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Euregional rescue personnel exercises cross-border collaboration

On the 7th and the 8th of November 2017, a crisis staff exercise has taken place at the educational institute of the Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (BBK) in Ahrweiler (Germany). Here, cross-border assistance during a disaster was exercised within the Euregion Meuse-Rhine. The EMRIC collaboration can be found in the geographical area of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine. This includes Veiligheidsregio Zuid-Limburg (NL), the city of Aachen (DE), the Städteregion Aachen (DE), Kreis Heinsberg (DE), Kreis Düren (DE), Kreis Euskirchen (DE), the province of Limburg (BE) and the province of Liège (BE). EMRIC is an abbreviation for “Euregion Meuse-Rhine Incident control and Crisis management”. EMRIC is a unique collaboration of public entities who each are responsible for public safety in the field of firefighting, technical assistance and emergency medical care in their respective regions.

At the Akademie für Krisenmanagement, Notfallplanung und Zivilschutz (AKNZ) cross-border exercises are organized regularly by the organizations that have been working together for many years now. This year, a large exercise took place with more than 50 participants, including employees of Berufsfeuerwehr Aachen, Brandweer Zuid-Limburg, GGD Zuid Limburg, the Dutch police and the Belgian fire brigades and ambulance services.

A large scale incident in Aachen was used as the scenario for this exercise, which could only be solved making use of Euregional rescue services (Dutch and Belgian). Here, attention was paid to the communication and information agreements that have been established in the context of EMRIC in the field of firefighting, technical assistance and ambulance care. With dedication, the fictional incident was exercised by the participants. A large number of tactical decisions had to be taken. The resulting request for assistance had to be organised taking multiple pre-set conditions into account.

The scenario was realistically simulated by AKNZ, which enabled the participants to exercise well. It should be noted that, even though one hopes never to be faced with such a scenario in real-life, it is beneficial to be prepared for possible scenario’s. Nevertheless it is good to know that during a disaster, both national and Euregional collaboration is functioning well.

Text: Feuerwehr Aachen

Pictures: EMRIC & Mr. Claessen