Be it great fires, floods due to heavy rain or IT outages due to hacker attacks: When it comes to crisis management, federal and state governments, as well as cities and municipalities with blue-light organisations, are all in the same boat, metaphorically speaking.
Industrial companies also have to plan and prepare for emergencies in order to secure production and business processes and minimise economic losses. Effective structures, well-trained people and powerful technology have to be closely enmeshed to ensure that the right decisions are made in the event of an emergency. From 5 to 8 November, A+A 2019 presents new approaches and current trends on this topic in Düsseldorf.
During the great fire of Notre Dame, the whole of Europe held its breath. In Paris, the fire brigade was able to limit the fire in the cathedral to the wooden truss after about four hours and thus saved valuable works of art and the rich interior, despite damage due to heat, soot and extinguishing water.
“An achievement that was only possible thanks to the Paris fire brigade’s organised crisis management,” says Raimund Bücher, Director of Fire Brigade at Henkel in Düsseldorf. “The size of the object was certainly a particular challenge. In addition, knowing that irreplaceable cultural goods were at risk required special protective measures. Thank goodness the entrances had already been closed when the fire broke out, as this meant that no-one was hurt in this disaster.”
Effective crisis management, as seen during this event, requires a perfectly coordinated team with a transparent leadership structure, modern safety equipment and powerful technical aids.
“We aim to prepare people for emergencies, even if no-one can be prepared for every possible situation,” says Norbert Jetten, Head of Technology at BYK-Chemie in Wesel. “The requirements are quite complex: At the end of the day, we need to be just as able to deal with a fire or substance release as with hacker attacks or the effects of a natural catastrophe.
For this, it is vital to have a team in which each member knows exactly what to do. “Depending on the size of the company, clearly defined functional areas or specialist departments are involved,” says Stephan Hummel, Head of Fire Protection at Currenta. The company manages and operates CHEMPARK with three locations in Germany: Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld. They have defined who passes on information, both internally and externally, and have also determined the analysis of the event. What dangers does the situation present for people and the environment, which area is affected, what is the prognosis — these are all questions that need to be answered as fast as possible in these situations? And measures such as warning and informing the public, planning the emergency response and providing the necessary personnel and technical resources all depend on the answers.
At A+A 2019 in Düsseldorf, five short presentations will focus on crisis management. They address, among other issues, the meaning of emergency response for small, mid-sized and large companies, the topic of digitalisation and the role of social media as part of crisis communications. At the GFPA German Fire Protection Association stand, experts will be on hand to engage in dialogues with professional visitors. Among others, Currenta, Henkel and the Industrial Fire Protection Association of Germany will be present.
Multi-user locations are increasingly recognising the advantages of being closely interconnected. Large companies like Currenta connect different locations to several security centres. Identical IT programmes facilitate communication, whilst procedures and processes that have been aligned with one another help maintain an overview of the situation. Services are further optimised with the aid of state-of-the-art control centre software, allowing users to fulfil their statutory reporting obligations even more quickly in future and to streamline organisational processes as well as the entire information and emergency management.
When danger sends adrenaline shooting into our blood, our actions are impaired. Our brains seem to become sluggish — rational thoughts are no longer possible, our memory performance flags and deliberate actions are difficult. The more times a person has been through this, the quicker they can bridge this chaotic phase. “Continuous drills train routines, which we can then access quickly in the event of danger,” says Jetten. Which is why he and his colleagues rely on what he calls circuit training. This means realistic drills with various requirements that have been set up on the works premises. “The changing roles within the individual positions sharpen our awareness of the different perspectives people have in the exact same situation. It allows us to stage everything as realistically as possible—with the police, fire brigade and emergency responders.”
However, crises don’t stop at the works gate. “Standards, legislation and internal drills alone don’t cut it. It is extremely important to raise public awareness, so that they react adequately in an emergency,” emphasises Raimund Bücher. Which is why North Rhine-Westphalia introduced a state-wide alert day in 2018. On alert day, the sirens are tested and trial alert notifications are sent out, for example using the Nina alert app, the federal emergency information and notification app (Nina stands for Notfall-Informations- und Nachrichten App, emergency information and notification app).
Drills are carried out across regions, as well. “LÜKEX stands for ‘Länderübergreifende Krisenmanagementübung’ (cross-state crisis management drill),” the expert explains. “The realistic drills aim to improve the management of national crises.” This involves organisations at the governmental and state level. In addition, the fire brigade and organisations such as the German Red Cross (Deutsche Rote Kreuz, DRK), the Maltese Help Organisation (Malteser Hilfsdienst) and the ASB Workers’ Samaritan Federation are important helpers in informing the broader public.
Crisis management — a topic with seemingly endless facets. At A+A 2019, experts are on hand to answer questions and engage in discussion. Because one thing is certain: we can only manage crises if we are willing to find solutions together.
For more information visit: www.aplusa-online.com