2. Supporting coordination and synchronisation of distributed operations

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At the time of a crisis, first responders of different organisations (e.g., fire-fighters, medical teams, police officers, civil protection staff, etc.) need to collaborate to operate effectively and safely while minimising losses. The guidelines described under this theme propose various interventions aimed at enhancing resilience management processes before, during and after crises in order to better support distributed operations.

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2.1. Promoting common ground for cross-organizational collaboration in crisis management

In order to collaborate effectively at the time of a crisis, the people jointly involved in crisis management from different organizations need to have sufficient understanding of their mutual goals, expectations, capabilities, and operational procedures. This common ground can be achieved by promoting periodic information sharing activities or exercises involving the staff of different first responder organizations.

Cross-organizational activities are organised and include:

  • Cross-fertilisation dissemination workshops
  • Periodic visits of own staff to facilities of other organisations
  • Joint crisis preparation exercises in order to address potential sources of joint activity breakdowns


  • Staff gains useful insights into the mission, culture and operating methods of other organisations involved in crisis management
  • Exercises provide an opportunity to own staff to learn about the resources and procedures of other relevant organisations
  • Exercises can be helpful for the identification of potential synergies

Improved collaboration among organizations in case of crisis, based on better understanding of each other's perspectives and needs.

The joint initiatives mandated by this card presupposes the availability of:

  • Sufficient commitment by the senior managers of the involved organisations;
  • Sufficient mutual trust and existence of communication channels across organisations.

In addition, a prerequisite for the application of the actions described in the card is the existence of a network of organisations already collaborating in crisis management activities. If each organisation is mostly operating in isolation and no mutual relationships have been established beyond those mandated by the law, it is advised to first apply the principle of the CC 2.2 Establishing networks.


2.2. Establishing networks for promoting inter-organizational collaboration in the management of crises

Establishing pre-crisis relationships between the organizations that may be jointly involved in managing a crisis, paves the way for more effective collaboration and communication; building trust and create professional relationship across organisations during and post crisis responses.

A five-step protocol is recommended to establish effective inter-organizational collaboration across the relevant organizations that may have to work together in a crisis situation.

Successfully establishing collaboration network will create opportunities for:

  • establishing a common ground among different organizations,
  • building trust and creating personal relationship
  • defining agreements for a periodic coordination and continuous crosschecking of the respective roles and responsibilities in the management of a crisis.

Improved ability to respond, adapt and learn from a crisis, thanks to a more effective inter-organizational collaboration and communication, both during and after the concerned crisis.


  • Existence of internal risk management framework sensitive enough to identify scenarios in which inter-organisational crisis collaboration may be needed.
  • Continuous commitment of senior management over the practices mandated by this guideline.


2.3. Sharing information on roles and responsibilities among different organizations

Stakeholders involved in resilience management need to have clear idea of roles and responsibilities who may be involved in the management of a potential crisis. Each organization should have an adequate knowledge not only of its own roles and responsibilities, but also of those of other organizations they may be required to collaborate with during a crisis. This is vital in order to identify gaps and cooperate before, during and after a crisis.


  • Coordination between different organizations with shared responsibilities in the management of specified crises, to ensure mutual awareness regarding who should do what.
  • High-level procedure identifying points of contact, roles and responsibilities to be periodically checked with dedicated coordination activities.
  • Dissemination of the shared procedure internally to each organization with dedicated training activities.
  • When possible, design of a quick-reference version of the procedure.


  • Periodic coordination ensures shared procedure to be maintained up to date, also after changes in individual organizations.
  • Preparation of each coordination activity by relevant stakeholders increases awareness on who should do what inside each organization and trigger specific training activities.
  • Shared procedure and, when possible, the quick-reference version of it, make easier to quickly recall or retrieve relevant information on what to do during a crisis, with special reference to the interfacing with other organizations.

Improved “readiness to act” in case of crisis.


  • Network of agencies/organizations for which it is possible to identify at least at high level shared responsibilities in the management of specified crises
  • Illustrative example: use and maintenance of the “Manuale Rosso” (Red Manual) adopted by different entities with shared responsibilities in the management of emergencies at the Fiumicino Airport (Rome-Italy).