This project has received funding from the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement (GA) N° #607798

DRIVER+ Trial Austria was organised by the Austrian Red Cross (ARC) together with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT).

It was conducted as a multi-day field exercise under the framework (and in parallel) of a Large Scale European Civil Protection exercise in Eisenerz, Austria.

The central area of Austria has been struck by a heavy earthquake and subsequent heavy rains.

The local region of Eisenerz (in Styria, Austria) is one of the most affected with missing persons, casualties, collapsed buildings, blocked roads, and endangered industries working with hazardous substances.

Inhabitants have left their houses being afraid of aftershocks and collapsing of buildings. They have to spend the next days outdoors due to the lack of temporary shelter and blocked roads.

Similarly, there is a disruption of lifelines such as water, food, shelter, transportation and medical care. Electricity and mobile networks are severely damaged.

All local and national emergency response organizations have been deployed on site (Austrian Red Cross, fire brigades, police and the army); however, due to the extension of the affected area and overwhelmed national response capacities, the union civil protection mechanism was activated. A request of international assistants was activated with regards to medical treatment, water purification as well as search and rescue.

Due to the difficulty to access the affected area and considering the impact of the disaster, there is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance and assessment.

A large amount of volunteers and rescue equipment is needed to deal with the increasing number of affected people i.e. search and rescue, shelter, medical care, water food and transportation.

Additionally, there is also an urgent need for the management of spontaneous volunteers.

The scenario requires a commitment of stakeholders from different crisis management levels and from all the agencies participating in the response:

  • Austrian Red Cross
  • Austrian Fire Brigades
  • Police
  • Army
  • Decision makers and authorities

Other emergency response organizations from neighbouring countries were expected to participate following the procedures from the union civil protection mechanism (UCPM). The exercise was also serve as testing environment for introduction and establishment of standard operating procedures (SOPs), standards and concepts, of the UCPM within central European region.

Actions were taken by the stakeholders in a realistic information environment, based on currently available means, crisis management plans, rescue procedures and good practices of participants

Trial Austria was designed in close synergy with the European Civil Protection Exercise IRONORE2019 which ran from 12 September 2019 to 15 September 2019 in Eisenerz, Austria.

IRONORE2019 had practitioners from several European countries that came to Austria to train and improved their earthquake-related response capacities and procedures while establishing a common understanding of the cooperation in civil protection assistance. More than 1000 participants joined IRONORE2019 in  realistic scenarios in an alpine region and involving all stakeholders of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism; starting from the local response until the request of assistance via the Austrian Ministry of Interior.

And this was specifically in those realistic scenarios that DRIVER+ project was able to test a number of solutions that were selected considering their added value in regards to the management of volunteers. Since IRONORE2019 was presented this January 2019 at the European Commission, DRIVER+ had started a number of joint activities between the two projects in order to prepare, coordinate and execute better Trial Austria.

More information about Ironore2019 can be obtained here.