In the face of disaster

In the face of disaster

In the so-called roll-off container on the land of the hallstadt building yard, there is a lively exchange between the local head of operations, district fire officer bernhard ziegmann, and numerous other uniformed personnel from the district. Police officers order a surveillance helicopter, firefighters inquire about fire water holders and the rescue service corrects the number of injured upwards. Almost simultaneously, a situation meeting of the disaster control leadership group takes place in the basement of the district administration office. Henning juntunen, who heads the security and order division at the district office, gets an update on the situation. Lieutenant colonel volker rippl promises 565 field beds for the evacuees on the part of the federal armed forces, markus dotterweich reports for the police bamberg-land that a scout home has been evacuated and the bundesstrabe 279 has been closed. Meanwhile, the fire department is still measuring the gas concentration in the air, and the technical relief organization is sending a construction advisor. "We want to check which buildings are in danger of collapse", explains THW local representative michael friedrich.

All of this is part of a rough disaster response, based on the following scenario: in baunach, a tank car carrying liquefied gas exploded after being hit by a falling aircraft part. Another car and a nearby spice factory catch fire, leaving one dead and numerous injured, the gas cloud continues to move westward. The industrial area north of baunach is evacuated, and schools in the area are evacuated so that schoolchildren are not driven home at first. But the task force is even more concerned about another school class that visited the spice factory and is considered missing.

Whether it is a disaster case is decided by the district administrator on the basis of the available information, the district administration office is the responsible disaster control authority. "We’re lucky we’ve never had that before, but we have to practice so that the operations work when the time comes," says johann kalb, says johann kalb. During a site visit with host mayor thomas soder and government vice president thomas engel (all CSU), both kalb and soder praised the voluntary efforts of the nearly 140 emergency workers involved.

Good cooperation

At 14.30 o’clock the exercise ends abruptly and all involved have to switch from the stressful problem solving mode to the analysis of the past hours. "The work of the local crews went very well, they coordinated excellently with each other", says the head of administration of the district office, steffen nickel. There is still room for improvement and training in the area of documentation. In future, the district office will also include representatives from all areas in the management group in such cases. "It would have been good, for example, if an expert for immission control had been present."

The doors of the disaster control room in the district office are now closed again. The space is reserved for the worst-case scenario, even if this is mostly still below the catastrophe threshold. On this day, no one in baunach was aware of the complex crisis scenario. That such exercises are nevertheless "enormously important" on this day, it is not only mayor soder in hallstadt, five kilometers away as the crow flies, who realizes that this is not the case.

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