(KE Fellowship) Building resilience: Support and Advice for Volcanic Emergency Response (SAVER)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Earth Sciences


About a tenth of the world's population live within the potential footprint of volcanic hazards, and lives are regularly lost through volcanic activity, with about 90,000 deaths since 1900. Growing populations around the world's volcanoes means that even relatively small eruptions may have very significant impacts in local communities, as they are inundated with volcanic flows or falls, burying and destroying homes and infrastructure and killing and injuring inhabitants.
Relief efforts and search and rescue (SAR) operations can be improved through thorough preparation and training. Emergency managers, aid agencies and emergency responders (e.g. military, emergency services, SAR organisations) must rapidly understand and assess the situation to recognise the scale of the impact and the likelihood of survivors, the risks to themselves, and effective strategies to reduce losses and promote better outcomes. However, only 40 of over 86 volcanically active countries in the world have experienced eruptions in the last 20 years, and fewer still have experience of responding to a volcanic emergency in a populated area. Few emergency responders or related decision makers therefore have any personal or professional experience of eruptions.
This fellowship will form an inter-disciplinary collaborative community, enabling the sharing and flow of relevant knowledge among stakeholders, including in academia, geological agencies, volcano observatories and emergency response, to co-develop a series of accessible resources. The synthesis of this knowledge will help inform effective emergency planning and operations, enabling responders to recognise hazards and warning signs, and take appropriate action to reduce the risk to themselves and those they're seeking to help, with the ultimate aim of reducing deaths and injuries amongst responders, improving survival rates for casualties and facilitating effective recovery operations.
A network of stakeholders, including first responders, academics, aid agencies, and observatory scientists has been built to inform the development of this proposal and fellowship, allowing broad identification of the needs in volcanic emergency response. This will be further developed through engagement with users in volcanically active areas. The knowledge required to address these needs is available in experience and expertise and in scientific and grey literature held within the UK and overseas. Resources will be co-designed with project collaborators and users. These resources will include guidelines in volcanic response, which are standard for many hazards but not currently available for volcanoes; technical briefings allowing more in-depth knowledge of the various factors; and training materials. Periods of evaluation and modification of resources will be undertaken with end users, including in-country workshops and training exercises. Case study locations including Guatemala and the Caribbean will enable focussed discussion and the meeting of specific local needs and sensitivities, and New Zealand will be a focus for best practice.
Co-development through a series of workshops, questionnaires and interviews with users will enable barriers to be identified and overcome, promote buy-in and a sense of ownership, and encourage uptake. A global volcanic emergency response network will be developed, as a community of practice, to encourage the sharing of resources, stories, experience and expertise amongst the global community. The resources will be hosted online by Global Volcano Model (GVM) and the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN) ensuring their longevity.


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