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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:
Räumen (Debris Clearance),
Elektroversorgung (Electricity Supply),
Wasserschaden / Pumpen (Water Damage / Pumps),
Wassergefahren (Water Hazards),
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
Combat flooding and inundation
Infrastructure Technical Support
Drinking water supply
Waste water disposal
Emergency Bridge work
Command and Communication, Logistics
Command center Establishment and operation
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
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 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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