News and current events

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Rhine flood planning

The Rhine Valley in the Vorarlberg

With its 80,000 inhabitants, the Rhine Valley in Austria’s Vorarlberg region is a densely populated area. The current channel of the Rhine is up to 300 metres wide and is designed to cope with at most a 100-year flood event (flow rate of 3100 cubic metres per second). In addition, despite extensive reinforcement measures by the International Rhine Regulation Agency (Austria/Switzerland) on both sides of the river, the risk of dam breaks cannot be ruled out prior to such a 100-year event. The Alpine Rhine has another unpleasant feature: despite the Rhine Valley having the characteristics of a river, its waters can rise at lightning speed.

Little time would be available for decisions involving massive effects (evacuation).

As the planned construction measures to cope with up to a 300-year flood event will take years to complete, a uniform plan for such an event that would however be tailored to individual needs was commissioned to protect the 80,000 residents and the vital structures located in the threatened area.

Official disaster control plan

On behalf of the Federal State of Vorarlberg and the local municipalities, Securplan has drawn up a control plan on the basis of a standardised system designed to cover all eleven municipalities, the district authorities and the Vorarlberg state administration.

The plan includes a full range of measures, from advance warning through to a clearly regulated uniform evacuation decision; the evacuation of vital structures; members of the emergency services; and the evacuation of zones previously defined on the basis of the current threat situation.

The plan also covers the distribution and accommodation of a maximum of 80,000 evacuees from the Vorarlberg region as well as almost 6,000 people from Switzerland. There are also clear concepts for sensitive groups, such as care home residents and those requiring special attention.

Structured information concept for the population

It was clear from the outset that the classic disaster planning and preparation by the authorities would not be sufficient: rapid and consistent cooperation on the part of the population is essential for the successful implementation of appropriate measures in an emergency.

Therefore, in addition to the official disaster control planning, a structured information concept for the population involving specific procedures and far-reaching measures was fully implemented.

Mutual support during evacuation across national borders and large-scale traffic control in cooperation with the police authorities in three countries also forms part of the planning realised.

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Covid-19 handbook for the Vorarlberg state administration

Vorarlberg is a model region in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, reflected in the very low number of victims and its early reopening.

Securplan has drawn up a “Covid-19 handbook” for the Vorarlberg state administration, which defines the leadership organisation, creates staffs with coordination and advisory powers, establishes communication channels and plans processes. It also assigns competencies and distributes operational tasks.

The handbook and the structures and routines that it introduced have made a significant contribution to overcoming the pandemic situation.

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Signa fire safety planning

The Signa Group is developing the new “Waltherpark” in the heart of Bozen/Bolzano.

The Waltherpark will comprise a shopping centre, a hotel, offices, apartments, a cafeteria for local authority staff and a day-care centre. There will also be an underground car park and an access tunnel for improving traffic-calming measures.

Securplan is preparing the fire safety planning for this project. The complex situation (due to recently introduced Italian legislation and the aesthetic/economic requirements of the client) meant that not all structures could be realised in compliance with the applicable fire safety laws. All the tools of modern fire safety planning were therefore deployed: using fire safety engineering methods and the new “Fire Prevention Code”, a number of derogations were officially approved. The tunnel, garages and shopping centre were thus all fitted with the latest fire alarm, extinguisher and smoke extraction systems.

As part of the official requirements, the complete plans – based upon fire safety engineering methods – were checked by an independent public institute in Paris.

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Biathlon World Championships, Antholz 2020

Securplan drafted the emergency management manual for the 2020 Biathlon World Championships in Antholz. Taking a damage relevance analysis as its basis, an emergency management concept was produced with emergency organisation, leadership organisation, definition of competencies and integration of the event organiser’s emergency organisation into the official environment. Checklists with specific measures for countering risks were created for all relevant emergency scenarios, taking the respective responsibilities into account. The emergency scenarios not only included the entire spectrum of “classic emergency and hazard situations” but also all possible events that could lead to the disruption or halting of the event. This also included incidents that could lead to image loss in the press or social media.

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Operational manual for flood control

On behalf of the Department of Water Protection Structures of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, an operational manual was created for employees of Department 30 in the event of the occurrence of hydrogeological damage. The organisation and structure of a flood control centre was also planned and implemented. The flood control centre and the manual together provide the basis for the staff of the flood protection service for dealing with flooding in South Tyrol.

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Fire safety research

Securplan does not limit itself to the production of fire safety concepts and projects but is also active in fire safety research and experimental testing and experimentation. This includes large-scale extinguisher tests carried out by Securplan at MOL in Hungary, firefighting trials and tests on the precipitation of pollutants with chlorosilanes in the fire test systems at the Magdeburg Fire Department Institute, as well as fire tests on materials and building supplies in cooperation with various test laboratories.

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Emergency and crisis management for lift systems

Incidents and malfunctions on lift systems can quickly lead to dangerous situations. This will affect both personal safety and the operator’s public reputation. Rapid, targeted and decisive action must therefore be taken when such events occur: this is only possible with appropriate preparation and the timely creation of a comprehensive emergency plan for all conceivable hazard scenarios.

Securplan can prepare a comprehensive damage relevance analysis and develop appropriate emergency plans that are adapted to any risk situation. After a damage relevance analysis has been carried out, an appropriate management organisation is set up and competencies clearly assigned. In addition, alarm levels are defined and alarm plans drawn up to ensure the appropriate reaction to risk situations. Measures in the form of checklists are then prepared for all the emergency scenarios identified. With the help of the unit systems developed by Securplan, rapid and comprehensive emergency measures can then be retrieved.

Leadership aids have been specially developed for lift systems to offer decisive support for the overview and rapid deployment of rescue operations.