[ Communiqués de Presse ]

MASA opens new office in Brazil ahead of training for civil emergencies

The success of MASA’s relationship with Brazil’s Army providing wargame simulations over the last five years has led to MASA opening an in-country office. Now the company is reaching out to civil defence units to help them train for civil emergencies and natural disasters.

Paris, 15 May 2017: After more than five years of successful operations in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, MASA Group has opened a subsidiary company in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, consolidating its position in South America and increasing its customer outreach.

The new company, MASA do Brasil, which is fully operational, will employ local resources to closely support customers in the region, most of all the Brazilian Army, and to further develop business in the defense and public safety markets.

In April, the Secretaria do Estado da Defesa CivilSanta Catarina (Santa Catarina state’s Civil Defence Office) and Defesa Civil – Blumenau, Brazil, trialled MASA’s public safety simulations. The Defesa Civil used MASA SYNERGY to conduct crisis scenario training in Blumenau, Santa Catarina. The cutting-edge constructive simulation, dedicated to public safety and security training, was used to successfully perform a six-day crisis scenario in just nine hours involving over 15 city agencies.

In the weeks leading up to the exercise, MASA worked diligently to ensure the simulation would be as realistic as possible. This required collecting all the data on maps and topographical information, disaster data, and the contingency plan and all information related to the actors and agencies participating in the disaster response – organizations, personnel, vehicles and equipment. Most of this information could be easily imported into MASA Synergy, with maps and disaster data appearing in exactly the same format as Blumenau’s Defesa Civil’s original format, making it much easier for operators to familiarize themselves with Synergy.

The scenario was based on the flooding of the Itajaí-Açú river and its tributaries, as per the city contingency plan: with the water level rising, the crisis-cell had to organize the evacuation of people affected by the disaster, opening, securing and resupplying the shelters for those in need.  Once the water level started lowering, special sanitation and cleaning teams needed to be deployed to restore street conditions and allow the people to go back to their homes.   Sub crisis, such as earth movements, rescue missions, road accidents with spread of dangerous products, public order issues, were added to the main scenario to further stress the crisis cell and the resources of all agencies.

To keep the training as realistic as possible, none of those training had access to SYNERGY. The city’s crisis cell used what they would have in a real emergency: cell phones, instant messaging and radios to communicate with the team inputting into the simulation. The simulation operators would then report back the effects of the orders, the effects of weather conditions, such as the river level rising or falling or earth movements. In case of difficulties, the exercise director could help the crisis cell to assess the situation by projecting the simulation screen in the crisis room and providing a clear picture of the flood extension, the location and availability of all resources.

To play the six-day scenario in 9 hours without compromising realism, the simulation ran in real time only during the decision-making phases; after orders and instructions were issued to the simulated units, time was accelerated to speed-up execution.

MASA continued its diligence by running the simulation again the following day with the Defesa Civil to check for improvements that could be made to the training, so that moving forward SYNERGY works as effectively as possible for the Defesa Civil.

Both the academics and military personnel present during the exercise as observers stated that MASA Synergy has proved to be an efficient pedagogic and analysis tool to better prepare public safety decision makers.

The exercise showed that SYNERGY provides a cost-effective and time-friendly training method for personnel. The simulations can be complex and realistic in the information they provide, and with the AI driven aspects of the simulation keeping the simulation objective. SYNERGY can be used as an accessible and affordable tool for the Defesa Civil which works in conjunction with other training and can be easily integrated with virtual and live simulations.

Marco Blasich, Responsible for North and South American Markets at MASA and the new manager of MASA do Brasil, was closely involved with the opening of the new office and the exercise. He commented that, “MASA has built a positive relationship with Brazilian forces over the last few years. As this relationship continues to grow, opening an office here was a logical decision. While we have worked successfully with the Army, we also realized that we could help on the civil side as well. We already have clients in other countries using SYNERGY to help prepare for civil emergencies effectively. Brazil is such an expansive country, with so many different environments and regions, that we wanted to give them access to training tools which can help in all these diverse environments. The exercise here in Blumenau has been really positive, and over the coming months we will work for further integration with the Defesa Civil.