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In German - Technisches Hilfswerk
International - German Federal Agency For Technical Relief

The Federal Agency for Technical Relief, (THW) is a civil protection organisation controlled by the German federal government. 99% of its 83,807 members

The THW is stationed all over Germany in 668 local chapters, called Ortsverbände. Some 80,000 people are active in this organisation including about 15,000 young volunteers (members of the THW-Jugend). The majority of those are volunteers, while about 800 work full-time in its administration. Each local chapter (Ortsverband) maintains one or more Technische Züge (technical platoons), each consisting of one Zugtrupp (command squad), comprising four volunteers, two Bergungsgruppen (rescue units) comprising nine (first unit) to twelve (second unit) volunteers, and one to three Fachgruppen (Technical Units), comprising four to eighteen volunteers.

The main type of THW unit (about two out of three) is one of two Bergungsgruppe (1st and 2nd Rescue Groups), equipped with heavy tools like hydraulic cutting devices, chain saws, and pneumatic hammers. Their Vehicles are the Gerätekraftwagen 1 (GKW 1) for the 1st Rescue Group and the Mehrzweckkraftwagen (MzKW) or the older Gerätekraftwagen 2 (GKW 2) - which is scheduled to phased out - is for the 2nd Rescue Group.

The Fachgruppen (Technical Units) include:

Infrastruktur (Infrastructure),
Räumen (Debris Clearance),
Sprengen (Demolition/Blasting),
Elektroversorgung (Electricity Supply),
Beleuchtung (Illumination),
Wasserschaden / Pumpen (Water Damage / Pumps),
Wassergefahren (Water Hazards),
Logistik (Logistics),
Ölschaden (Oil Pollution),
Trinkwasserversorgung (Water Supply and Treatment),
Brückenbau (Bridge Building),
Führung und Kommunikation (Command, Control and Communication), and
Ortung (Search and Detection).

Technical Threat Prevention

Search and rescue, and salvage
Clearing and blasting
Water Rescue
Combat flooding and inundation
Area Lighting

Infrastructure Technical Support

Electric supply
Drinking water supply
Waste water disposal
Emergency Bridge work

Command and Communication, Logistics

Command center Establishment and operation
Command support
Creation of temporary telecommunication systems
Establishment and operation of logistic bases
Catering and care of operational staff
Maintenance of material, repair and maintenance work for mission equipment
Transportation of consumer goods for mission demands

Technical Support in the Protection of the Environment

Fight against oil damage
Water analysis

Provision of the Population

Electricity and drinking water provision
Waste water disposal
Establishment and equipment of emergency accommodation and collecting points with matching infrastructure

Technical Support

Technical help on traffic routes
Rescue from heights
Makeshift road works
Maintenance of civil protection facilities such as emergency wells and shelters

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