The possibility of long-term blackouts – the so-called blackouts – is viewed quite controversially by experts. Some consider such a scenario nearly impossible, at least as a large-scale event. However, the group of those who expect at least a “territorial and temporary interruption of energy supplies” is growing. This also includes the head of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), Ralph Tessler.
But how do rescue organizations and police actually prepare for power outages? And what happens when the worst comes to the worst? we asked around.
Police: able to act and communicate even in the event of a power outage
In order to guarantee functionality and the ability to act even in the event of a power supply failure, the Baden-Württemberg police can rely on the existing self-sustaining systems, explains Waldshut-Tiengen police spokesman Matthias Albecker upon request from our newspaper.
“The important properties are equipped with an emergency power supply to ensure power is available in an emergency,” Albecker continues. The police also have access to their own fuel reserves.
Furthermore, supplementary measures will be prepared conceptually, taking into account structural, personnel and property conditions. For example, service vehicles can also be used as mobile guards as needed, or presence and monitoring measures can be augmented based on the situation by means of flexible force management.
Also cross-border cooperation
Even in the event of a power outage, security in public spaces remains “a central area of police work,” Albecker asserts: “Residents can count on a crisis-resistant state police force.”
But the police’s close cooperation with provincial, municipal and disaster control authorities is generally rated as essential. According to Abecker, early coordination is particularly important here: “This also applies to cross-border cooperation.”
Fire Brigade: Duties depend on need
According to District Fire Chief Dominic, blackouts are at best part of exercise scenarios, like the tasks involved in setting up a backup power source.
“Newer firefighter equipment homes usually have an emergency power system,” says Rutzinger. Many of the old tool sheds have also been retrofitted by municipalities. There are also emergency generators in each vehicle, and it is preferable to power the equipment being transported.
“Depending on the severity of the event, the NPOs are managed under the consolidated management of the Civil Protection Authority,” says Rutzinger, describing the following course of events.
The various organizations primarily undertake their core tasks. However, it is also conceivable that the fire brigade could also perform logistical tasks depending on the event – or any other task for which the firefighting equipment is suitable.
DRK: Emergency care is available — but everyone should take precautions themselves
For the possibility of a power outage, the head of the German Red Cross district, Hans-Werner Schlett, warns above all to take a sober view of things: “You must be clear that then nothing will work anymore – not even the Internet, the telephone connection or even the heating” .
There are various challenges associated with this, but they are not within the power of relief organizations. The purchase of fuel for the emergency power equipment that powers the facilities is likely to be one of the largest.
Information in the event of a power outage via loudspeakers
In his opinion, one of the main tasks of relief organizations will be Create contact points for citizens That is, “lighthouses” where people can warm up and get essentials. It was possible to gain the corresponding experience on a small scale during a power outage in the area. If necessary, the information should be transmitted by loudspeaker.
Meanwhile, the emergency call system is foolproof – both the integrated control center and rescue stations are powered in an emergency: “Our diesel supply guarantees a supply for several days,” says Schlitt.
It will also be necessary, because in the absence of sufficient lighting in the event of a power failure, an increase in accidents is to be expected, both in the local environment and on the road. Schlitt says everyone can take preventative measures themselves.
This is what the DRK district supervisor advises
In general, he advises: “It certainly makes sense to have enough light bulbs and a few other supplies in the house.” Because apart from everything else, it is not possible to estimate how far the stores can open in the event of a power outage.
THW: Versatile with a powerful mobile power supply
For the Technical Relief Agency (THW) in the region, power outages are a very important topic, which is also the subject of drills again and again, explains the local representative of Waldshut-Tiengen Christian Hepp: “But it has not become more dangerous for us, because the possibility of power outages Not bigger than usual.”
In any case, THW is equipped with powerful emergency power devices, including a 50kVA mobile system, from which it can generate 40kW of electricity and which can be connected to any point in the public power grid, Heep says.
“Of course, you will have to make the deployment depend on the general situation.” The three local THW groups in the region (Waldshut-Tiengen, Laufenburg and Bad Säckingen) are available for a wide range of tasks, especially since each one specializes in one or two specialized areas as well as general technical assistance. And if needed, the THW network enables rapid support through emergency services from across the country.
Overall, however, Hipp rates Waldshut County’s regulatory requirements as useful for emergencies: “We maintain an extensive and very respectful exchange with each other.” This leads to constructive results in committees and is therefore the basis for a good job with a view to potential disaster.