Selection of rural villages for volunteer training in emergency response


  • Niki Matinrad Institutionen för Naturvetenskap, LiU
  • Tobias Andersson Granberg Institutionen för Teknik och Naturvetenskap, LiU



Many rural areas in Sweden are sparsely populated and coverage from emergency services is weak. However, with the help of the professional emergency services (e.g., fire and rescue services) some civilians (called volunteers hereon) in these areas receive training in CPR, first aid, and required actions when a person first arrives at a fire, traffic accident, or drowning incident. In case of an emergency, simultaneously with the dispatch of emergency services, these volunteers are alerted through an SMS, or via an app, on their mobile phones. The trained volunteers are primarily assumed to provide help in the vicinity of their living areas (i.e., their own villages). However, depending on the location of the villages compared to their neighboring villages, it might be possible for these volunteers to provide help to their neighboring villages as well. As the professional emergency resources have limited budget, equipment, and manpower, it is impossible to include all villages and small population centers in the volunteer initiative. Thus, it is important to select the areas that gives most benefit for the response system. Nevertheless, the problem of selecting how many and which villages or population areas to train and equip is not always trivial.

In this study, we use optimization and propose an integer linear programming model to determine the number and location of population areas/villages that should be included in the volunteer initiative for emergency response, given a certain budget, so that the best possible emergency response coverage is achieved.