First RESPonse - First Rapid Emergency System against Pandemic

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Objectives of the service

Emergency call centres (Public-Safety Answering Points) were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of changes in the volumes of calls and incident operation procedures. Generally, there was an increase in emergency medical calls and a decrease in non-medical emergency calls (fire and rescue, police). Almost every country faced tremendous increases in call traffic (up to triple) during second part of March. This increase usually coincides with the state of emergency announcement (lockdown restrictions) or first confirmed cases.

[source: EENA, Report: Impact of COVID-19 on PSAP activities, available online: https://eena.org/knowledge-hub/documents/report-impact-of-covid-19-on-ps....

The aim of the First RESPonse service is to help citizens and health professionals (ambulance dispatcher, first responders, hospitals) living in Italy to deal with the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak with by enhancing to the entire process of medical emergency request, from the call, to the hospitalization of the patient. The key approaches are applicable also outside Italy and during common (non-pandemic) incidents and calls.

The FIRST RESPonse service ambitions to:

  • Accelerate the entire pre-medical resource chain by up to 20 % thanks to fluid workflow connecting all operators engaged in the rescue operations
  • Increase the first responders’ safety during their operations
  • Improve situational awareness for patients

Beta 80 is the Italian leading vendor in Emergency Control Room applications, providing the official 112 app in Italy and GINA software is an internationally recognized top player for the development of mobile solutions for emergency situation. The Consortium plans to complete the integration of the platforms to provide and end-to-end (from the emergency call, to the hospital delivery) chain of information completely digitized and safe for the citizen. This combined platform will be promoted on the Italian territory and Czech republic territory, where the two companies have the majority of their customers. 

Users and their needs

Four groups of users are involved in the project, and have different service needs.

Patients (or callers) need to:

  • Reach an operator quickly after calling an ambulance so that they do not have to wait long for help.
  • Be able to call an ambulance using a variety of devices - including smartphones, smart watches - so that the help is easily accessible.
  • Provide dispatchers with relevant information efficiently, promptly and precisely, so that help can reach the patient quickly.

Ambulance dispatchers need to:

  • Communicate digitally with the ambulance crew regarding the scene specification, ambulance status, and condition of patients, so that the crew can make decisions based on real-time information.

First responders need to:

  • Triage patients in the field by consulting with a dispatcher or a doctor, so that the triage is underlined by high expertise.
  • Identify the patient quickly and accurately, so that decisions can be made based on correct information.
  • Easily orient and navigate to the patient, so that they can provide help faster.
  • Call for help when they are in danger (violence or infection), so that a dispatcher can send the help to the scene.
  • Communicate with dispatchers in all circumstances, so that they do not rely on GSM or radio signal coverage.
  • Provide a quick incident report when they arrived at the scene, so that the situation can be instantly assessed by ambulance dispatcher.
  • Know where the other units heading to the same incident are, so that they see that help is on the way or provide additional support to units already at the scene.
  • Start going to the scene within the legislated time.

Hospital crew need to:

  • Know the handover place, number of arriving patients, their identification, and medical states, so that they can arrange the receipt.

During the demonstration stage, Italian and Czech Republic market is targeted. We are open to discussion with other countries to join the First RESPonse project. Contact us on info@ginasystem.com or via phone on +420 720 730 830.

Service/ system concept

In order to meet the user needs described above, First RESPonse has the following architecture:

The system consists of two parts. The first part, maintained by BETA80, takes care of the incoming calls and request for help from smartphone applications. It also ensures the interface with ambulance dispatchers who sorts the inbounds. The second part, maintained by GINA, takes care of the fast and accurate execution of the events in the field. GINA also provide communication interface for hospitals.

Space Added Value

Satellite Navigation (SatNav) is a crucial component for first responders to scene navigation during an event. Localisation is also needed for positioning of the caller and first responders’ ambulances. The same way, it is used for generating the history movement track logs.

Satellite Communication (SatCom) is a communication system that can be used as data transfer channels for remote (no GSM/DATA) areas and/or back-up network in case of cellular network failure.

Current Status

User requirements validation meetings with both major end-users, ambulance Verona (7-September) and ambulance Brno (10-September) have been successfully organised and allowed to revise user needs and expectations for the service. During the summer, the system development started on COVID first responders field software with dispatch display, map integration, navigation, statues, and capability to work offline. The project team also started system integration development between BETA80 and GINA (requirement analysis, design, preparation works). More recently, the system development continued with COVID first responders field software with log and UX improvements, possibility to specify own address and be navigated there, application translated to ITA language.

Following the verification and performance testing, the system integration has been performed and allowed for the kick of both trials with Ambulance Verona (IT) and Ambulance Brno (CZ). Pilot in Brno was started on 09 November 2020, pilot in Verona was started on 11 November 2020. The Acceptance Milestone was held with ESA on 14 November and the next one is the Intermediary Pilot Review in Q1 2021.

Screenshot of First RESPonse software Integration to Emergency Control Room in Italy:

Screen capture of the COVID first responders field software running on tablets

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 07 January 2021 - Created: 08 October 2020