Action was to lower threats resulting from accidental or deliberate hazmat releases at local scale by efficient use of dispersion modeling in emergency response.  The Action successfully established the first transnational European network of hazmat dispersion model developers, emergency response experts and stakeholders dedicated to local-scale threat scenarios.  Expertise available from 19 COST countries was successfully bundled in order to deliver (a) the first comprehensive dedicated model inventory; (b) benchmark datasets for model evaluation in emergency response application; (c) a strategy and means to visualize and verbalize strengths and weaknesses of hazmat dispersion modeling tools not sufficiently perceived by stakeholders and users yet and (d) practical guidance in the reliable use of available hazmat dispersion modeling methodologies. Ideas of revised concepts for local-scale hazmat dispersion modeling were drafted for initiating further model improvement concerted at European scale.

The Action successfully demonstrated, that the majority of local-scale hazmat dispersion models currently in use in urban environments is scientifically outdated and must be replaced by already existing, more reliable modeling concepts.  The Action has documented the potential for improvement of local-scale hazmat dispersion modeling, resulting from new simulation technologies such as microscale meteorological and atmospheric dispersion modeling and computational fluid dynamics.  The scientific objectives of the Action were achieved by linking national research activities focusing on test and improvement of existing modeling tools, on model evaluation and last but not least focusing on provision of application-specific data truly qualified for a quantitative model validation.  A large amount of voluntary work has been invested by active Action members in compiling the first dedicated quality assured test data sets for model validation and to test numerous models under realistic blind-test conditions.

A specific strength of the Action was to connect science with end users by delivering Action results straight to stakeholders in a series of Open Workshops in participating countries.  Without this activity, it would have been logistically impossible to directly involve practitioners from different COST member states.  The Action members are replicators and multipliers for communicating Action results to end users and stakeholders at national level. Since first responders cannot join conventional Training Schools easily, the Action compiled an eTraining School to be brought to end users at national level by Action members.  A big success of the Action was to establish an open-minded and active working atmosphere considering the fact, that part of the members either had to deal with secrecy restrictions of security-related work or could have been biased by commercial interests when selling competitive software tools. Another success is that not only scientists but also stakeholders took an active role in the Action by acting as WG leaders and hosting STSMs, facilitating the best possible interaction between science and application.  The network remains active beyond Action lifetime, currently preparing research proposals.

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