Thursday 3 August 2023

Valuable insight gained for the rail sector from the EU-funded H2020 PROACTIVE project on CBRNe hazards

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The EU-funded PROACTIVE project, coordinated by the UIC Security Division, is producing valuable insights for the rail sector into the management of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) security incidents. The project recently released three deliverables (D6.4, D5.2 and D3.2) and two scientific publications which will act as valuable resources for railway stakeholders. Furthermore, on behalf of PROACTIVE, the UIC Security Division team attended two important conferences on this topic.

Deliverable D6.4 studies the second PROACTIVE field training exercise, which involved a railway-based scenario: a suspected chemical leak occurred in an urban train station, which affected nearby passengers and the train staff. The exercise participants included Trenitalia, Carabinieri, and the Italian military, alongside volunteers from the local community who played the victims, including several representatives of vulnerable groups. The lessons learned from this exercise should be of use to railway stakeholders.

Deliverable D5.2 highlights the development of the PROACTIVE Pre-Incident Information Materials for CBRNe Incidents. Based on a threat scenario at a railway station, the materials describe the protective action that members of the general public could take, if such an event were to occur. This could be used by the railways to educate both the general public and staff about this crucial topic, potentially reducing the impact of such incidents and even saving lives. As an open resource, they can be further adapted by railway stakeholders to better meet their local context. The materials can be downloaded from the UIC shop.

Lastly, Deliverable D3.2 is an “Aide Memoire” for planning field training exercises involving vulnerable groups. Its main purpose is to assist exercise planners in organising training exercises where the public, including vulnerable groups, participate as volunteers, playing victims. Therefore, this could be a valuable resource for the railways when planning their own emergency exercises. A checklist has also been developed and is available in two formats: A4 & 3-fold.

UIC Senior Security Research Advisors Laura Petersen and Grigore Havarneanu co-authored a scientific paper entitled “Applicability of PROACTIVE recommendations on CBRNe risks and threats to passenger rail and metro sectors” along with other PROACTIVE project partners. With a particular focus on rail and the metro, this paper examines answers collected from railway and metro security experts during PROACTIVE research activities, to see how the PROACTIVE recommendations fit these sectors.

Another PROACTIVE publication focuses specifically on the privacy aspects of the PROACTIVE Crisis Communication System, entitled “Privacy by Design in CBRN Technologies Targeted to Vulnerable Groups: The Case of PROACTIVE.” These resources could help railways improve their emergency preparedness and enhance the security of both their passengers and staff.

Furthermore, over the Spring period PROACTIVE participated in two conferences relevant to the topic: the NCT Europe 2023 event in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the 20th Annual Global Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2023) in Omaha, NE, USA. At the first event, which focused specifically on CBRNe hazards, the UIC Security Division team was in charge of a dedicated PROACTIVE booth. At ISCRAM, Petersen gave a presentation on the PROACTIVE mobile app and participated in a panel on the resilience of critical infrastructure.

The work within the PROACTIVE project will continue until the end of August 2023 with several deliverables still to be released.

The PROACTIVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 832981.
PROACTIVE can be followed on Twitter (@PROACTIVE_EU) as well as on LinkedIn ( and the project website

For further information, please contact Grigore Havarneanu (PROACTIVE Project Coordinator) at or Laura Petersen (Senior Security Research Advisor) at

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Grigore Havarneanu, Senior Security Research Advisor & PROACTIVE Project Coordinator, explains the PROACTIVE project to booth visitors at NCT
Laura Petersen, UIC Senior Security Research Advisor & PROACTIVE Dissemination Manager, with her fellow panellists at ISCRAM
Security Intern, Laylo Azimboeva, and Senior Security Advisor, Daria Kardel, speak about the PROACTIVE project during NCT
Recent PROACTIVE publications