INTRODUCTION TO TIEMS
- TIEMS was founded in Washington, USA in 1993, and is today registered as an international, independent, not for profit NGO in Belgium, see Certificate
- TIEMS is a global forum for education, training and certification in emergency and disaster management.
- TIEMS international expert network comprises users, planners, researchers, industry, managers, response personnel, practitioners, social scientists, and other interested parties within emergency and disaster management.
- Within its network TIEMS stimulates to the exchange of information on the use of innovative methods and technologies within emergency and disaster management to improve society’s ability to avoid, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural and technological disasters.
- TIEMS works locally through its worldwide chapters which provide a regional focus for TIEMS activities.
- TIEMS activities comprise international conferences, workshops and exhibitions, research and technology development projects, task force groups of experts from TIEMS international group of experts, and TIEMS academy providing international education, training and certification programs.
- TIEMS offers membership, sponsorship and partnership.
Ben Lane, CIPRE event manager, met Harald Drager, TIEMS President
The following is a transcription of their conversation.
Hello Harald. Can you give us a little bit of information about yourself, why you are here?
My name is Harald Drager. I was born and raised in Norway. I received an engineering education and worked with Det Norske Veritas for 15 years. I started my own company, and we specialized in emergency management issues on communication and evacuation. Based on that, I met a group in the US who dealt with emergency management, and we agreed to start TIEMS International Emergency Management Society. This was in 1993. I took over as president in 2002 and since then it has developed into an international organization.
Let’s look at TIEMS itself and the first point I was going to ask you is the ultimate goals and the ultimate aims of the society.
We have made up what I call a vision statement; and we say that TIEMS inspires to be the leading organization for international emergency management professional development. And we have a very big mission, namely that TIEMS is a global forum for emergency management and disaster risk reduction that builds capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and climate change impacts. And we work to achieve this mission through exchange of information, innovation and good practices in education, training and certification and research development activities. TIEMS is about education, experience and communication.
You talk about creating a “safer world”. And that struck me as interesting because it’s a big statement. Can you qualify that statement.
TIEMS prepares the world for emergencies. We are a global forum for education, training, certification, and policy for emergency and disaster management. We do not respond to emergencies: we ensure that others are ready to respond. This is important internationally because some parts of the world have limited support for preparation.
As the international community discovers and develops new technologies, methodologies, and best practices, we offer conferences, ongoing forums, and training courses that rapidly and continuously spread the knowledge to every corner of the community. As policy makers grow to understand the need for preparation and the support TIEMS provides, we expect to influence policy choices that strengthen cooperation among regional communities before a disaster strikes.
I see too little education, too little thinking ahead, and too little political will to fix problems before they happen. Also, the media likes to dramatize results, but often they over dramatize events, and this leads people to think that warnings are all hype.
Communication often fails in emergencies, and we may seem to “never learn” by repeating errors over again. Improving global communication focusing on and agreeing on a common global language, knowledge and understanding of international emergency management and disaster response through education training and certification is in my opinion an important measure.
Can you explain a little bit about the TIEMS connections with other bodies worldwide?
Well, we have been doing this for 30 years, so we are getting more and more, let’s say, proficient. We are focused on our international conference and workshops, which we do every year. We move around the world because the local context is very important. For example, this year we are in South Africa and the South African chapter of TIEMS are responsible for the conference.
We also run webinars where we ask civil protection departments from around the world to attend and speak. We explore how they do their emergency management and civil protection. We do research and development activities. We have also established an international certification and we explore new emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, to understand how these technologies can be used in emergency management.
How is TIEMS funded?
We are a not-for-profit NGO. We are a voluntary organization so everybody working for the organization is not paid, they do it on a voluntary basis. We generate income from membership fees and paid-for research.
Tell us a bit more about the importance of the chapters and the regional focus and why that was set up and how that is beneficial.
We started out in Washington DC and, we moved the annual conference between Europe and North America. But when I took over as president, my goal was to make this an international organization to address the different cultural aspects when we do emergency management. If you go to Africa, they might be primitive in some of their approaches, but some of their approaches could be useful in other parts of the world.
Can you provide a recent case study that shows the impact and the outcomes that you are particularly happy about?
TIEMS was invited by the World Bank to participate in a global study of Civil Protection Worldwide.
The aim of the study was:
Investigate the State of Civil Protection in the World: Typologies, Good Practices and Economic Returns” to deepen the overall knowledge on civil protection, understand good practices, challenges and lessons-learnt, and to build consensus within the DRM community on this important area for disaster risk management and resilience.
TIEMS contributed with a report on the following countries, China, Australia and Ukraine. I think the final report was very enlightening and showed how civil protection practice was worldwide and what economic resources was available for civil protection in different countries, and how it in many cases was a limitation factor for efficient emergency management in many countries. Unfortunately, the report was never published by the World Bank for unknown reasons.
Thank you. That’s great. You are going to be attending CIPRE 2023 in Prague in October.
Yes. I look forward for that.
We are looking forward to seeing you there. You’re coming with a colleague from the Czech Republic, I gather?
Yeah, he lives there so it’s good for him to be there as well.
You are in the crisis management session, I believe, and we’ll hear more about the work of TIEMS, which will be interesting. Thank you, Harold, and see you soon.