Members of the public are an under-utilized resource in emergency situations. The first people on the scene, the so-called ‘pre-first  responders,’ are knowledgeable, creative and resourceful, and are increasingly communicating with their smart mobile devices and social media to share information. The ATHENA project recognizes the potential this has for enhancing crisis management.

ATHENA aims to empower members of the public as well as facilitate an open and constructive dialogue with professional first responders and crisis managers in order to be able to identify, understand and manage unfolding crises in real time. This project explores how new communication media (in particular web-based social media such as Twitter and Facebook) and the prolific use of high-tech mobile devices can be harnessed to provide effective communication, improve situational awareness during a crisis, and enhance resilience.

 Joining the conversation and harnessing the power of smart mobile communication devices and social media

ATHENA is a communication and management system focused on developing best practices and concrete tools: mobile app, intelligent extraction, information management, and analytical tools. Information and intelligence that are appropriate and useful for law enforcement authorities, police, first responders, and the public are acquired, verified, analyzed, and shared. ATHENA seeks to make the public part of the crisis team, opening the opportunity for a dialogue with professional responders.

ATHENA is a global consortium of public authorities, academia, and private industries in over 7 different countries. The project is co-ordinated by West Yorkshire Police. This multi-agency project brings together partners from law enforcement, rescue and emergency services, government, academia, and the private sector.

The ATHENA project has received funding from the EU Seventh Framework Programme.