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Emergency planning

In view of the high level of assistance which is available in terms of personnel and technology provided by the fire services, private relief organisations, the THW (technical assistance) and others, the awareness of the need for prevention and precautionary measures has remained at least partially under developed in Germany.

We know today that incidents may occur which cannot be coped with by merely deploying personnel and material, but which require intensive, careful advance-planning. It is only if one knows the hazards which a society may face, and tackles them pre-emptively by drawing up scenarios and plans, that it is possible to effectively prepare for the occurrence of such events. This also includes a population that is well-informed and able to help itself.

No one can predict all conceivable incidents; we do not know where they may occur, nor how they may spill over into other areas. Such incidents certainly do not recognise geographical borders. This makes cross-border cooperation all the more important. Europe is growing together, and civil protection is part-and-parcel of this integration process, forming one of the most important pillars in the field of state services for the public.

Protection against disasters, which the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) places within the remit of the Länder, is the component of civil protection which ranks highest in the public awareness. Civil protection in Germany means to volunteer one’s time, more than 99% of the roughly 1.7 million assigned personnel in this area are volunteers, they are unsalaried. In particular social changes such as demographic trends and specific workplace requirements, as well as the possible abolition of obligatory military service, pose a serious challenge to the continuation of this voluntary work.

The Federal Minister of the Interior, and the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance working on his behalf, have adopted the goal of stepping up volunteer work as a powerful, indispensable tool for continuing to enable people to help themselves.

The range of tasks includes the following areas:

Emergency prevention and planning

Informing the population

International relations

Securing and promoting voluntary work


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