Crisis management use case news: Successful Field Test at Achilles_2024 International Search and Rescue Exercise

Geneva, Switzerland – May 21-23, 2024, NebulOuS’ crisis management use case took the road to Geneva to participate in the Achilles_2024 International Search and Rescue Exercise. This prestigious event brought together 250 volunteers and 19 rescue dogs from Germany (#ISAR, #at_fire), Switzerland (Swiss rescue), Austria (Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Österreichs), and Jordan (Skelton USAR team).

NebulOuS’ partners @fire and BIBA – took front stage on this event. @fire USAR Light Team (GER-03) participated with 20 members, 3 rescue dogs, and 2.5 tons of equipment.

Accompanying @fire, a technical contingent from the BIBA was present. Together, they successfully ran and tested several key technologies during the continuous exercise simulation training, working alongside other international teams.

The primary focus was on the fireCOAT – Common Operational Awareness Tool and the BIBA MTEiA – Modular Testbed for Energy-intense Applications. fireCOAT is an infrastructure independent map-application designed to track personnel and vehicles while integrating various heterogeneous data sets to enhance operational efficiency in the early phases of disaster response. fireCOAT is under development in NebulOuS.

Additionally, the MTEiA unit was deployed to provide essential services such as electricity and communication with the Base of Operations (BoO) and online services. This was achieved through a combination of point-to-point wireless links, a LoRaWAN sensor network, and real-time camera feeds.

The successful deployment and testing of these technologies underscore NebulOuS commitment to advancing innovative solutions in several fields, including search and rescue operations.

@fire extend their gratitude to all participating teams and volunteers for their collaboration and dedication.

Exercise

In this exercise, participants learn everything they need to know for an immediate international deployment after an earthquake. The training covers the deployment of teams, locating and rescuing trapped victims, and providing medical emergency aid. In a race against time, participants are trained in a realistic emergency situation conducted by four USAR partner organizations: International Search and Rescue I.S.A.R. Germany, @fire Germany, Samaritan Austria - Rapid Response Team (SA-RRT), and the Swiss Rescue Chain. Swiss Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Army are hosting this 48-hour exercise.

Scenario

A fictitious earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale strikes the Republic of JURENEVA on May 20, 2024. The epicenter of the quake, which results in over 1,000 deaths and countless injuries, is located about 20 kilometers southwest of Geneva. Approximately 24 hours after the government of JURENEVA requests international aid, the first search and rescue teams from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland arrive at the "Reception Center." From there, they are transported to the Swiss Army training site in Epeisses, where the rescue activities begin.

Goal

One of the main goals of this exercise is to strengthen the coordination of all USAR activities within the international disaster management mechanism of the UN (INSARAG). Participants practice conducting assessments, developing necessary plans, and performing relevant tasks. They learn about the INSARAG methodology, such as reporting to local emergency authorities, using INSARAG marking and signaling tools, and utilizing INSARAG documentation and platforms. The rescue teams are also expected to communicate with the affected population, respecting their customs and culture. The mentioned USAR teams from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland are supplemented by AFAD-1 Istanbul and Jordan International Search and Rescue JSRT, each participating with a management unit to test their leadership capabilities and coordination tasks.

About the USAR Teams:

Swiss Rescue- Rettungskette Schweiz

- Founded in 1981 after the earthquakes in Algeria and Italy
- Consists of 78 members, 8 rescue dogs, and 18 tons of rescue and logistical equipment
- International Heavy-USAR team since 2008 (IEC)
- Specialized in locating, rescuing, and providing initial medical care to trapped victims
- Ready to deploy within 8 to 12 hours after a mission decision
- Composed of private and public, civilian and military organizations, operating under the Federal Humanitarian Aid during missions

International Search and Rescue Germany (ISAR)

- Founded in 2003 in Duisburg - 170 volunteers from the fire department and other organizations - Provides international assistance after natural disasters, accidents, and humanitarian emergencies - Specialized in searching, rescuing, and providing medical care to trapped victims - Certified as a Medium-USAR team by the UN-INSARAG since 2007, medical team certified as Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Type 1 by WHO since 2018 - Non-governmental organization (NGO)

@fire – International Disaster Response Germany e.V.

- Founded in 2002
- Consists of 20 members, 3 dogs, and 2.5 tons of equipment
- Classified as the first international Light-USAR team (IEC 2021)
- Specialized in locating and rescuing after earthquakes, combating wildfires, and establishing local emergency structures
- Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Samaritan Austria - Rapid Response Team (SA-RRT)

- Founded in 2006
- The international disaster response unit of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Österreichs Bundesverband
- International Medium-USAR team (AUT-10), participating as a Light-USAR team in this exercise
- Consists of 31 members, 4 dogs, and 9 tons of equipment
- Specialized in locating and rescuing after earthquakes, water purification, medical assistance, reconnaissance, and humanitarian aid
- Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Other Exercise Participants:

To enhance international coordination and operational collaboration during missions, the certified Jordanian USAR Team (JSRT, certified since 2013) and the certified Turkish USAR Team (AFAD-1 Istanbul, certified since 2012) will support the exercise with their respective management teams.

International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)

- A global network of over 90 countries and organizations under the United Nations
- Main task is to develop international quality standards for "urban search and rescue units" (USAR), which are deployed mainly in densely populated areas following earthquakes
- Develops and optimizes procedures for coordinating international aid after earthquakes and other disasters
- Initially developed solely for earthquake rescue operations, INSARAG mechanisms and organizations have proven so effective that they now form the basis for nearly all UN emergency response measures

Swiss Army as an Important Partner

- The Training Association Engineering/Rescue/ABC forms an essential part of the Swiss Rescue Chain with its experts
- Provides infrastructure, equipment, and transport for supporting this international exercise
- The rescue troops' training area offers teams realistic and unique conditions for their exercises

@fire – International Disaster Response Germany

Partner in NebulOuS

BIBA – Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbH

Partner in NebulOuS

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