Testing days in the Hedwige-Prosperpolder
- 18 September 2020
- Francien Horrevorts
- Emergency Response
The 16th and 17th of September were two busy days at the Hedwige-Prosperpolder site. The main theme of these two days was testing. What has been tested and what are the results? Marian Booltink, STOWA, gives us an update.
Marian was the organiser and moderator of the two testing days. On both days she used the morning for an introduction and action on the levee. The afternoons were used to connect online with the partners and other interested people via Zoom. Both days were organised to test:
- Covid-19 measures
- Combining an offline and online event
- Levee guarding training
- New app for levee guarding
Marian discusses the impact of Covid-19 on the field trips: “Our health and safety is of utmost importance. So we have taken much effort to plan and organise these days with the right measures in place. The levee is big enough for lots of people. But if they need a briefing, want to warm up or drink coffee, the indoor space is small. So we only allow small groups of people on the project site. Also, we work on the border and have to deal with the rules in two countries. And with the participating people from countries with different rules, we had to find a way that everyone felt safe and comfortable. As part of the project we have set up our Covid-19 rules and regulations. The testing days were a great opportunity to see whether they would suffice. We were happy to conclude that our measures were appropriate and everyone was very cooperative. At the same time, the rules need continuous attention. And someone is appointed to check whether the rules are followed through, in case someone forgets in all their enthusiasm.”
"Covid will not stop the high water, so we need to keep training and do practical exercises."Marian Booltink
Combining an offline and online event
The testing days also provided a chance to test a combined offline and online event. Marian: “Because of Covid we try to bring the levee to the people, instead of the other way around. So in the afternoon we had an explanation and discussion about the new app. We had people in the information point at Hedwige-Prosperpolder and participants of the Zoommeeting projected on screen. That worked very well.”
Levee guarding training
When talking about the levee guarding training, Marian is satisfied and she also sees some room for more challenging circumstances: “The training went well, but it was good weather. What we actually need to do is train during extreme conditions, such as high water, cold temperatures, in the dark, slippery conditions and heavy rain and storms. We need to know how to act when we are not sure where the water is and we cannot hear or see each other. Only then will we realise the need to stay together and will we be really prepared for the worst-case scenarios.” explains Marian. “This is a realisation that hit me again during these days. This is not for the faint-hearted, we want extreme conditions”.
The new app
The new app, developed by ESRI/ KYLBV, has been tested on the levee at the project site and remotely by the online participants. Marian: “We were able to test the new app at the project site during our levee guarding training and on other locations during our online session. It is an app that can be used to report damages, wherever you are, in English, French or Dutch/ Flemish. This was a great way to try the app in different places and for various purposes and users.
Also, the feedback that was given was very useful. The participants indicated that they will definitely make use of the app and that it will make their work easier. What more do you want?”
"What I like best about the app is that it is very intuitive and user friendly. You do not have to be an expert to use it."Marian Booltink
Further development of the app
The development of the app is an ongoing process. Some bugs that occurred during the field days have already been resolved. Some other actions that are being taken during the coming months:
- We will develop an interface for citizens, such as people walking their dogs;
- Development and training using the dashboard (were all damages are listed) so people will be able to prioritise and organise the appropriate action for the most urgent damages. In this dashboard damages reported by both experts and citizens are shown.
- In time every organisation is free to use and promote the app.
Photos: Marc Pannier
All in all, Marian looks back on two days that have brought the project participants closer and resulted in meaningful and necessary input to proceed with the project. Marian is most pleased with the positive spirit of the project team and all the participants: “Everyone participating is so passionate and really involved. They all see the bigger picture and the significance of what we are doing. I think the will to cooperate is due to the good relations that Ludolph Wentholt, Patrik Peeters and other project leaders have built and maintained with people involved. This really stands out for me and makes working for the Polder2C’s project a joy.”