Pre-standardization activity on wildfire tactical situation symbology: The SITAC CEN/CENELEC workshop agreement



Monday, 14 August, 2023

During the onset of a crisis, a wide range of local, regional, national and sometimes international authorities generate maps using proper symbols to support coordination and communication during a potential disaster, such as a large forest fire. In this context, it is essential that all stakeholders can readily understand the information shown on these maps to respond in a prompt and adequate manner. The standardization of a set of symbols, which could facilitate the efficiency of the operations in the field and at the same time optimize the coordination between all the command chain levels during the fire crisis, is conducted in context of the European research project STRATEGY, which aims to build and implement a Pan-European pre-standardisation framework for improving the interoperability of crisis management solutions. The pre-requisite for standardization is a concrete pre-standardization activity aiming to describe and document the subject of the standardization as well as the purpose and the context of use. This is achieved through a properly organized pre-standardization procedure known as CEN/CENELEC Workshop Agreement (CWA), with the active involvement of interested organizations. In the envisaged case of wildfires, the organization is represented by the entities involved in the fire operations and the service provided is firefighting. In this direction, the relative pre-standardization initiative further described in this paper, aims to introduce a standardized set of tactical symbols that can be used by the responsible public safety agencies across EU and worldwide for the graphical presentation of mission critical operational information, based on SITAC approach. SITAC is a set of tactical symbols for wildfire managers, initially developed by the French Fire Service, used since 2000, further adopted and operationally used by the Fire Services in Italy and other EU Member States. SITAC, consists of tactical symbols, displaying graphic and textual information about an object at a single geographic position at a particular point in time. The SITAC CWA shall deliver clear, concrete, and adequate instructions and guidelines for the visual description of the field operations during forest fire incidents in a predefined, formal way. Information related to the characteristics of the affected area, the evolution of the fire, the intervention measures as well as current or planned actions, are encompassed by the proposed symbology. This will play an important role during large and very large fire events where several organizations and actors need to cooperate and exchange information in common, such as incident commanders, fire officers, forest managers, personnel of the civil protection agencies and emergency services. Furthermore, in the case of cross-border incidents the use of a standardized symbology, familiar and known to international firefighting teams and modules, will facilitate to overcome the language barrier and to optimize the response to the crisis. Finally, such standardization will push the EU security industry, dealing with the development and deployment of related Command & Control systems and solutions, to follow formal visual communication guidelines, enhancing the communication and cooperation of the organizations in charge of managing wildfires and the organizations supporting the field operations.


Ilias Gkotsis, George Eftychidis, Leonidas Perlepes, Dimitris Diagourtas, Gianfilippo Micillo, Giovanni Fresu, Philippe Meresse, Cristina Popa