FORMATEX23: Large European simulated disaster exercise playing out in Austria in September
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From September 14 to 16, 2023, the large-scale exercise FORMATEX23 will take place at various locations around the city of Linz in Austria.
This two-year project is led by the Upper Austrian Fire Brigade Association and financed by the General Directorate for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid within the framework of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).
Complete management of major accidents caused by natural hazards: EXercise 2023 - exercise of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism in Linz, Austria.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons License
Flooding in Altenahr Altenburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Date15: July 2021, 09:00
Author: Martin Seifert (CnndrBrbr at German Wikipedia)
FORMATEX23 aims to improve international cooperation in the management of natural hazards leading to technological accidents (NATECH), within the framework of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The focus is on managing complex disasters with a focus on floods, chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear (CBRN) hazards and environmental pollution.
In addition to the Austrian civil protection organizations, the exercise will involve international teams from Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the Netherlands with more than 300 exercise participants, over 20 organizations, a European Union civil protection team as well as high-level visitors, observers and evaluators .
Flood scenario with chemical, biological and radiological impacts and activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism
The FORMATEX23 scenario begins with intense and prolonged rainfall over a period of more than ten days in the Danube area in the border area between Austria and Germany. The Austrian emergency and disaster control authorities are intensively involved in flood management and disaster relief. The severe meteorological events lead to the flooding of industrial and port areas along the Danube in Linz. One of the training locations is the Ennshafen. The contamination of water with dangerous substances and the possible effects on health and the environment mean that the emergency services and authorities on site are almost fully utilized. The Austrian government is therefore asking for the support of the European Union by activating the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).
Disasters know no borders and relief efforts require coordinated efforts at European level to ensure effective assistance and avoid duplication in affected areas. To meet these requirements, the European Union established the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism in 2001. At the request of the country affected by a disaster, the European Commission may activate the UCPM to coordinate the deployment of civil protection teams to the affected country and to support national authorities.
Improving international cooperation in crisis situations
FORMATEX23 shows how crucial the application of disaster relief mechanisms at the international level is. The potential release of hazardous substances in the Danube - Europe's second longest river - could impact up to ten European countries in a worst-case scenario. By testing the activation and implementation of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, different countries have the opportunity to train on how to work together in times of crisis. Conducting such cross-border exercises makes a significant contribution to ensuring that European emergency forces are able to deal with disasters and support the affected populations.
FORMATEX23 exercise leader Mag. Gottfried Kerschbaummayr, head of the Upper Austrian State Fire Brigade School, describes the added value of the FORMATEX23 exercise as follows:
“As various national and international emergency organizations and authorities at all levels are involved in this project, one of the most important points is mutual understanding and cooperation. Through targeted collaboration, the various EU modules become familiar and mutual acceptance is sharpened.”
“The topic of our exercise is extremely topical and relevant: an extreme flood event that acutely endangers industry, people and nature around the Linz business location. This is a challenge that not only we, but many other regions around the world are increasingly having to face. At a time when natural disasters are becoming increasingly extreme, international cooperation is becoming increasingly indispensable. As an emergency organization, it is our duty to be well prepared for such events and to respond efficiently. Effective cooperation with international emergency services is of crucial importance - and that is exactly the focus of this exercise,” says Robert Mayer, President of the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association and State Fire Brigade Commander of Upper Austria.
FORMATEX23 is led by the Upper Austrian State Fire Brigade Association and is based on the participation of the following private and public consortium members: Resilience Solutions International (Austria), Industrial Risk and Safety Solutions (Austria), University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich (Germany), NCT Consultants (Netherlands), CBRN Modules of the Department of Emergency Situations (Romania), General Directorate for Civil Protection and Crisis Management (France), German Analytical Task Force, Dutch Environmental Assessment Unit (Netherlands), Balt Flood Combat (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia). With 10 consortium members, 26 organizations and 335 participants involved in the exercise, FORMATEX23 represents a significant multinational initiative within the framework of European civil protection.
The attached and other photos can be used free of charge by providing the correct photo credit (“FORMATEX23”) and for reporting on this event and can be downloaded here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ydfjocp4o9mcyxq/AADoyhwohCZFIq2-s4RPZQVpa?dl= 0 (Photos will be continuously uploaded to this folder until the end of the exercise.)
Information about group photo: from left to right. (except members in protective equipment): LBD-S Michael Hutterer, MR Siegfried Jachs (BMI), Hanna Jahns (EU Commission), LR Michaela Langer-Weninger, LH Thomas Stelzer, FPresident Robert Mayer
For further information I am gladly at your disposal.
Andreas Rieger - Information officer for the fire services of Austria